Villa welcome Norwich today in what Rémi Garde has confirmed as a must-win game as the hosts aim to bridge the gap. WhoScored.com preview the game, highlighting one particular player who could have a big influence for the hosts.
The home side are unbeaten in their last six matches at Villa Park against Norwich, with the most recent home encounter ending in an emphatic 4-1 win.
It's the sort of result needed to inspire confidence ahead of what is sure to be a tough battle against the drop.
There is further encouragement for Villa though.
The Canaries are the only Barclays Premier League team yet to keep a clean sheet away from home this season, conceding three goals in each of their last three matches on the road.
With seven defeats in their last eight away matches in the top-flight, the Canaries have really struggled on their travels.
Conversely Villa's form in the league at home has picked up since Garde's appointment, now unbeaten in three in B6.
Extending that run will be crucial this weekend, but the manager knows that anything short of three points would be a real disappointment.
The fact that they will be without top scorer Jordan Ayew is a blow then, so Villa will need to look for goals from elsewhere and Carles Gil may have a key role to play.
The Spaniard would have hoped to have more than two league goals to his name this season but both strikes have been ones to remember, curling in a beautiful effort against Leicester earlier in the season before a stunning acrobatic volley at Sunderland.
Garde will hope that the fact that Norwich will be without key players in midfield will open up space in front of defence for Gil and co. to exploit.
Like Ayew for Villa, Norwich mainstay Alex Tettey is suspended for today's game while Graham Dorrans will miss out through injury.
It's Tettey's absence that could leave Neil's men exposed to the creativity of the likes of Gil and Jordan Veretout though, with the Norwegian averaging more interceptions per game (2) than any team-mate.
Given the Spaniard's ability to pick a pass in tight spaces, Gil may well be key to success.
A pass success rate of 88.8% is the best of any Villa player, with that figure the second best of all players to feature in attacking positions this season to compatriot Juan Mata (89.1%).
As a result Gil has earned statistical strengths of 'passing' and 'holding on to the ball' from WhoScored.com.
With the hosts outperforming their opponents in terms of possession (49.8% to 46.5%) and pass accuracy (78.4% to 75.7%) this season, they'll need to use the ball wisely, particularly in the final third.
Gil is certainly a player who can do just that and, if afforded the space to pull the strings, Villa fans should expect to see the best of the 23-year old.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings. You can follow all the scores, statistics, live player and team ratings with the new free-to-download WhoScored iOS app.