This time next month we will know whether or not Aston Villa Football Club has been relegated or if Tim Sherwood and the board are going to prepare for another season in the Premier League. Before then, we still have four games to go.
As I am sure you already know, these games are against Everton, West Ham United, Southampton and Burnley – in that order. Looking at these fixtures, I can see a possible twelve points from twelve if we play the way we have been playing. The Toffees’ game will probably be the real test of our nerves. They are on a roll but are still close to us in the table. Their impressive 3-0 victory overt Manchester United on Sunday showed that they are on the rise. Despite their form, I feel we have more to play for in this match than they do. They are safe from relegation so it’s just a matter of finishing as high up the table as they can, whilst we are obviously in need of points and will need to fight for them. I think this is the most important of the remaining games now because if we play well and win then it will give us a great platform from which to go on and beat the teams we face next. One other reason why this game is so important is that several teams below us have a game in hand.
The importance of the game against West Ham United will be defined by the Everton game and other results. If teams below us are winning then there will be increasing pressure on us to win all the games we have left. As much as I don’t want to think about it, I feel that our season will be determined by what other teams do. This is why winning the rest of our games will be vital. I feel the game against the Hammers is the easiest one to win out of the four, as they are on the decline and, with us being at home for this game, I see nothing other than a Villa win. Sadly, my predictions count for very little at this unpredictable stage of the season.
I will be hoping that we are safe by the time the Southampton game rolls around. It’s possible and it would help our hearts if things panned out that way. Whether or not we are safe, the game against Southampton is where I see us dropping points. I feel we would do well to get a draw due to the fact that The Saints are trying to secure Europa League football for next season and have been the dark horses so far in the Premier League. However, we won against them at St Mary’s last year so there is still hope. Again, it all depends on how we perform against Everton and West Ham and whether we have enough momentum to drive forward.
Our last fixture of the season sees us pitted against Burnley. I don’t feel that The Clarets will stay up and I think they will be relegated before this game. This means that whether or not we are still fighting to stay up on the last day of the season, I can see us having to fight really hard to win this game. I really hope it doesn’t come down to this match but, as we all know by now, anything is possible.
After each fixture there will be a different story and many different outcomes to ponder. Realistically, my guess is as good as anyone else’s. The Villans are by no means out of danger and may have to rely on other teams failing to win in order for safety to be guaranteed. Of the teams left in this scrap, our fixture list is probably the kindest so we must take this advantage as a gift – and use it wisely. The more I think about this relegation scrap the more worried I become. Beating Everton on Saturday, or even getting a draw, would make me far more relaxed.
Having a crowd prepared to push our boys over the line will be important so we must all try to go to the remaining games, wear our claret and blue shirts and get Villa Park rocking again.