This should be an easy win, but so much this season has prepared us for the fact that it likely will be anything but. Blackpool come into tomorrow's FA Cup match at Villa Park sitting dead last in the Championship and almost assuredly heading towards relegation to League One. They've only gotten 14 points from 24 matches. And while the 18 goals they've scored look monumental to Aston Villa, they're undone by the fact that they've allowed 41. So Villa will be, for all intents and purposes, playing a League One side tomorrow.
Except we all remember what happened the last time that Villa welcomed a League One side to Villa Park for a cup match. Leyton Orient came in and stole an 0-1 victory from the Villans. So yeah, a lower-league side means pretty much nothing.
Add into that the fact that Villa seemingly can't score to save themselves and you've got all the ingredients for a boring 0-0 draw that sees a replay and the almost inevitable Villa defeat. Cup play is the best under Paul Lambert!
But there is reason for hope here. First off, Blackpool are woefully bad. Their defense is atrocious and this is the kind of match where Villa can afford to open the throttle and attack like crazy. Add into that the injury issues that have plagued the club and you could see a few younger players getting starts. Don't be surprised if Jack Grealish and Callum Robinson are on the pitch at kick-off. And from what we've seen of the former, expect chances to be made. As for the latter, I'm sure he's eager to find the back of the net after being recalled from a successful loan spell. A little infusion of youth in what should be a low-pressure match may be enough to let some scoring happen.
And it should be just that, a little infusion of youth. Thanks to the aforementioned injuries, Lambert can't really do too much in terms of squad rotation, so this should be nearly a full-strength Premier League side taking on the bottom-of-the-barrel Championship club.
I know our gut reaction is to fear the worst, but the rational mind should tell us that Villa can (and should) win tomorrow. If they don't, we can call get angry for good reason, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. This is a match that should help boost our spirits a little. Let's just hope it does.