Share of the points would suit Bolton more than Villa

It could be said that Aston Villa need only take a point tonight against Bolton Wanderers in the re-arranged fixture at Villa Park to stave off growing relegation concerns.

Alex McLeish’s side have not been short of producing league draws this campaign (15 in total) but it’s only four wins at home which has contributed most to their low league position (15th).

Villa fans aren’t used to spending time in the bottom half of the table, let alone finishing outside the top ten, so whatever the outcome from the remaining games, McLeish’s first season can already be labelled ‘unsuccessful’.

McLeish and Birmingham City were relegated with a total of three points more than Villa have currently with three games remaining after tonight, although in some past campaigns a total of 36 points has been enough to stay up. In each of Birmingham’s two recent relegation campaigns they earned 26 points at St Andrews – that’s two more than Villa’s maximum possible return from their home games this season, with a visit from Tottenham remaining on the penultimate weekend.

Bolton go there in even more desperate need of points it might be argued, and that is only likely to make the task more difficult for the home side.

QPR and Wigan (both on 34 points from 35 games) would have Bolton breathing down their necks in the table if Owen Coyle’s team were to come out as winners tonight. They currently sit three points adrift but this is the first of two games in hand.

Following their 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Easter Monday, Coyle said: “We will have to pick ourselves up and go again. We know we have got enough quality to stay in the league.” They went to Dubai for some warm weather training before returning to action at the Reebok last Saturday for a 1-1 draw and a  point against Swansea City.

But enough about Bolton who I think can prevent Villa from recording only their fifth home win in the league this season. Just six games ago after Villa’s most recent league win, on March 10th, they were 11 points above the relegation places and ten points better off than Bolton. Now there’s only a five point gap between themselves and 18th place Blackburn, with the gap down to Bolton reduced to just six points despite having played a game more.


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