Expectations will be much higher when Aston Villa go to Reading, followed a week later by the visit of Queens Park Rangers, writes blogger Matthew Turvey.
Whilst every game yields the same amount of potential points, the next two promise to be season defining, starting tomorrow at the Madjeski Stadium.
Should Villa win both games, they will put some distance between the two teams that sit below them, though the Birmingham club will have to rely on the misfortune of other teams above them to get out of the drop zone.
Of the games that remain, Sunderland, Fulham, and the last game at Wigan seem the most likely possibilities in terms of getting points.
However, with that said, Villa can’t afford to rely on just winning those games - they need to take as many points as possible. Which is why, in a way, I’ve been reticent to accept certain results as 'expected.'
I know we failed to beat either Arsenal or Manchester City in the past two matches, but the dejected sense of acceptance from some fans does sadden me a little.
With that said, performances this season have been erratic to say the least, so perhaps the aforementioned fans merely see their expectations as consonant with how we have played.
After all, you don’t end up in the bottom three because you are schooling other clubs in a footballing masterclass.
Getting back to Villa’s next two matches, there is a need to get as many points as possible just to stay in contention for survival.
If results go the right way for Villa, and wins are secured, the Villans could be four points clear of Reading this weekend, and a potential 10 points ahead of the expensively-financed Rangers.
Another topic surfacing during Villa’s recent struggles is the financial viability of the club overall.
It's no secret that the club from B6 have suffered heavily in financial terms in recent years with the club’s league positioning being somewhat reflective of the cash haemorrhaging that has occurred.
Of course, cost saving has been a necessity due to the excessive spending during the Martin O’Neill era, with the club’s published accounts showing the stark realities of what can only be described as “splurge spending”.
Yes, Randy Lerner will ultimately carry the can, and the debt consequences, of Villa’s errant spending, but the club is suffering as a result.
Whilst retrospective analysis can’t put things right, one thing that does strike me as obvious is that had Lerner kept Steve Stride at the club, I doubt Villa would have been in the financial mess they are.
Sure, the club had three sixth placed finishes for what they were worth - though nothing was won during the period - but the boom and bust cycle leaves the Villans precariously close to relegation.
If, by some footballing miracle, Villa can climb out of the relegation zone, some of the issues will be forgotten.
Owner Randy Lerner’s cost cutting should, in theory at least, be finished with survival meaning the club can keep key players.
Should the club suffer the ignominy of relegation though, Villa will have a financial boost in a different manner as many players seek the exit door looking for another crack at the Premier League.
One doubts that players such as Charles N’Zogbia, Darren Bent, Stephen Ireland, and even Brad Guzan would be happy in the Championship.
However, I don’t want to meet the devil before he comes. What matters now is points rather than performances. Nobody will care how the points are won so long as they are won.
Of course, if Villa do drop points in the coming two games, they will be facing a mountainous task of staying in the league.
It won’t be impossible to survive, but it may well be a step too far for Paul Lambert’s young lions to cover if things do go wrong over the next two weeks.
You can follow Matthew Turvey’s regular opinions at his own site, Aston Villa Life at www.astonvillalife.com, via the site’s Twitter account @astonvillalife, or via his own Twitter account @MatthewSTurvey.