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Villa are within reach of Premier League futility record

So. Long. Ago.
So. Long. Ago.
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Aston Villa didn't score today. Nor did they score against Liverpool, or Leicester, or... Well, it's easier just to say they haven't scored since Christian Benteke's 18th-minute strike against Manchester United in the 1-1 draw on December 20. So now the club sits at 612 minutes without finding the back of the net. That's 42 minutes longer than the previous club record of 570 minutes without a goal.

So yes, things are pretty bad right now. But as things stand, they're only historically bad at the club level. That said, Aston Villa are now within reach of a much more dubious honor: the longest scoreless drought in Premier League history. That title is currently held by Crystal Palace. On November 5, 1994 they scored their final goal in a 3-0 beatdown of Ipswich Town in the 87th minute. They didn't find the back of the net again until Ricky Newman gave them a 1-0 lead over Leicester City in the 23rd minute on January 14, 1995. Between those two goals, 836 minutes passed.

That still leaves Aston Villa with 224 minutes to go until they set a new record, but it's not crazy to think it could happen. Next weekend sees Chelsea visit Villa Park. The Blues are allowing only .87 goals per match right now, though that number jumps to 1.33 when they play away. Regardless, getting one past the second-best defensive team in the league will be a tough task.

After that, Villa get to travel to Hull. If I'm a gambling man, this is where I expect the current streak to end. Hull are a beatable team, and this will be a match that Villa desperately need to win. That said, they aren't exactly a wreck defensively. They're in 18th largely due to a lack of goals (sound familiar?) and while they've allowed three more than Aston Villa, they've been pretty solid at home letting in 1.36 goals per match. The streak probably ends here, but what if it doesn't?

Well if that happens, Villa will be on the precipice of the wrong side of history. They'd be 44 minutes away from breaking Crystal Palace's record heading into their match against Stoke on February 21. At that point, the great void of ineptitude yawns wide.

I don't think this club sets a new record, though. Carles Gil is creating, and there's always the chance that someone shows up against Chelsea. Nevertheless, it's pretty unsettling to think how close they are to historical badness, and how easy it is to imagine it happening.