Well, it's that time again: your weekly date with Aston Villa football club! Hopefully they're tied of Applebee's by now. This week's third wheel will be Queens Park Rangers, currently 20th in the league but certainly much improved from the depths of their misery. This is one of those games where both teams are pretty bad, but have enough talent and enough to play for that it could very well end up being pretty entertaining. Which is good news for me, because I am obligated to watch it!
This is a big week in the relegation battle, and this game is probably the most important. It's a tough road for Reading and Southampton, who face Manchester United and Liverpool respectively. Wigan has it a bit easier as they host a Hatem Ben-Arfa-less Newcastle. Sunderland has fallen off enough that they'e probably worth having as part of the conversation at this point; they'll face Norwich City (who ought not get too comfortable themselves) at the Stadium or Light. If things break right, this could be a huge weekend for Villa's survival hopes; a win coupled with a Southampton draw or loss would see them move to 16th, while a Sunderland loss would bring Villa level on points (though admittedly still well behind on goal difference) with the Wearsiders. If everything turns out well, Villa could end up six points clear of the drop by the time Monday rolls around.
Of course, it's rare that things go that well and we're not quite at the point where I'm going to obsess over every other result that could effect Villa. The bottom line is that there's one game this team can do anything about, and if they manage to win it the clouds may very well part, just ever so slightly. Here we go.