I wonder if the Aston Villa players play paper rock scissors to decide who's going to talk to the media about relegation. Darren Bent apparently lost (he prefers paper, but Stewart Downing threw down scissors) and provided Mat Kendrick with this gem: "That expression ‘You're too good to go down' always seems to haunt teams," he said. Bent went on to talk about how at least the Villa didn't get beat at Everton (woohoo) and how the team needs wins.
Basic stuff, right? Things Aston Villa haves have been saying over and over for the past couple months. We know wins are essential -- simple math tells us that three points is always better than one, and certainly better than zero. And that phrase, "too good to go down," well, I'd be perfectly happy if I never heard those words again. Villa may have England internationals and quality young players at their disposal, but if they're unable to link up, play as a team and get the ball in the back of the damn net, then guess what -- they're actually not too good to go down.
A glance at the Premier League table this morning shows that Villa fans have every right to be worried. Two points off the drop. West Ham have been in good form recently (despite the Rooney comeback on Saturday). Wolves haven't looked horrible, although without Kevin Doyle they might not be able to stay up. Wigan are...well, Wigan are probably going down. Blackpool have been spiraling but just a patch of their early season play could see them stay up. Arsenal did us no favors, their draw against Blackburn providing a vital point to Rovers, and Bolton's on the bad list, letting Birmingham City come away with the win.
On paper, it seems impossible that Villa could go down. Ashley Young, Darren Bent, Stewart Downing -- how could a club with these players slip into the Championship? But chance, luck, and the last five minutes of every half play a role in determining who will be out next season. Someone suggested that I take a look at the remaining games and figure out where Villa will pick up points. The problem with this idea is that there's no rhyme or reason to when Villa will find a point. Manchester City? What was with that? Chelsea? Huh? And yet we don't beat Wolves, we can't beat Blackpool, we let Bolton score an 86th minute winner. To say we'll find points against West Ham, Stoke, West Brom or even Wigan as simply become a parroted refrain.
What to do now, Villans? Seven games left. If we can't look at the fixture list and say we'll find points here, here, and here, how do we keep up the optimism? Or is optimism overrated -- have we already come to terms with the idea of the Championship?