Last week was pretty incredible, wasn't it? Two matches against West Bromwich Albion, two Aston Villa wins, and one trip to the FA Cup semi-finals. Certainly a week for all of us to remember, and a week that (if this whole Tim Sherwood thing works) will be seen as a bit of a turning point.
But we've seen Aston Villa put good feelings quickly behind us before. Today they've got a relegation six-pointer. Beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and they put at least one more team between them and the drop. Draw and they stay above the bottom three for certain. Lose and things get dicey.
Luckily, Sunderland are a shambles now. Sort of the opposite of the late-season Sunderland that we saw last year. Plus they've only gotten two wins at home (though the seven draws are worrisome). If Villa can win today, they can push themselves into a position of relative calm. From 28 points it's a mere two wins and two draws from the remaining nine matches (a 2-2-5 record) to 36 points and almost assured safety. That's exactly the pace they've set thus far this season, and they look a lot better now than they ever have.
So let's win today, eh?
If you're looking for more to read to keep you busy until kick off you can have a look at Jack's lineup talk or Alex's preview. And if you'd like something to watch or listen to, check out this week's episode of the Holtecast. Below, you'll find all of your watching info, and we'll post lineups before the match. I'll be live-tweeting, of course. And be sure to join us in the comments during the action and stick around after for the recap!
Location: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England
Kick-off time: 3:00 PM GMT, 11:00 AM Eastern, 8:00 AM Pacific
Available TV: Premier League Extra Time (US), None (UK)
Available streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra
Available radio: AVTV (subscription required), BBC Radio 5 Live Extra, Westwood One Sports (US)
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
Aston Villa starting XI
#AVFC (v @SunderlandAFC): Guzan, Lowton, Okore, Clark, Bacuna, Delph (c), Cleverley, Sinclair, N’Zogbia, Benteke, Agbonlahor. #AVFCLIVE— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) March 14, 2015
Aston Villa subs
#AVFC subs (v @SunderlandAFC): Given, Gil, Sanchez, Kinsella, Weimann, Westwood, Hepburn-Murphy. #AVFCLIVE— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) March 14, 2015
Sunderland starting XI
#SAFC team: Pantilimon, Reveillere, van Aanholt, Brown, O'Shea (c), Bridcutt, Larsson, Rodwell, Alvarez, Defoe, Fletcher. #HawayTheLads— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) March 14, 2015
#SAFC subs: Jones, Wickham, Gomez, Graham, Coates, Vergini, Mannone.— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) March 14, 2015