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When Sunday Comes

Which it has to England, I realize. Over there Villa fans are waking up and realizing that it's Derby Day, and humming a bit of "My Old Man" as they put the kettle on.

But over in the PST, we've still got three hours of Saturday to go. And so I sit, pondering the significance of tomorrow. It's not just that it's a match against our hated rivals. It's that, just like Saturday's fixtures, tomorrow's matches can shuffle the table once again.

Chelsea v Stoke City

Stoke travel to Stamford Bridge to take on the once-mighty Chelsea, who have looked a bit ragged as of late. Their performance against Spurs was disheartening and their captain's play inadequate. Still, the Blues seem to have a knack for bouncing back, and I wouldn't count on Stoke ending up in 10th place. This is basically Chelsea's title game. Lose and it's likely gone, and they know it.

What a Villan Wants: This game really has no impact on Villa's standing. However, this Villan wants peace and harmony in the house. Blue is the color...

Everton v Fulham

Position eight versus position twelve. Everton have been on fire lately, and most agree that had it not been for injuries to significant players, they'd likely be heading to Europe next year. Still, isn't that the issue facing all but the very top clubs--a lack of quality depth? Everton has a knack for faltering in the last few minutes of a match (or feeling so bad for their opponents that they net them the equalizer) but I wouldn't count on that tomorrow. Fulham also had a midweek jaunt in Europe, walking away with a draw against Hamburg. While they've been the talk of Europa, their home form hasn't been impressive and the only only way they're seeing Europe next year is if they become champions.

What a Villa fan wants: Fulham. Everton might be 7 points behind us but if they win their last three and we don't, well...ok I don't even want to think about it. Much as I'd love to see the Toffees finish above Liverpool, I'm too nervous about our own European campaign.

Burnley v Liverpool

The Clarets are sitting in 19th place and nothing short of a miracle is going to save them from from being relegated. Can that miracle occur at Turf Moor? Burnley have been adequate at home but dismal on the road, yet Liverpool have only managed four away wins. Liverpool also just finished a 24 hour road-trip and looked sluggish and confused facing Atlético Madrid in the semi-finals of the Europa League. If any day is your day, Burnley, tomorrow is the one to seize.

What a Villan Wants: A Liverpool loss, of course. Even if our fellow claret and blues hold the Reds to a draw, we still stay above them in the table.

Aston Villa v Birmingham City

Derby games are ugly and the Second City Derby particularly so. Villa took three points at St Andrews earlier this season so it's likely Birmingham are looking for vengeance at Villa Park. Birmingham had a shining start to the season but have sputtered out recently, while Villa have won their last two away from home. Earlier this week, while reading MON's words about still being in the race for fourth, I laughed--but here we are, level on points with Tottenham if we win. Still VP doesn't seem to give us that much of an edge and I'm uncomfortable being too optimistic, especially since we've squandered every opportunity to gain points when our rivals have lost.

What a Villa fan wants: I would hope you're smart enough to figure this out. Three points brings us to 5th, above Citeh and behind Spurs on goal difference. Even if we don't make it to that coveted fourth spot, we're more secure in the battle for Europa, where we just might have an excellent chance next season.

And hey, I made it through that without referring to colored noses or cursing anyone's father. I wouldn't expect the same of me tomorrow, however. Due to inane American scheduling, we won't be watching the match until 3pm. To keep me occupied, I'll be watching the Liverpool v Burnley followed by Toronto v Seattle followed by Chelsea v Stoke before finally watching my beloved Villans. My stomach is going to be in a knot all day. Thank goodness beer relaxes the muscles.