This is undoubtedly a game that some Aston Villa fans have marked on their calendar; Martin O'Neill still casts a heavy shadow over this club. He was the man in charge the last time Aston Villa was relevant, and so of course he is the cause of and/or solution to all of Villa's problems.
But of course, that's stupid. MON is very much a thing of the past, and the only thing that connects him to the present is a somewhat questionable link to Villa's current manager. Sunderland is faltering, which is somewhat amusing on a passing level, but Villa is in free-fall. That's not the way anyone will have planned it, bu it is what it is; a currently unpleasant time in the West Midlands.
And how will Villa overcome that unpleasantness? Well, a win would be a good start, but how will Villa manage even that? It;s a bare cupboard I'm afraid, and I don't expect much or anything from this side until they show themselves to be a factor. That's not a whole lot of fun, and it's certainly not especially positive, but it's reality. This is a bad, bad team. and until they show something different there's not a whole lot of reason to be optimistic.