When this actually posts, I'll be sitting on a plane getting ready to leave the gate and head to Washington State. Like many of you, I imagine, I will spend the days between the 20th and the 30th of December relaxing, spending time with the family, and trying to take a break from the pace of everyday life.
But the boys from Villa Park are going to get no such luxury. The most brutal part of the schedule thus far awaits Villa beginning Sunday. In 11 days, the club will play four matches. These matches will likely be played in some bitterly cold conditions, perhaps even with some snow. The teams that we face are 5th, 3rd, 4th, and 6th on the table right now. Things look to be getting pretty tricky.
But what lays ahead in toughness also means a huge amount of opportunity. It seems totally believable that Villa could win against Tottenham and Sunderland. Both are good teams, and both will put up a stiff challenge. But those are two games at Villa Park.
Manchester City has been excellent, but somewhat passive this year. It doesn't seem crazy to think we could get a draw there. Chelsea is a match I think we can chalk up as a loss without too much agony. So where would this sort of play put us? 27 points in 21 games. That's 9 points off of last year's pace, and would set us to get about 49 on the year. Given the injury plague upon us, I think we'd all be happy with that outcome. 49 points last year would have gotten us 11th in the league.
But keep those injuries in mind. Villa has to come back to form. There is no way this string of injuries can continue. So we're a team likely on the upswing, and we're a team who are getting a lot of our tougher 2nd half matches out of the way early. I know I'm always playing the role of the optimist here, but there is an incredibly amount of potential still left in this team. If they can get through this holiday-hell alive, there's a real shot at having a top-half type season. With the schedule being so jammed in the coming weeks, maybe it's better that we got snowed out this weekend.