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Are Villa out of the Premier League title race?

Ollie Watkins in action for Aston Villa against Manchester United
Ollie Watkins in action for Aston Villa against Manchester United

Aston Villa's defeat by Manchester United on Sunday means Unai Emery's side have taken only eight points from their past seven Premier League matches, leaving them eight points behind leaders Liverpool.

Home wins over Manchester City and Arsenal in December raised hopes of a potential title challenge, however, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Football Daily podcast, Adebayo Akinfenwa and Nigel Reo-Coker said they felt that prospect was always unlikely.

Former Wycombe striker Akinfenwa said: "I said this a little while ago when they beat Manchester City and Arsenal - I didn't think they were in the title race, as in of course they were in there because of the points and where they sat, but I just didn't think they had enough [to sustain a challenge]. Pressure adds so much more to it. Teams start realising what you're about and they take you more seriously.

"There was talk about them being title contenders and you've seen, all of a sudden when that starts coming in, expectation weighs you down and I think that's what you're starting to see with Aston Villa. That's just my take on it. They're a good team with a good manager and they will be able to get results, but I don't think they've got enough and I don't think they ever had enough to get them to the promised land."

Ex-Villa midfielder Reo-Coker added: "I never put Villa in the title race, I didn't feel they had the strength in depth to be in this situation. Games like this are a true reflection of what it takes to be in that title race. These are the small margins that you come across when you face top teams and world-class players. It all comes with experience."

Listen to more reaction from Sunday's Premier League games on BBC Sounds