Aston Villa seems to be heading for the Premier League trap door quicker than Usain Bolt can run the 100 metre race. Had it not been for their three wins and a draw in their opening four games, they would be rooted to the bottom of the table right now with nowhere to hide.
They have lost their last six games on the bounce, ironically just after their boss signed a new five year extension on the back of his side’s great start to the campaign. The ten points they accumulated in four games was an impressive start without a shadow of a doubt. Since then, they have been in rapid decline, losing five out of their last six games without even a goal to show for their troubles. It took them until their latest defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur to score a goal, but it wasn’t enough to avoid defeat.
They now face an in form West Ham in their next match, an away game which will be made even more of a daunting prospect for the Villa considering the suspension of key player Christian Benteke after his sending off against Spurs for “punching” (more like stroking) Ryan Mason.
After West Ham, they then face a home tie against an even more in form side in Southampton who have been nothing short of perfect so far this season, and find themselves sitting in second place behind league leaders Chelsea. On paper, it is hard to see past another two defeats in their next two games, which would see them having lost a massive eight games on the trot.
Their only reprieve comes after the game against Saints, a relegation crunch match and six pointer against fellow strugglers Burnley who are about the only team worse than Villa at the moment.
Villa are leaking goals for fun this season and not scoring many at all, so they are facing issues at both ends of the pitch, a worrying sign that you are in big trouble. They have the joint second worst goal difference in the whole league and they don’t look like they can find a solution.
Normally if a team is defending well, they might be struggling to score and are perhaps drawing too many games. Or a team is scoring well but are also conceding and at least then a team in that position can look to outscore the opposition and would have a few more points on the board.
It has to be said that on paper, Villa haven’t got the type of team that you would consider a relegation scrap candidate. They should be finding themselves in the top half of the table, and quite a tough team to play. However at the moment they are everyone else’s team of choice to play after Burnley, the Premier League’s newest whipping boys.
It is hard to see where manager Paul Lambert is going to find the motivation and inspiration from to lead his team to victory in their next couple of games. It is vital that they pick up something from these next two games, or they will be dragged a lot further into trouble and potentially end up in the bottom three come the end of the season.
One team they can draw inspiration from will be Newcastle, who after finding themselves in similar peril went on a winning spree and find themselves out of trouble (for now) and even managed to defeat Spurs away and Liverpool at home.
Aston Villa will be hoping for similar joy in their next few games, or it will be hard for them to dig themselves out of trouble. It could well be that this is the season that sees them finally fall through the trap door into the Championship!