Remember when Aston Villa lost 4-0 at home to Manchester City in the FA Cup over the weekend? Well forget that. We're back to the Premier League, where Villa are unbeaten in their last three appearances. Things are going well and the thrashing over the weekend accompanied by nothing happening in the transfer window is simply a blip on the radar.
Okay, perhaps that's overly optimistic. But let's look at the scenarios here. As Aston Villa travel to play West Ham today, they are currently 10 points behind 17th. In 17th is Norwich, who play Tottenham today. Now, a win on the road against a quite-good West Ham team would be a tall order for Aston Villa, but it's doable. After all, it was a draw when the clubs met on Boxing Day. Win this and watch Norwich lose, and the gap is 7 points.
Then, on Saturday, we host Norwich. Norwich look rubbish this year, and even worse than Villa lately (ignoring, for the moment, that they beat us 2-0 in December). Win that and suddenly... four points from the Canaries. Sunderland and Newcastle don't have an easy couple of matches either. So this could be the moment where things become very interesting.
Or, Villa could lose the next two matches and confirm what we're all secretly thinking: this team is doomed.
Let's avoid that, please. At least give us some hope. Up the Villa!
Location: Boleyn Ground, London, England
Kick-off time: 7:45 PM GMT, 2:45 PM Eastern, 11:45 AM Pacific
Available TV: BT Sport 1 (UK)
Available streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra, BT Sport Live Streaming
Available radio: BBC Radio (UK), AVTV (subscription required), Westwood One Sports (US), TalkSport Radio World
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
Aston Villa squad
#AVFC team v #WHUFC: Bunn, Richards, Okore, Lescott, Cissokho, Bacuna, Gana, Veretout, Gil, Agbonlahor, Ayew. #WHUAVL— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) February 2, 2016
#AVFC subs v #WHUFC: Guzan, Clark, Sinclair, Richardson, Lyden, Grealish, Mason. #WHUAVL— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) February 2, 2016
West Ham squad
TEAMS: #WHUFC Adrian, Tomkins, Reid, Collins, Cresswell, Song, Kouyate, Antonio, Noble, Payet, Valencia #WHUAVL #COYI— West Ham United FC (@whufc_official) February 2, 2016
TEAMS: #WHUFC subs: Randolph, Obiang, O’Brien, Moses, Jelavic, Oxford, Cullen #WHUAVL #COYI— West Ham United FC (@whufc_official) February 2, 2016