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Leicester's 14/15 great escape: How Villa could still do it

It's exceedingly difficult to conjure any optimism right now in regards to Aston Villa - but there was even less optimism surrounding last season's Leicester City, yet the Foxes finished 14th when all was said and done. How does Villa's current predicament compare to Leicester's great escape?

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On the back of another heartbreaking defeat, many Villa supporters believe that our tickets to the second division of English football have already been booked. While it's hard to present a legitimate argument that shows that this Villa squad can and will turn things around, Villa's saving grace may be the Premier League's proven track record for 'great escapes.' It seems like Sunderland pulls one off every season, but the most vivid memory of an unbelievable sprint from danger is last season's Leicester City. They were as dead as a team can be at many points last season, but were somehow able to finish in 14th, catapulting them to their current position of 2nd in the Premier League table. So, let's take a look at just how they did it, and if Villa can pull of something of the same nature.

Similar to how Villa started off the campaign, last season's Leicester City opened on a high note, battling Everton to a satisfactory 2-2 draw on the opening day. While they lost their next game (away to Chelsea), they experienced a streak which Villa is yet to see this season. A 1-1 draw with Arsenal, followed by a 1-0 win over Stoke, and punctuated by a famous 5-3 win over Manchester United left the Foxes in good standing after five matches. This, however, would not last very long. Over the next 13 matches, Leicester accumulated only two points, both compiled in underwhelming results (draws with Burnley and Sunderland). The Foxes, however, weren't torn apart in any of these losses - the worst scoreline was a 2-0 defeat. In addition, they were shut out in 6 of 10, bearing a resemblance to Villa's recent goal-scoring woes.

With this streak of abysmal results, Leicester was left on only 10 points following their Boxing Day defeat to Tottenham. With two victories and four draws after 18 matches, Leicester looked dead in the water. But, Leicester embarked on a rampant run of form which saw them triumph in seven of their final nine matches to finish the year six points above the drop zone on 41 points in 14th place, well clear of relegation.

The obvious landmark from this data is Leicester's 10 points on Boxing Day. Villa have four matches to accumulate five points, should they set that same mark as a goal. With games against Newcastle and West Ham before Boxing Day, that number doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility. Following Boxing Day comes the matches that will define Villa's season: West Brom, Sunderland, Palace, Leicester, West Ham, and Norwich twice. It may not be the most comforting of scenarios, but it's a start.