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Bold Prediction: Aston Villa Will Be Relegated This Season


Aston Villa has had a very lackluster season and it’s a season that in my mind is going to end in relegation. They are a side that is in serious trouble. After announcing near £54 million losses last month, the team now sit just 8 points outside of the relegation zone. For any team this is not an ideal situation to be in, but safety should be more than manageable. We must remember though that THIS is an Alex McLeish-led team, a team led by a man who inspires absolutely no confidence at all. The Villa supporters have a right to be upset since it was just a season ago he oversaw the relegation of their rivals Birmingham City. The only difference between this season and last is that the teams at the bottom of the table are much worse off. Through 29 games with City McLeish mustered a mere 31 points and the team languished in 19th place, a single point ahead of Wigan. This season Villa have managed to put up 33 points through 29 games, which may be an improvement, but certainly not what fans were expecting.

Or maybe they were expecting this the way they protested before the opening game of the season? Are fans of Aston Villa clairvoyant? No, they just knew a bad situation coming when they saw it.

Things have been in a bit of a decline at Villa since the departure of Martin O’Neill. After three successive 6th place finishes, they slipped a bit last year finishing 9th in the league, their lowest since ’06-’07 when they finished 11th. But being in the top half of the table, especially for a club like Villa, is a completely respectable position to finish in. Half of the league would be thrilled to end the season in the top 10. But after a series of unfortunate health related events that forced Gerard Houlier to quit managing, Villa were in a transition period. The hiring after Houlier was a crucial one and the higher ups at Villa got it absolutely wrong. Alex McLeish is a perennial underachiever as a manager who has had most of his success coaching one of the top two teams in Scotland. Even when he was manager at Rangers the fans couldn’t wait for him to leave. The few successes he has had as a manager are outweighed by some of the astonishingly awful runs of form he puts his teams through. Take last season for example, a league cup win for City coupled with a heartbreaking relegation on the final day of the season. These are the sort of trends that have defined Alex McLeish’s career.

I feel confident in saying that Aston Villa are going down at the end of this season. It might be a bold prediction but they’re definitely not as well off as some may think they are. They have a tough end of the season with home games against Chelsea, Stoke, Bolton, Sunderland and Spurs. Their away fixtures don’t get much easier with trips to Liverpool, Man United, West Brom & Norwich City. Just last season McLeish’s side threw away a five point lead with five games to go, so Villa fans should be feeling queasy with an 8 point lead and 9 games to watch it disintegrate. The Villans have also picked up McLeish’s nasty little habit of losing their strikers. The only proven help Gaby Agbonlahor has up front the rest of the season is the corpse of Emile Heskey. Add in the fact that Blackburn are making a strong push away from the drop and Wigan appear to be on their yearly escape run, the one team that could be keeping Villa out of the drop is Bolton. Personally I would tip Bolton to make an inspired run at the end of the season and secure their safety. You never want your season to come down to how another team performs, in football you need to make your own luck or you’re never going to survive.

At the end of the day if Villa does go down it’s going to spell disaster for the club and Alex McLeish will have succeeded in taking down both members of the Second City Derby. Who knows, maybe if Roy Hodgson loses his job McLeish could go for a Birmingham hat trick and relegate West Brom as well. I guess a man can always dream.

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  1. Gary

    April 3, 2012 at 8:05 am

    i agree villa will go down. They potentially could have a very free flowing tem. Players like Albrigton and N’zogbia are just as talented as young and downing. It’s the same back four almost that martin o neil had, so they should be mid table. But like at birmingham McCleish has restrited attacking capabilities. How many games have the 2 wingers played together? Not alot. Bannaon can be a great player and gary gardner is as good as his brother. Makoun should have been kept. All in all with there run in, and his crap man management skills to get a talented(not the same as good) player in agbonlahour scoring and playing up front like o neil did, and with no bent, i see them as a good bet to go down at 10/1

  2. Dan

    March 31, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Um, who said Lerner made the worst NFL coaching hire in history? If you’re referring to Joe Posnanski’s ridiculous assertion that it was Eric Mangini, that was one of the most blatantly false columns in history, and my working theory is that Posnanski’s wife left him for Mangini.

