Arsenal returned to the top of the table after beating Aston Villa. Ralph Ellis says the Gunners may not stay there - but Villa will definitely be stuck on the bottom...
"Who is even running about? Week after week when you look at the EA Sports performance data showing which teams ran the furthest, Villa are either bottom or close to it. Arsenal outran them by nearly three miles."
Just six points on the board from 16 games, only 13 goals scored which is the worst in the Premier League, some 30 conceded which is one goal away from being the worst too, and without a win since the opening day of the season. The statistics about Aston Villa are damning.
In fact it is not often you can look at a bet with a price of 1.192/11 and suggest it is unmissable value. But backing Aston Villa to be relegated is unquestionably one of those rare occasions.
I said back in September when Villa were still 1.9520/21 to go down that Tim Sherwood had been left with an impossible job after losing the spine of his team in the summer. Sherwood ultimately got the sack after playing politics and making it clear that he hadn't dictated policy over how the likes of Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph and Ron Vlaar were going to be replaced.
Villa turned to Arsene Wenger for advice on how to replace him and ended up with Remi Garde. After four games it's hard to know what, if anything, the Frenchman has been able to change.
You can't even excuse losing to an Arsenal side who went top of the table because the way it was made all too easy for them was typical of the naive way Villa have performed all season. A decent start was followed by a rash challenge from Alan Hutton that conceded a penalty. Villa started to claw their way back into the game - then switched off and let Aaron Ramsey help himself to another.
Garde, it appears, gave a decent half-time talk that produced a bit of a rally. But it was too late then, and all it did was expose the other short comings in the squad.
Who scores a goal? Villa had no shortage of attempts, 18 in all, but only two of them forced Petr Cech to do any work. Who puts in a tackle? The club are in the bottom five for total tackles made in the Premier League this season.
And who is even running about? Week after week when you look at the EA Sports performance data showing which teams ran the furthest, Villa are either bottom or close to it. Arsenal outran them by nearly three miles on Sunday.
Now I know that isn't the only way to judge a team. Manchester City are consistently among the sides with the lowest work rate, but that is because they are knocking the ball around and making the other team chase. But when you are losing, when the other team dominate possession, then you have to work to get it back and Villa aren't doing that.
How can things change? If there's money to spend in January, what top players will want to go to a club which is doomed? In any case who will be choosing players to sign? If it's sporting director Hendrik Almstadt, the German whose computer analysis skills were behind the summer spending spree, the record so far doesn't suggest anything to get excited about.
Put that lot together with a manager who is getting his first experience as a Premier League boss, and the picture looks even worse? Villa are still as long as 1.738/11 to finish rock bottom, and that also looks like a 'buying money' bet.