Aston Villa are going to be relegated. I think we've all accepted this into our lives and we've all made peace with it. But no matter how logical you are, it's tough to avoid the voice at the back of your head that says "No, but, look at the table. THEY COULD SURVIVE." So when can we finally shut that voice up and accept the sweet embrace of the Championship?
Well, thanks to a Villa loss to Chelsea and a Norwich win over Newcastle, the answer is finally looking more clear. Relegation might be here on Saturday. But let's take a quick look at some of the scenarios we've got ahead of us.
It's over on Saturday
Something tells me this won't be the way it happens. Villa just can't make anything on us this year. BUT, there is a decent chance that this season is basically over as soon as Saturday at about 5 PM. This happens if Aston Villa lose to Bournemouth and Norwich City beat Crystal Palace. That would leave Villa on 16 points with five matches left and put Norwich at 34. Doing the math, even winning out would leave Villa no better than 31, so they'd be doomed.
This can also happen if Villa lose and Norwich draw OR if Villa draw and Norwich win.
It's basically over on Saturday
This happens if Villa lose and Norwich lose. We'd be 15 points back with five matches remaining. DOABLE. But unfortunately, we'd also have to make up something like 20 goals worth of differential. To put that in perspective, Villa have scored 22 goals all season. We're not going to make up 20 goals in five matches (but that won't shut up the voice in your head).
This is the least desirable scenario. Zombie Villa. The Villa that are dead but still mathematically on life support. Oh god someone pull the plug.
WE GO AGAIN
Alright, as it stands, Villa have a 15-point deficit and six matches in which to make that up. IF Norwich City lose out (or get two draws and four losses), Villa could catch them by winning all of their remaining six matches. That would leave Norwich somewhere between 31-33 points and Villa at 34. Should be doable, right? Let me just take a look at the fixture list here. What have we got. Bournemouth. At United. Southampton. At Watford. Newcastle. And at Arsenal. Oh yeah, this is definitely not happening.
But try telling your brain that when we beat Bournemouth by five goals on Saturday and Norwich get totally pummeled by a Crystal Palace side who have fewer points in their last ten matches than do Villa.
If Villa win or draw and Norwich lose, be ready for another week of feeble hope.
VILLA ARE RELEGATED IF: They lose and Norwich draw or win OR if they draw and Norwich win.
VILLA HAVE A TINY AMOUNT OF HOPE BUT ARE BASICALLY RELEGATED IF: They do the same thing as Norwich.
VILLA HAVE AN OBNOXIOUSLY LARGER BIT OF HOPE IF: They win and Norwich draw or lose OR they draw and Norwich lose.
If we somehow hit the jackpot and get that last category, I'll do this again next week (spoiler: if Norwich win EVER, we're basically doomed. Or saved. Depending on how agonizing fruitless hope is to you).