  3. robert

    March 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I was thinking the same thing: gotta see the schedules for everyone below them before I can agree, but definitely a bold prediction.

    Great writing. The Hesky line and the finish were nice.

  4. Tony Butterworth

    March 28, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I predicted Villa would go down in November.

    I was wrong.

  5. steve c

    March 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Got to agree with the majority of points made above. Especially the fact that Lerner made what is widely regarded as the worst Head coach appointment in NFL history (he’s come really close to matching that here).
    Kierans point is a valid one but some of the teams below us do have to play each other…so points to be gained there.
    It’s wrenching but we will get what we deserve….VTID

  6. StellaWasAlwaysDown

    March 28, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I don’t see Villa going down this season, but I don’t think we are anywhere near safe yet. We have a game in hand and only 8 points separate us from 8th place. Anything can happen with these last matches. Chelsea have been vulnerable this season, and Norwich/Stoke/Bolton/West Brom/Sunderland are possible wins (though most would be a ‘win’ if we can draw, especially at away places like Reebok).

    Maybe 3’s a charm with relegation-master MCL. Then Randy could wake up and sell us to a sugar daddy like everyone else so we can compete in the league. I don’t want to buy trophies, but until the super-rich leave the league that is the reality. At least let us hang on to our own players!


  7. Stacy Richardson

    March 28, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Difficult for me to see how Villa will manage to drop NINE MORE POINTS than Wigan or QPR.

  8. Guy

    March 28, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Exactly. I don’t see any of them making any big run-in. Besides, you get Liverpool at Anfield. Certain points there. 😉

    • Yespage

      March 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Well at least one, for certain.

  9. Kieran Keegan

    March 28, 2012 at 10:19 am

    The author makes the point that Villa have a horrendous run in, but if you look at the clubs lower than us, there’s are as bad if not worse

    Wigan – Stoke (H) Chelsea (A) Man Utd (H) Arsenal (A) Fulham (A) Newcastle (H) Blackburn (A) Wolves (H)
    Wolves – Bolton (H) Stoke (A) Arsenal (H) Sunderland (A) Man City (H) Swansea (A) Everton (H) Wigan (A)
    Bolton – Wolves (A) Fulham (H) Newcastle (A) Spurs (H) Swansea (H) Sunderland (A) West Brom (home) Stoke (A)
    QPR – Arsenal (H) Man utd (A) Swansea (H) West Brom (A) Spurs (H) Chelsea (A) Stoke (H) Man City (A)

  10. Jean

    March 28, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Hmm?? That is a very bold prediction, but it is also a very stupid one. The race is still tight and Villa can survive if Bolton, Blackburn, QPR, and Wolves keep choking…

    • Guy

      March 28, 2012 at 9:20 am

      The guy makes a prediction and then backs it up with a few observations that are to the point. His prediction may indeed prove wrong, but how is it “stupid”?

  11. Guy

    March 28, 2012 at 9:03 am

    “…..the corpse of Emile Heskey.”…….a great line. 🙂

    I said a couple of weeks ago that I thought 34 points would be enough to stay up. I still think that’s about right, since I don’t see any of the current bottom dwellers making any kind of run. Having said that, Villa certainly needs to add to its total to be sure it doesn’t get too caught up in the conversation. With McLeish’s dynamic leadership that is not necessarily a sure thing.

  12. Matt Booher

    March 28, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Only thing more shocking than the appointment have been the tactics. Utterly dreadful. And to tell Villa fans they shouldn’t expect to win in places like the Emirates (perhaps true with this current side) despite Villa having taken the most points of any side in the PL at the Emirates just shows his relegation mentality. Perhaps relegation wakes Randy Lerner – but look at his track record with the Cleveland Browns. But I think they escape. Barely.

  13. Sam

    March 28, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Peoole keep saying it is all AM’s fault, but the team was lucky to not go down last season (and were close for a while) and Then they lost Young and Downing. We’re they supposed to have a BETTER year?

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