EPL Betting: McLeish on borrowed time
McLeish has not been helped by mounting injuries in his threadbare squad, including the loss of Darren Bent.
Even taking in to account Aston Villa's horror run with injuries, Hannah Duncan lays their poor EPL season firmly at the feet of one of the most unpopular managerial appointments of the season.
It's fair to say that Alex McLeish's appointment as Gerard Houllier's replacement at Aston Villa last summer didn't go down too well with the Villa Park faithful. Having relegated their nearest and dearest just weeks before, it did seem an odd choice and after defeat to relegation-rivals Bolton last night left the Villans just three points above the drop zone, it also seems the wrong choice.
As Birmingham manager, he guided the Blues to 15 league draws - only bettered by Fulham who managed 16 - and just eight wins over the course of the 2010-11 season. This time around, Villa have themselves notched up 15 stalemates under McLeish's stewardship - at least five more than any other side in the league and only already-relegated Wolves have won fewer games.
And as Rangers boss, he saw to it that the Gers finished a remarkable third in the SPL in 2005-06, in what many consider to be a two-team league.
According to Opta Stats, after throwing away a one-goal lead to Bolton last night, Villa have also dropped the equal-most number of points from a winning position in the league this campaign at a staggering 20. Had they held on to those leads, they'd be another contender for the fourth Champions League spot.
The Villans are still outsiders at 7.0 to be relegated come next month but with tough games against West Brom, Tottenham and Norwich still remaining, the three point gap between themselves and 18th placed Bolton now seems a very slim margin.
It's hardly a great time for a big local derby away from home when you're scrapping for every point, especially considering the Baggies have lost just once in their last four outings, with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City both having dropped points at the Hawthorns this season.
Villa are 3.7 outsiders to come away with three points on Saturday - while the last side to suffer a heavy defeat at the hands of Roy Hodgson's men promptly gave Mick McCarthy the boot.
But it won't please Villa fans to hear that the same fate may not befall Alex McLeish, who insists he will 'keep fighting' at Villa Park despite mounting dissent from the terraces. Something about 'head' and 'sand' springs to mind.
Of course, McLeish has not been helped by mounting injuries in his threadbare squad, including the loss of Darren Bent who was carrying the side infront of goal before undergoing ankle surgery at the start of March. And no-one could legislate for the devastating news which hit captain Stiliylan Petrov last month, when it was announced he had been diagnosed with acute leukaemia.
But excuses won't wash with the Villa fans and it's going to take a drastic turnaround in fortunes, not to mention heavy summer spending, for McLeish to win them over.