I sit here on January 28th unsure about how I should feel about Aston Villa's relegation battle. Somehow, I feel both resigned to relegation, but also weirdly hopeful that they can fight their way out of it.
I fully understand the absolute mess Villa find themselves in. Ten points down with 15 games to go is pretty close to hopeless, especially for a team that's only won two matches in the league all season. Yet, I just can't picture Aston Villa in the Championship. Maybe I'm in denial because I'm 24 have never seen Villa in the second division. Maybe it just hasn't sunk in. I honestly can't explain it.
After the famous Bolton loss in the Alex McLeish season and the Hull loss that got Paul Lambert sacked, I felt like Villa were doomed to relegation. But looking back now, maybe I didn't. Because Villa are much closer now than they were either of those two seasons, and I don't feel that much worse. It's entirely possible that I'm just weirdly optimistic about Villa.
But I'm not sure I want to be optimistic about this. Again, they need to make up 10 points just to get even with 17th place, and even then, 23 points it's not going to be nearly enough for safety. I feel like the healthy thing to do would be to resign myself to relegation now. And realistically I am. It's just that I'm not emotionally ready for it, which doesn't seem all that healthy. Having one of the worst Premier League seasons in recent memory, and seeing this coming shouldn't be as emotional as slipping into 18th on the last day of the season, Birmingham City style. Yet, it's probably going to be.
Only Aston Villa Football Club could make their supporters feel optimistic yet depressed.