Thanks to the (predictably) favorable results of the weekend, Aston Villa come into this evening's match with Manchester City not needing to pull off a stunning upset in order to keep themselves alive. It would help, of course; even a point would pull Villa out of the relegation zone, and the less time spent in the bottom three the better. But realistically, the games that will decide Villa's fate are going to be against teams like Reading, QPR and Wigan. This one is all about positioning.
And given the way Villa have tended to handle pressure this season, that may very well work to their benefit. And considering that City's title hopes are all but gone at this point, there's a chance they'll be at less than their best today. Villa will be without Ron Vlaar once again, but is otherwise as close to full strength as they're likely to be. City's lineup isn't their best, but it's still pretty terrifyingly good.
Aston Villa XI:
Brad Guzan; Matt Lowton, Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker, Joe Bennett; Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph, Charles N'Zogbia, Gabby Agbonlahor; Andreas Weimann, Christian Benteke
Aston Villa Subs:
Shay Given, Yacouba Sylla, Brett Holman, Simon Dawkins, Eric Lichaj, Karim El Ahmadi, Jordan Bowery
Manchester City XI:
Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Matija Nastasic, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy; Jack Rodwell, Yaya Toure, Javi Garcia; David Silva, James Milner, Carlos Tevez
Manchester City Subs:
Costel Pantilimon, Joleon Lescott, Aleksandar Kolarov, Samir Nasri, Scott Sinclair, Gareth Barry, Edin Dzeko