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Staying up by default.


BOF
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My most recent article, written in the immediate aftermath of the horrible defeat to Bolton, seemed to capture the mood of a lot of people. At the time, we were staring down the barrel and it looked as though we were incapable of getting out of that trouble without the help of results elsewhere.

We still look as incapable on our own, but thankfully results elsewhere have helped us out.

Nothing has changed at Villa Park since the Bolton result and yet now, thanks to those other results, I along with many others no longer think we'll go down. I think we'll just about be safe.

What a difference a week makes.

When Wigan hockeyed Newcastle 4-0, I initially thought it was a bad thing. It brought them level with us. As it turns out though, it was a good thing. Newcastle's dropped points re-focussed Chelsea & Spurs in their race for 4th and they promptly went out and hammered 2 of our more dangerous relegation rivals. QPR & Bolton's defeats in the last few days have meant that it is now far more likely that there will be at least 3 worse teams than us come the 13th of May. It is scant consolation that we've stayed up off the back of other teams' failings and it is something that must be dealt with swiftly at the end of the season, but I'll take it. If it means staying in this league then I will take it gladly.

Our point against West Bromwich Albion will probably turn out to be the most important and most timely point we gain this season. By putting us one win ahead of 2 other teams it means they BOTH need 4pts (thanks to goal difference) to overtake us and send us down; with 2 games to go.

The re-introduction of Richard Dunne could hardly have come at a more important time. His defensive performance against the Baggies was fantastic and that's ignoring the lack of recent game time. The whole defence played well and Given pulled off a stunning save at the end but I just got the impression that Dunne's comeback had given the lads a bit of belief which they had been lacking. Without the spine of our senior players, the rest were spiralling out of control. The Dunny Monster halted that slide; even a little; and we're sitting a lot prettier on 37pts than we would have been on 36pts.

QPR are the key for me now. Even if they manage to beat Stoke; and there's no guarantee that they will; but even if they do, then they need to go to the Etihad and get something from a Manchester City side who have been given a 2nd bite at the title cherry. QPR are the absolute worst away side in the league and Man City are the best home side. Nothing is a guarantee of course, but for me this is as close as you'll get to one in the Premier League. Bolton can do what they want. With Wolves and Blackburn already guaranteed to finish below us, Bolton can win out and it doesn't matter. We can finish below Wigan & Bolton and stay up as long as QPR don't get 4pts from their last 2 games.

As of now, it would take a very unlikely set of results to see us going down. So while it is still possible and many will argue quite rightly that we're not safe until it's mathematical, I think we are at least now into the realms of only the incurable pessimists thinking that we'll be gone in the summer.

So have I changed my mind? Yes.

But as John Maynard Keynes once famously said "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

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Can't see past (yet another) home defeat on Sunday but like you say we should be OK anyway. Might even sneak a point at Delia City ;-)

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Not that it matters but, maybe Lambert will have the Villa factor and wants to assess Grant Holt's prospects as a goalkeeper :D

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Overall it is a piss poor state of affairs when us fans are working out all these permutations. I agree we are in a better position than we were but shit happens and I won't feel safe until we are.

It just shows how much McLeish has dragged us down.

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I think Wigan will win on the last day at home to Wolves and may get a point or three at Blackburn as well so that leaves Bolton and QPR as the two most likely clubs to fail to get above our 37 points and as you have said BOF QPR are the most likely of those two to keep us up.

I struggle to see where our next point is coming from. I would see the last game as the more likely of the two but would worry if we could grind out a result under pressure on the final day. So if we fail to get above 37 points Bolton and QPR would need 4 points from 6 to get above us. Bolton seem the most likely to get them as a win at home to WBA and a draw at Stoke on the last day would seem possible. QPR would need an expected win at home to Stoke but then a point at Manchester City and for me that would take Citeh to drop points at Newcastle and then gift a point to QPR on the last day after Sunderland go a couple of goals down to their neighbours and they stop playing as a result knowing the title has become a lost cause.

I do not want to be relying on results on the last day because teams have gone down in the past when it was most unexpected. But it seems we may need to rely on other teams dropping points in their final 2 games to keep us up. This is very far from being acceptable and the players, management and owner have all had their parts to play in this sad situation.

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Why do people struggle to see where our next point is coming from, with seven games to go people were saying we'd lose every single game, that didn't happen, I can still see us getting 2 or 4 points. Spurs have had an extra game this week and Redknapp will get dogs abuse as usual at VP, there'll be an atmosphere for once. Norwich might as well be on the beach already from what I've seen. Yes we aren't great but nor are we quite as bad as most seem to imagine. We'll limp over the line and be safe

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BOF your last article expressed the frustration that Villa fans have at the mo... But it also perfectly captured the kind of ridiculous hysteria and pessimism that has surrounded Villa this year. I'm not ciriticising, I think it was a very good representation of the feeling among supporters. While that game was particularly disappointing, the two points we've got since has seen us safe, and it still may be that one would have ultimatley been enough. Should we have all been giving the club a break as we were still slowly putting away points despite a chronic amount of injurues?

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It's not impossible but it would take the kind of turn-around that I doubt has ever happened before. So yeah, we're safe. But the fact that we're going into the final day of the season technically mathematically not safe is the saddest indictment of McLeish out of a long list of sad indictments.

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