Three managers, two relegation battles. Only a cup final and a single league place separate Aston Villa from Sunderland, who will more than likely be plying their trade in a lower division alongside AVFC come August 2016.
The similarities don't end there. Sunderland were beaten by Liverpool in their last game of 2015 whilst Aston Villa also capped 2015 off with a loss to Norwich. That being said, both teams will be looking to start off a new year with a big win over their relegation rivals. Three teams will go down to the Football League and Aston Villa and Sunderland will look to start their 'great escape' on Saturday.
What to know about Villa
Aston Villa are in a hole.
Ever since the start of the this year Villa have struggled to score goals and win football matches. Both of which are pretty much key to stay the heck away from the relegation zone. Paul Lambert and Tim Sherwood lost their jobs because of Villa's funk, but two managers later - Villa still seem to be in the same position which hints at a higher problem within the organisation.
Aston Villa's form won't be the only thing holding them back; the team will be without the suspended duo of Jordan Ayew & Ashley Westwood, whilst Carlos Sanchez (hamstring) and Gabby Agbonlahor (back) miss out through injury. meaning the team will be without their starting forward and half of their midfield. Expect to see Gary Gardner and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy involved for the Villans at some point.
A 0-2 away loss to a struggle marked a turning point for Villa last season, can they find the same inner strength to emulate that?
What to know about Sunderland
Sunderland fans are all too familiar with one Christian Benteke who signed the Mackams off to the tune of a 0-1 loss to Liverpool last time out. Benteke along with Agbonlahor has been the hero in the last few repeats of this same encounter. Villa will of course, miss both in this match.
Aston Villa's tale of inconsistency lines up nicely with Sunderland's escape artist narrative. Seriously, these guys could have put Houdini out of business having spent three seasons at the bottom of the league only to escape each and every time.Sunderland have failed to beat Aston Villa in their last nine attempts, which in usual circumstances would make one feel a lot more comfortable to bet on the Villans. However Aston Villa are the only team worse than Sunderland at football right now.
SAFC will look to Yann M'vila and Jermaine Lens to win the midfield battle over a Aston Villa side that has lost three starting players over the past two games. Sunderland are perhaps worse off with injuries having dealt with the absence of Jack Rodwell and Sebastian Larsson whilst Sebastian Coates and John O'Shea also miss out.
BET365: Sunderland 6/4, Villa 11/5, Draw 9/4
Paddy Power: Sunderland 29/20, Villa 9/4, Draw 11/5
SkyBet: Sunderland 6/4, Villa 11/5, Draw 9/4
You might want to ring up Daniel Day-Lewis because there will not only be blood, but there will be goals. I won't be as bold as to predict the winning side, but there's no way this is scoreless with SO much to lose.
2-1 either way.