Some of the most constant talk regarding Aston Villa lately has been about whether or not the club can avoid relegation. (I'm going to use the word. It's like Voldemort otherwise.) Right now, as everyone knows, they sit two points above the drop zone and have looked poor of late (and I feel like I'm being charitable). But Darren Bent seems to have remembered what his foot is for and there are some other encouraging signs.
But rather than argue about relegation, I thought it might be interesting for us to take a concrete look at the state of the team. There are seven matches remaining, away against West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion, and Arsenal. The four remaining matches are at Villa Park against Newcastle, Stoke, Wigan, and Liverpool. Some of those seem very winnable, while others seem a bit tricky. So for this week, the four of us are going to try and predict how many points Villa can come away with from the final month and a half of the season. Take a gander at the schedule yourself and let us know what you think!
This week's question: Take a look at Villa's remaining schedule. How many points are they getting from that?
Gareth: I'm prepared to write off the last two games as games where I'd be happy to get a point. If we're staying up, we're going to need to have at least 40 points before traveling to the Emirates. For the record, we're currently on 34 points. I like us to get some measure of revenge against Newcastle, especially since Andy Carroll isn't around to beat up our back line anymore (at least not until Liverpool come to Villa Park.) So that's three points, and we're at 37. I'll say we ride that momentum to get a draw against West Ham, but their attacking threat scares me. Stoke City aren't great away from home, so we can win that and make it to 41 by the end of April. Rejoice! Lovable Roy Hodgson will likely be the man to take advantage of our inconsistency and win the derby at the Hawthorns. We then smash Wigan, the one team that has looked likely for relegation all season long. Finally, we find ourselves looking at the season's big finish. I desparately hope we're out of the woods by then, because those games will give me fits. I'll concede to my pessimism and say we end the season on 44 points, losing the last two games of the season, but just barely staying up. After that, the real fun begins...
Kirsten: Let's see. For some reason, the Newcastle match terrifies me, possibly because I'm still haunted by 6-0 (it didn't help that my exam number last semester was 6060; I hope the law school isn't psychic). They destroyed Wolves last weekend, but really, who's not going to destroy Wolves when they're lacking Kevin Doyle? I think we could actually get three points from this one. West Ham have been playing better as of late, even if Wayne Rooney did decide to destroy them last week. That's a point. Stoke City. It may not be at the Britiannia but have you seen Stoke's form recently? This one is worrisome. Let's hope Spurs and Bolton destroy them first so we can take three points. West Brom are not nearly as fun under Roy Hodgson, but they'll be staying up, and they'll do it by taking our points. For some reason I have a bad feeling about Wigan. Maybe because everyone else finds it inevitable that they'll lose? I think we draw. That's eight points putting Villa on 42.
As for Arsenal away and Liverpool at Villa Park, well, we're going to get points from those. Why? Because Villa will find themselves a good luck charm in certain members of 7500 to Holte traveling to those matches, so they'll repay us for our loyalty with a point at the Emirates and all three points at Liverpool. 46!
Robert: I'm seeing 9 points here. We start with a win this weekend, however crazy that seems. I know Newcastle whooped us early in the season, but I get a sense that we might get a revenge win out of this, especially with Andy Carroll gone. Then I think we get three straight draws at West Ham, against Stoke, and at West Brom. Finally, I think we see our last points of the season on May 7 as Villa beat Wigan at Villa Park. After that, I think we get trashed by Arsenal and Liverpool and spend the final weekend being terrified of the drop but ultimately missing it by a point or two.