After a week of looking at the various relegation scenarios of all of the teams below Aston Villa on the table, it's time to bring this full circle. Despite being so close to the drop, there are a number of ways in which Villa could assure their survival this weekend. Let's look at what it would take regardless of whether or not they can beat Hull City on Saturday.
If Aston Villa win:
They are safe. At 38 points, Cardiff and Fulham would be unable to catch them, and Norwich could do it, but with a much worse goal differential it wouldn't matter. As we talked about on yesterday's podcast, this is the 7500 to Holte endorsed method of achieving safety. Win tomorrow and literally nothing else matters.
If Aston Villa draw:
36 points would guarantee a finish above Cardiff City, no matter what they did for the rest of the season. Fulham would have to win out (ending on 37) to be ahead of Villa, and Cardiff would have to do the same (again, they could tie on points, but their differential is bad). Sunderland would need a win and a draw in their last three, and then they'd have to overcome differential.
Put simply, if Villa draw, they can secure safety with a Fulham draw or loss AND a Norwich draw or loss.
If Aston Villa lose:
Oddly, they can still secure safety tomorrow even with zero points. If results in the Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff matches went their way, Villa could back their way into the Premier League.
If Villa lose, they will be safe with: a Norwich loss AND a Fulham draw or loss AND a Cardiff draw or loss. While there are a lot of moving parts there, it's actually a fairly plausible scenario.
Nevertheless, I think everyone would be more happy with Villa winning and making all of this moot.
Here is your weekend schedule together with rooting interests (all times local):
|Cardiff loss OR draw
|Fulham loss OR draw
This weekend, we are all Newcastle, Stoke, and Chelsea fans. Good grief.