It's been two full seasons and four different managers; we may not like Martin O'Neill (and be fully justified in feeling that way) but he's no longer figure worth paying attention to, as Aston Villa have their own business to be concerned with.
This is undoubtedly a game that some Aston Villa fans have marked on their calendar; Martin O'Neill still casts a heavy shadow over this club. He was the man in charge the last time Aston Villa was relevant, and so of course he is the cause of and/or solution to all of Villa's problems.
But of course, that's stupid. MON is very much a thing of the past, and the only thing that connects him to the present is a somewhat questionable link to Villa's current manager. Sunderland is faltering, which is somewhat amusing on a passing level, but Villa is in free-fall. That's not the way anyone will have planned it, bu it is what it is; a currently unpleasant time in the West Midlands.
And how will Villa overcome that unpleasantness? Well, a win would be a good start, but how will Villa manage even that? It;s a bare cupboard I'm afraid, and I don't expect much or anything from this side until they show themselves to be a factor. That's not a whole lot of fun, and it's certainly not especially positive, but it's reality. This is a bad, bad team. and until they show something different there's not a whole lot of reason to be optimistic.