Three days after their players were subjected to fierce abuse from their own fans following their disappointing 1-1 FA Cup third round draw with Wycombe Wanderers, Aston Villa have finally won a game.
The 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace was Remi Garde’s first since he took charge of the club, and ended a club record run of nineteen games without victory but is it too little too late?
Ahead of Wednesday evening’s fixtures the Midlands outfit sit eight points behind seventeenth place Swansea City while Bournemouth and Norwich City will also be looking over their shoulders in what is beginning to look like a six-way fight for survival.
North East duo Sunderland and Newcastle United currently occupy the bottom three with Villa, and the three are the favourites to drop down to the Championship with the Swans, the Cherries and the Canaries just behind them in the market.
A number of the aforementioned sides face off in the coming weeks, and it is those games that are likely to be key in determining which will get out of trouble.
The Villains have two Midlands derbies to contend with this month, either side of their replay with Wycombe while they face one of their relegation rivals in each of the next four months, with their home game against Newcastle in the penultimate weekend of the season highly likely to be a six pointer, assuming either or both side’s fate is not decided by then.
This time twelve months ago Leicester City were rock bottom of England’s top divison, though they had six points more than Villa and were just three points from safety.
Nevertheless, they will look at how the Foxes have kicked on this season for inspiration as they refuse to admit they are down and out, and Tuesday’s win will have done wonders for their confidence regardless of how lucky the result was.
Joeleon Lescott’s header just shy of the hour mark was enough to secure the points, though the goal came thanks to a massive howler from Eagles’ keeper Wayne Hennessey, not that that will matter one bit Garde, who had overseen four draws and five defeats in his first nine Premier League games in charge.
They have now matched the eleven points that Derby County achieved in the 2007/08 campaign – a record low tally for a Premier League season though they are still twenty-three short of what remains the lowest tally a team has survived with.
March looks to be the toughest month left for the club as they host Everton and Tottenham Hotspur and travel to title favourites Manchester City and a Swansea City side who themselves will be desperate for the points so you would be awfully brave to take advantage of the offer of 10/1 to still be a Premier League team come August.
Can Aston Villa beat the odds and retain their Premier League status?