It's been an interesting few weeks for Aston Villa; lots of positive hings have happened, such as the signing of Carles Gil, the unexpected long-term contract extension inked by Fabian Delph, the detailing of what appears to be a pretty solid plan for the future by CEO Tom Fox, and some pretty strong performances against teams in the upper tier of the Premier League. That's all well and good, but it's somewhat obscured by the fact that Villa haven't won a game in the League in over two months and now sit just two points ahead of 18th-placed Hull City, their opponent in this evening's game.
It's a mixed bag, in other words, as there's clearly more hope for the non-immediate future than there has been in awhile, but the it all hinges on things not going to hell in the near term. There's little to indicate that there isn't yet another protracted fight against relegation on the cards, but if Villa hope to stay alive long enough to see the brighter future that may well be on the cards, they're going to need to take care of the likes of Hull City. The KC Stadium has proven to be anything but a fortress this season, and as one of only four clubs to have amassed fewer points than Villa, they're one of the few sides the Claret and Blue won't be considered underdogs against.
Sadly, that doesn't mean they're not going to put up a fight. Where Villa are widely considered to have underachieved relative to the talent on their squad, Hull at times appear to survive through sheer force of will. Given Villa's struggles in terms of finding the net this year, that's going to be an important factor; if this season is going to have a happy ending, they're going to have to find a way to find the net against entrenched sides and grind out victories, especially against the sides that could potentially overtake them and send them packing for the Championship.
The promise of not only beating teams like Hull but steamrolling them has been there, but the final product hasn't. Whether it's Christian Benteke finding his form once again or Gabby Agbonlahor rekindling the magic he was once capable of creating after being moved backed to a more central role, Villa must put it all together in the final third if they're going to make it through this season comfortably. And in facing a side like Hull, there's a real opportunity to prove that they can do so. But that opportunity comes with a price; if Villa can't manage to score goals and take three points off of one of the few sides more hapless than themselves, what's to give anyone faith they have it in them to stave off disaster?