This is by no means a shot at our compatriots over at 7500 to Holte. They are a fantastic blog and to my estimation good people. The fact remains, though, that we must win this match... and there is history.
If it were to play out according to the carefully crafted script in my head it would have ended differently. Many times (usually around the time of this fixture or it's reverse every year) I have thought about how wonderful it would be for Newcastle United to put Villa down to the Championship. They, for their part, have asserted (well, the guy who brought the banner has asserted) that the infamous banners displayed at Villa Park on the 24th of May, 2009 could have happened anywhere in the Premier League. I'm not entirely inclined to believe that but that's neither here nor there. It would have ended with a 90th minute plus heart breaker of our own construction (not a deflection) that finally put safety out of reach for Aston Villa. Finally. As it stands, however, their loss to Manchester United on the 19th of April put paid to those hopes.
Although it did not follow my script (probably others' as well, tbf), the match on this Saturday is every bit as huge. Newcastle United must keep on winning. Even then, it still may not be enough, but they can't let this last gasp run of form peter out. The fact that Villa are already down... the fact that they are on a club-record tying 11 match losing run that makes John Carver's own record-setting run last year look light by comparison... Newcastle's vaunted history of losing these types of matches to these types of clubs.... all of it packages together to make this single match as big as it could possibly be.
Rafael Benitez has had a tremendously positive impact on Newcastle United. Four matches unbeaten and 8 points from the same. We currently (although game in hand and all that) are outside the relegation zone. 17th place never felt so good... or so tenuous. It will require everything that Rafa has built to continue scratching our way toward safety. Aston Villa are bound to win sometime. Losing streaks don't last forever. For our Premier League survival's sake, it can't end on Saturday. If it does, it will likely setup the nightmare opposite of the script in my head. Villa will likely have put us down. Again.