Aston Villa come into today's match somehow sitting in 13th despite the fact that they have only scored 11 goals throughout the first half of the season (yes, Villa are on a 22-goal pace for the year). The fact that they are so many spots clear of the relegation zone is due largely to their superb defense thus far. And if you need proof of that, look no further than today's opponents, Crystal Palace.
Despite having scored nine more goals, Palace sit in 18th. Why? They've let thirty past them this season. That's not too many more, but it's enough to turn the result in just a few matches, and in a year where the relegation line could be pitifully low, that's all it takes.
So here's hoping that the anemic Villa attack can get one past Palace and that the defense can do it's thing. A win here would be great, but a goal would seemingly assure a draw. And boring as it would be, if Villa were to draw out they'd end the season on 40 points: two better than last year and likely well above the drop line.
Welcome to 2015: the year in which we come to terms with the club we're cheering for. Maybe something happens in January that will change our minds, but until we hear otherwise this is what we've got. Happy New Year, and up the Villa!
Aston Villa starting XI
Brad Guzan, Alan Hutton, Ron Vlaar, Jores Okore, Aly Cissokho, Tom Cleverley, Carlos Sanchez, Leandro Bacuna, Gabby Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke, Andi Weimann
Aston Villa subs
Matthew Lowton, Charles N'Zogbia, Jack Grealish, Ciaran Clark, Callum Robinson, Shay Given, Joe Cole
Crystal Palace starting XI
Julian Speroni, Adrian Marlappa, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Joel Ward, James McArthur, Martin Kelly, Joe Ledley, Jason Puncheon, Wilfried Zaha, Yannick Bolasie
Crystal Palace subs
Barry Bannan, Wayne Hennessey, Frazier Campbell, Kevin Doyle, Jerome Thomas, Dwight Gayle, Brede Hangeland