It had looked like a successful weekend - purely in statistical terms, at least. Two points from two games, against Liverpool and Stoke, may have done nothing to cheer us increasingly gloomy fans, but with Wigan, QPR, Blackburn and Bolton all losing matches and failing to gain ground, it at least nudged us a little clearer of the chasing pack.
A five-point advantage of 18th-placed Blackburn became seven points. Slowly, excruciatingly slowly, Villa were edging to safety. But that was until Wednesday night, until Wigan stunned Manchester United by winning 1-0 at the DW Stadium, and QPR beat Swansea 3-0.
Suddenly, both Wigan and QPR are within touching distance of Villa. We're on 35 points, they're both on 31. Bolton, who we host in a couple of weeks, are on 29; Blackburn 28. Only Wolves, stranded on 22, are too far behind us. And while Wigan and QPR have played a game more than us (and indeed, so have Blackburn) and have only five to play while we have six, they both have things we do not.
They have recent victories, they have momentum, they have belief. And they have the necessary spirit to drive themselves out of trouble.
Wigan have won three of their last four - they've beaten Liverpool at Anfield, and Stoke at home; that's six points from the same two fixtures Villa scrabbled two from. Plus, that big win over United. And of course, they really should have got a point from their match at Chelsea.
QPR? Three wins from their last five. As well as Swansea, they beat Arsenal 2-1 at Loftus Road, and Liverpool, in that amazing 3-2 comeback win. Games they perhaps wouldn't have been expected to win, but they did.
It's a timely reminder, for Villa, of why the job is not yet done. While we're almost sleepwalking over the finish line, still seemingly intent on trying not to lose matches, the teams in and around us are trying to win games.
Against both Liverpool and Stoke, Villa led early on, and then withdrew onto the back foot. And eventually conceded. It's rare that we take the lead, and when we do, we cannot protect it, because Alex McLeish does not know how to; he defaults to sitting back, to backs-to-the-wall defending.
Hurriedly clearing the ball from danger, rather than constructively keeping possession and doing something productive with the ball - Stoke (Stoke!) had a larger share of the ball against us on Monday. Sitting back and hoping doesn't work. It never really has.
Villa have drawn 14 of 32 league matches this season. That's four more than any other team in the division. We've won just seven games - 22%. Barely one in five. Only Wolves have won less. Two other teams have also won seven - Blackburn and Wigan.
Villa's performances have been so far below expectation, it's frightening. Personally, from the moment McLeish was appointed, I hastily revised my predictions. From memory, I think I expected anywhere from 12th to 16th, but made the prediction with a lot of negativity, and anticipated nearer to 12th. Now we're 15th, and with a very real threat of the drop. Performances are sterile, results are poor, attendances are down (officially 30,100 against Stoke but rumours that the true figure was closer to 23,000).
And the revision of expectation from around the club has been little short of scandalous. From the pre-season rallying cry of going for 4th - sorry 5th, a slip of the finger on the keypad there - (from the now former board member General Krulak), to targeting a place in Europe (chief executive Paul Faulkner), to aiming to emulate last season's 9th-placed finish (McLeish). Now we're sweating on retaining our place in the Premier League, and I suppose if (for it is now an if, not a when) we manage that, we'll be expected to celebrate.
Forgive me if I don't join in.
Up next for Villa is Manchester United, at Old Trafford, on Sunday. McLeish has spoken this week of causing an upset, citing an occasion when his Motherwell team beat Rangers once. The likelihood is that United, stung by losing at Wigan, will unleash all sorts of frustration out on us. My belief is that we'll stay up this season, owing more to the chances of not enough of the teams below us garnering sufficient points to send us down.