The grim reality that Aston Villa are right in the mix of a relegation dog fight became apparent after last weekend's events. Although the side are five points clear of the relegation zone, the club may struggle to limp across the line.
Ever since the Villans pulled off a remarkable 2-1 win against Chelsea they have fallen rapidly and have been unable to find the points needed to take them to the magical 40 point mark. Considering who they have played in recent weeks, the job should have been done and dusted by now. However they have lost to Stoke and Fulham at home and they were also beaten by a resurgent Crystal Palace side who are now a certified Premier League outfit, currently sitting on 43 points.
Last weekend, Paul Lambert's team played out a 0-0 draw with Southampton but the fans are getting more and more frustrated by the performances. Lambert himself remains defiant that his team will be playing in the Premier League next year but where will they find the win that is the realistic requirement?
This weekend the team will travel to Swansea, a place where they have never won before. In their last meeting the teams drew 1-1 but the Swans will be a lot calmer after their 2-1 victory away at Newcastle which improved their odds of survival. Yet like Villa they require a win to secure their status as a top flight side. The task is a lot harder for the Midlands side with their last away win coming on New Years day against Sunderland.
Following this, they take on Hull City - a side that has been stabilised by Steve Bruce and are riding with a lot of confidence after reaching the FA Cup Final. A poor result from this and the game before would then require them to gain something away at Tottenham or Manchester City.
In April, the Claret and Blue lost their beloved Belgian striker, Christian Benteke, to injury. Without him, there has been no goal threat and Lambert has been forced to rely on Gabriel Agbonlahor, who has scored just three goals from 26 games.
Off the pitch and the club have been constantly in the spot light. A week ago, the club suspended two of the first team's back room staff - a case which is under an integral investigation after speculation of a bust up with the manager.
Owner, Randy Lerner then came forward and stressed the importance of "loyalty and commitment" at the club. Yet when asked if the club was being taken over by new American investors, Lerner refused to comment. Will he stay loyal?
Villa made no big name acquisitions in either transfer window and now it seems as if they are paying the price for a poor season of negotiations. In particular at the back, the club made no attempt to bolster the defence and give Ron Vlaar support. At the same time they exported the services of Richard Dunne, an experienced International.
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