Aston Villa’s odds for the drop have been slashed after their calamitous home defeat by Bolton Wanderers last night.
The pressure was ramped up even further on Villans boss Alex McLeish, who has vowed to fight on despite suffering more abuse from fans as his men slumped to a 2-1 reverse against their fellow strugglers.
Villa are now 5/1 in bwin’s Premier League relegation market, having been 11/1 prior to their latest defeat and 16/1 when I suggested in this piece at the end of February that they could be drawn into the dogfight.
Bolton remain in the drop zone despite the priceless win, but having leapfrogged second-bottom Blackburn, they are now just three points behind Villa with a game in hand.
McLeish’s men sit 15th, two points better off than QPR and Wigan immediately below them, but a shocking run of just one win in 13 games suggests it could now go to the wire.
Villa’s three remaining games are West Brom (a), Tottenham (h) and Norwich (a), none of which look to be gimmes, especially when they are so short of goals.
Any team looking to Emile Heskey for ammunition must surely be in trouble – England at the World Cup, anyone? – and although Andreas Weimann looks promising he is still very raw, while Gabriel Agbonlahor is without a league goal since November and top scorer Darren Bent is out for the season.
Of course, one win would probably keep them up, but Villa may have to hope the frailties of the teams around them are enough to ensure they do not suffer the humiliation of tumbling out of the top flight.
Elsewhere in bwin’s relegation market, Blackburn are 9/50 favourites for the drop, with Bolton and QPR both at 13/10 and Wigan rated as 11/4 shots.
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