Aston Villa vs. West Ham is not a matchup that moves the needle for a whole lot of folks; these are two sides that aren't very good, no matter how many places there are between them in the table.The Hammers currently reside in the relegation zone, but the entire bottom half of the table is involved in the relegation battle; a loss for Villa would drop them right into the muck, and it would take several more weeks worth of results to make anyone feel much better about the state of things.
On the positive side, Aston Villa will be going up against a side against which they're likely going to attempt to play football; we've seen over the course of the past month or so that Paul Lambert is more than willing to take off the reigns and let his side attack when he feels as though the opportunities are there, and after some contests earlier this season that were quite difficult to watch, Villa's shown that they can actually get forward pretty effectively. But without Ron Vlaar, Villa's backline is a different animal; how willing the side is to go after the game without the Concrete One's presence in the center of defense will be interesting to see.
Though this isn't a game that's likely to seize the attention of many-you'll notice that even I can't much be bothered to break things down, because there's just really not a whole lot that's interesting to talk about where these teams are concerned-it's a very, very big game; a Villa win would once again put them on the outside edge of the boredom of safety, which would be a pretty welcome change after the past few seasons; a loss or even a draw would keep things interesting (which of course means annoying) for at least one more week, and if the results elsewhere break the right way, Villa could fall as far as 15th
This is just another reminder of how mediocre the Premier League is at the moment, and even the best outcome only makes serves the argument that Aston Villa is slightly less mediocre than the rest of the league; there's enough young talent in the side that a surprise performance could quite easily make things interesting again. It's totally reasonable to feel good about the path this club is on and to recognize that the rest of the year is probably going to be pretty boring, but the nice thing about teams like this one is that you never know who's going to come out of nowhere to blow you away.