If Aston Villa's loss to Manchester City had happened any other week of the season, we probably wouldn't have been as sad. Unfortunately, the rest of the results earlier in the day all went against Villa and the loss only dragged Villa further back into the relegation race. Just as Villa looked to be pulling away, here we are again having to scoreboard watch. With that in mind, I decided to ask the 7500 to Holte staff how nervous they still were.
Q: After Saturday's loss to Manchester City, exactly how worried, if at all, are you about Aston Villa getting relegated?
Both more and less worried than I probably ought to be. Numbers-wise, we're only two points above the drop with three of the teams below us having a match in hand. So that suggests that I should be very worried. And I'm not really. I'm not worried enough.
But playing-style-wise, Villa have been in the best form of their season. With three of their four remaining matches being against a little-to-play for Everton, a spiraling-down-to-earth West Ham, and a now-terrible Burnley there is a very real possibility that Villa still have nine points for the taking. And that suggests that I shouldn't be all that worried.
And yet? I'm somewhere in the middle. A nice background cosmic radiation level of worry. Maybe that's just what it feels like to be a Villa fan, though.
A little because you know that the team can play well and still lose. It's a sport where your team can batter their opponent but can't finish. All it takes is one perfectly timed counter or a penalty against and you're down. No game is a guaranteed win as Manchester City probably learned this week.
It still seems like a win vs. Burnley, even if it ends up being for the right to stay up, seals our safety. I certainly hope they don't wait that long but I'll spend the week telling myself that the City game was never going to be anything other than a loss and applaud the effort and fight back.
This team, as currently constructed and in its current form, should be able to win 2 more matches.
Logically, mentally, not at all - play like that in any of the next four matches and we'll get the win we need and probably another in the bargain.
In my gut, when I look at the table, plenty worried. You just need two weeks in a row where everything goes against you...
What has me very worried isn't Villa's form or players, which are both fine; instead, it's the other factors: the fixtures of relegation rivals, home form and goal differential.
Hull have four home games left. Leicester play Newcastle, Sunderland and QPR still. Sunderland play at home against Southampton and Leicester. There's a very real possibility that all three of those teams will win at least one more match, maybe more, meaning survival could require 34, 35, maybe even 36 or 37 points.
In theory, it shouldn't matter what the other teams do. Home games against Everton, West Ham and Burnley should get Villa 4-7 points, which would almost certainly see the club safe. But losing games like that because of poor finishing or a fluke goal is often how teams that shouldn't get relegated, get relegated (like Newcastle in 2009). And with Villa's home form far from convincing, I'm worried about those games.
And adding to all of that, Villa's goal differential is still only going to hurt the club in any tiebreaker scenario (Sunderland's GD would improve if they catch Villa in points).
Honestly, I just don't want this to come down to needing a result against Burnley on the last day, but if Villa don't pick up two results before then, it's almost a certainty to happen.
I honestly go back and forth. When I'm actually watching them play, I feel fine. Ever since Sherwood came in, I've been pretty confident that we can stay up, and recent performances have shown that we are definitely good enough to do so. But every time I start to look at the numbers and the table, worry does start to creep in. It's so tight at the bottom, especially since we haven't had other results go our way recently.
The City game hasn't really changed much, in my mind. Saturday's game was all about the performance, not result. Sure, it would have been nice to pick up a point, but the key thing was that we kept the momentum we built with our victories against Spurs and Liverpool going, which was great to see after such a terrible start to the match.
The way that we've been playing makes me think we're totally safe. However, the way everyone else around us has been playing worries me a bit. Leicester are in the middle of a great run of form. Only Burnley look certain to drop. But now that Sherwood has the team scoring, I'm more confident we will survive.
After Hull's result yesterday, I'm terrified. This sport can be stupid sometimes. We're playing better than Sunderland, but all it takes is a few Defoe goals and we're going down to the final day.
Villa have been the better team in their last three Premier League matches, yet only have four points from those contests. Then you look toward Leicester's win at the weekend, where they were certainly second-best, and yet they get three points out of that. That scares me.
Rationally, even with the table as tight as it is, I think we'll make it over the line. We're just playing so much better now than we were under Lambert. Even though we saw at the weekend that playing well doesn't always matter in football, I still rationally think we're okay.
The problem is my Villa fandom has always been the opposite of rational in my heart. I'm a worrier about Villa. In my heart, we are going down and there's nothing we can do about it. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle of my brain's opinion and my heart's opinion, but I tend to fall more towards my heart. This is Villa and even the good things that happen will make your heart hurt.
That's what we have to say and now we want to hear from you. How worried about relegation are you?