Following the resounding defeat Aston Villa suffered against Arsenal in the FA Cup final, punters should be queuing around the block to back the Villans to be relegated in 2015/16.
After flirting with the drop for several seasons, many would agree that the claret and blue club’s demotion to the Championship is long overdue and a number of factors have aligned to suggest next year will finally see Tim Sherwood’s side exiled from the top tier.
Should the west Midlands outfit fall through the trapdoor next term, those who back the outcome with bwin.com will cop a 4/1 payday and there’s ample cause to believe the wallet will be fattened accordingly.
Villa have sold their defensively-sound soul for status as semi-decent attackers.
Under Paul Lambert, they were hopeless going forward but compensated with the cautiousness of a tortoise crossing a motorway that meant they weren’t bad at the back.
Now, with Sherwood in charge, the Villans are essentially the opposite.
They leaked 11 goals in their final three competitive fixtures of the season, scoring just once, with this defeat-laden trio of outings providing an ideal microcosm for their new identity.
However, it looks increasingly likely their most potent attacking weapon, Christian Benteke, will be leaving the club in the summer, reducing their threat in the final third significantly.
A lack of investment will limit how effectively they can improve.
A good portion of Villa’s summer transfer budget has probably gone already with Scott Sinclair’s services bought and paid for.
Chairman Randy Lerner is desperate to sell, so how much of any potential Benteke profit will he be willing to free up for Sherwood to spend?
Not much, in all likelihood, and even if he did, attracting a proven striker of the Belgian’s quality would be impossible for a club in their position, meaning a summer of risk-taking in the transfer market looms.
Dire consequences have befallen those unfancied sides to venture so far as the FA Cup final in recent seasons.
Hull became the latest side to be afflicted by this growing trend, relegated just under a year after losing the 2013/14 FA Cup showpiece to Arsenal.
The Tigers followed Wigan and Portsmouth, who were both relegated after their underdog outings against Manchester City and Chelsea respectively and now find themselves banished from the top two divisions of English football.