I couldn't very well write a non-Vernal Villan post on the first full day of Spring could I? I got welcomed to the new season here in DC when I was woken up by some really loud thunderstorms. It seems an ominous way to start. But certainly no more ominous than the start that Villa gave to their Spring push to avoid the drop. Saturday's match was atrocious and it was equal parts boring and infuriating. How can a team that is so good on paper be so bad on the pitch?
If you're a Villan and you're not a bit upset, you must not have watched the game, which, in the end, probably makes you happier than those of us who did. There's no excuse for not even getting a single point from a Wolverhampton side who have spent the majority of the season under the drop mark. But I still think that Villa are in no danger of dropping.
Over the past six years, the average number of points at the drop line was 34. Currently, Villa are sitting at 33, so that should provide some measure of comfort. But, anyone who is paying attention should be quick to point out that the drop zone is currently at 32 points with eight or nine games left to be played. So let's adjust our expectations a bit. The highest the drop zone has ever been was 42 points in the 2002-03 season. I'd say that might be a reasonable expectation for this year.
Working with that number in mind, Villa have 8 matches to grab 10 points. 3 wins and a draw would suffice, or 1 win and 7 draws. To feel really truly comfortable, I'd think Villa have to grab at least two wins, and then can likely count on a few draws. In our remaining matches we face West Ham, West Brom, and Wigan. While only one of those matches (Wigan) is at Villa Park, I think two wins from the set are pretty sure things. Three wouldn't be out of the question. Apart from those three games, would it shock anyone to see Villa have one of their patented "Let's believe in this team again" games and win something that is (at this point) unexpected? So skill should give us at least two wins from the W teams, and luck/skill will likely give us another. Assuming we get a draw or two, Villa should be safe.
The math is a bit shaky, and a bit piecemeal, but I just can't fathom Villa being so bad as to drop this season. I certainly could be wrong, and Saturday's performance makes me doubt myself a bit, yet the evidence seems to say Villa will still be in the Premier league next season. And from there, it's anyone's guess. I know there is a lot of panic in the fan base, but let's just get past this relegation battle. At that point, with time to get transfers, train, and prepare, I think we'd see an entirely different Villa squad next season. And why not think that way? Hope's pretty much the only thing we have left.