Is Aston Villa's relegation battle over?

Villa have just 31 points - that's a long way from the magical 40 point mark. But are they really in danger of relegation?

Most seasons, it's the 40 point mark that's considered magical - when a side reaches it, that means they're safe from relegation.

But the 2013/2014 Premier League season is different than most. For months now, any side in the bottom half of the table has been fighting a relegation battle. A club can feel that they're safe, then fail to pick up points one weekend, and suddenly find themselves hovering just above those dreaded last three spots.

So is hitting that 40 point mark really necessary this season? It might not be. After beating Norwich 4-1 on Sunday, Aston Villa have 31 points and are now seven points clear of the drop zone. That might not feel like all that much - after all, a couple wins from the bottom three, and suddenly Villa are dragged right back into it.

And the Villa's upcoming month doesn't do much to alleviate fears. Chelsea come to Villa Park, and Villa visit Manchester United. Facing Stoke at Villa Park isn't as bad as a trip to the Britannia, but it's tough to see three points coming out of that match. Plus, a date with Manchester City still needs to be set. That's what, a couple points from the rest of March, if we're lucky?

After spending the last three seasons terrified of slipping into the Championship, most Villa fans are understandably worried about the next two months bringing more fears. But this season is different. Not because the side are that much better, although it sure would be nice to see a few more emphatic victories, particularly at home. It's because it just seems as though there's no way the teams below are going to be able to catch Villa.

Currently it's Fulham, Cardiff City and Sunderland in the bottom three. Fulham and Cardiff, despite making near-overhauls to their squads and changing managers, just don't look like sides capable of making it out of the danger zone. The Cottagers have two points from their last eight games, the Bluebirds four. Sunderland, on the other hand, are improving, and they've got two games in hand.

However, looking at rivals West Brom, in 17th, it's hard to believe that they're safe. The Baggies haven't won since January 1, although they've picked up four draws since then. With 13 draws to their name, it seems the Albion want to avoid relegation a point at a time. It's not as safe a strategy as it might sound, particularly with games against United, City, Spurs and Arsenal still to come. If Sunderland stay up, it could very well be at West Brom's expense.

So yes, Villa aren't at 40 points. It's still possible they can slip down. Yet concerns about relegation are more about a gut reaction than any real fear that the Villa will find themselves in the Championship next season. Fortunately, there are sides that are worse, much worse, in the Premier League this season.

Now, let's just hope I didn't curse the side.

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