It's on Gérard's mind. Should it be on ours?
Aston Villa are in a bad place. 13th in the EPL doesn't seem too bad, but when you consider that we are a mere two points above the drop, the situation looks fairly grim. Gareth did a great job of addressing whether or not the team should be talking about relegation earlier in the week. And he's got a good point; maybe the "nobody believes in us" card will be enough to motivate this bunch.
But what about we fans? Should we be worried? Is this the year that Aston Villa drops from the Premier League for the first time? That's what we tackle in this week's Friday Feedback. You'll find our answers below, and be sure to add yours in the comments.
This week's question: Should we, as fans, be worried about relegation and why?
Aaron: I think we should be concerned, but I don't think we should be worried. For relegation to be a reality, there are five teams below Aston Villa that have to perform worse over the course of the rest of the season and while that's possible given Villa's propensity for dropping points it's certainly not likely. None of the clubs currently below Villa in the table are anywhere close in terms of talent and though Gareth is right in his assertion that 'too good to go down' is a dangerous mindset it's important to take stock of the players that got Villa into this mess and the players that are here now. I don't think anyone would argue that this team hasn't improved both in terms of personnel and performance and I think that a lot would have to go wrong for fear of relegation to move from the realm of 'too close for comfort' to 'rational fear'.
Gareth: There are two distinct issues at play here. While I don't think we actually will go down, I do think it would help to be aware of our situation. We have a right, even a need, to be concerned about our position on the league table. It is, as conventional wisdom states, several rungs below where we should be. But where we should be is an abstraction based on an overvaluation of our offense and basic ignorance about how terrible our defence has been since Martin O'Neill left.
Say what you will about MON, and I certainly do, but he knew how to build a solid defence. If we had that, we wouldn't be in this mess, and first priority for Houllier and Lerner this summer should be building from the back. Until then, this club needs confidence, and it needs a leader. Richard Dunne is obviously far, far removed from the man we thought he was last season, and Ashley Young seems completely disinterested.
If there aren't any leaders on this team, there is not really a whole lot of reasons to be confident. So, yeah, I'm worried about slipping into relegation because I don't really trust the club or its manager all that much, and as we've seen, we can hit some really bad slumps at the worst possible time.
Kirsten: I really don't want to talk about that dreaded r-word, which I think is a reflection of the fact that I am, indeed, worried about it. Wolves might be below us in the table but they're capable of playing decent football this season and causing a few upsets (just ask Manchester United). We have three healthy defenders because Gerard Houllier elected to use past experience as a guiding light in the January window, picking up midfielders and overcrowding the bench in a fear that the midfielders will get injured (never mind that we have plenty of defenders than can play in the midfield...ok I'll stop ranting about this now). But I'm most worried about relegation because Aston Villa seem to think that the game stops five minutes before the whistle --be it halftime or fulltime--blows. I don't know what it is about our team but we just can't push through, and if it weren't for those last five minutes we wouldn't even be fretting about this right now.
Robert: I think we should be worried about it, but not panicked. Look, 3 points is not a lot. There is a non-zero chance that we go on an even-worse run of form and end up in the Championship next year. But I'd say it's still a slim one. We've got some great new players who will only get better as they play with one another. We've got Jean II Makoun coming back from suspension soon. And we've got the youth core that just keeps gaining experience. I don't think we'll drop, but even if the worst came to pass, I'd imagine we wouldn't be down for more than one season. This team is just too good to be in the Championship. Luck can kill for one season, but the chances of it happening twice in a row are slim.