Aston Villa: Is It Time for the Villains to Be Concerned About Relegation?

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 31:  Alex McLeish, manager of Aston Villa looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Chelsea at Villa Park on March 31, 2012 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Not many Aston Villa fans would imagine seeing this headline this late in the season, but it is a possibility that Alex McLeish could lead his second straight Birmingham-based club to relegation after going to the Championship with Birmingham last year.

Many people usually do not classify Villa with the five relegation contenders when talking about the relegation race, but it is a real concern.

The Villains sit in 15th place in the table with 33 points—only four points ahead of Bolton and five ahead of the trio of QPR, Blackburn and Wigan.

Outside observers may claim that the injury suffered by leading scorer Darren Bent was the trigger that sent Villa in a downfall, but the downward spiral began long before the England international was declared out for the season.

Since the new year began, Villa have only won twice (over Wolves and Fulham), and have drawn only three times.

Compared to the recent form of the four clubs directly below them in the table, Villa have been poor as of late—with only five points in their last seven games.

To give the club the benefit of the doubt, they have lost to Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea. And the schedule does get easier.

But captain Stiliyan Petrov is out for the season due to his recent diagnosis of leukemia.

Now, it will be up to a group of young talent led by new skipper Gabriel Agbonlahor to step up and keep Villa's hopes alive. Winger Marc Albrighton needs to step up along with fellow winger Charles N'Zogbia, who has been a huge bust since his move from Wigan in the summer.

With only one match upcoming with a relegation rival (Bolton in a to be rescheduled match), and a host of mid-table clubs, McLeish and Villa have a good chance to survive as they play clubs that do not have a ton to play for.