Stoke City vs. Aston Villa, open match thread

Richard Heathcote

Come join us as we see whether Villa can take a major step towards saving their season at the Britannia.

The good thing about this match taking place so late in the season is that, because of Villa's (and to a lesser extent Stoke's) current predicament, a game that would normally almost certainly be so boring as to be unwatchable will instead be so terrifying as to be unwatchable! Good job, Premier League schedule makers.

Only one other Saturday game is likely to have much impact on the relegation battle, with Reading facing off against Southampton at the Madejski Stadium. Southampton's given themselves a bit of a cushion, but a loss for Reading would almost certainly spell the end of their survival hopes. It's entirely possible that Norwich City could get dragged down deeper into the mess but they're not quite there just yet; they'll take on Swansea City at Carrow Road. The bigger action takes place tomorrow; QPR host Wigan at Loftus Road, and with QPR seven points back of Villa and Wigan even on points, a reasonably sizable edge in goal difference and still holding a game in hand, it's probably best that we all swallow our pride and pull for Harry Redknapp. Just this once.

Should Villa manage a win, they could overtake Sunderland (who face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge), which would be both stunning and hilarious. They could also go even on points with Newcastle should they fall to Fulham, though the Toon's far superior goal difference would keep them ahead of Villa in the table. In other words, a win would be nice. Nicer than usual, in fact, because if those results don't go Villa's way, things could get really unpleasant. Well, moreso.

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