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Premier League

  • 21 April 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Referee: A. Taylor
  • • Attendance: 32557
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Aston Villa - Sunderland Preview: Villans still need points to ensure Premier League safety

Alex McLeish's men enter a crucial period of the season, just six points above the relegation zone, with work still to be done if they are to avoid the drop to the Championship

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

ASTON VILLA

Given
Hutton, Collins, Clark, Lichaj
Agbonlahor, Ireland, Bannan, Gardner
Heskey, N'Zogbia

SUNDERLAND

Mignolet
Bardsley, Turner, Kilgallon, Bridge
Larsson, Gardner, Sessegnon, Richardson
Campbell, Bendtner


With a storm brewing for Alex McLeish regarding his immediate future with the second-city club, Aston Villa go into this game still looking over their shoulder at the Premier League relegation zone.

Stephen Warnock and Fabian Delph are still touch-and-go to start this game, but Ciaran Clark should be back in the starting XI.

For Sunderland, captain Lee Cattermole and John O'Shea are unlikely to start, which means that Wayne Bridge could make a return to the starting line-up.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Aston Villa have been on a dreadful run of late. They have won only twice in 13 games stretching back to the end of January.
  • This game marks the first return to Villa Park for visiting boss Martin O'Neill (pictured right) since he left his post as Villa manager in August 2010.
  • Villa currently find themselves six points clear of third-from-bottom Bolton - and follow this game up with a critical encounter against Wanderers.
  • Sunderland are without an away win in the Premier League since they beat Stoke City on February 4.
  • Stephane Sessegnon scored an 89th-minute equaliser in the sides' meeting in October, as Villa twice lost the lead in a 2-2 draw.
  • Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley scored the winner in last season's 1-0 win at Villa Park, and has previously played for the Villans whilst on-loan from Manchester United.
  • O'Neill's side have two wins and two draws in their last four games against Villa.

Players to watch

S. Given

Position: Goalkeeper

Games: 0

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The Irish keeper has been an example of consistency for the duration of his career and he is vital for Villa at this testing time. With confidence low and the side struggling to eke out results, the burden on the Irishman's shoulders grows as his side still have plenty of work to do to make sure this season doesn't crumble into disaster

N. Bendtner

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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The forward has frustrated the Sunderland fans much this season but he can play a big part in this one. Should Villa fail to click as a team the loanee could make the most of it and finish the season as the Black Cats' top scorer. He currently has seven to his name, only one behind Larsson and Sessegnon.

Editor's Prediction

With the bad run Villa are on and the cloud hanging over Villa park regarding owner Randy Lerner's vision for the future of the club, a win for Sunderland seems the liklely outcome. Martin O'Neill has been a revelation since his arrival on Weirside and this should translate into a win for the Black Cats

It will be a close match but Sunderland should come out on top and keep Villa fans nervous for another week.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Aston Villa

Sunderland

Wins
3
2
0
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Aston Villa FC AST
Aston Villa FC Aston Villa
Draw
Sunderland AFC SUN
Sunderland AFC Sunderland
40%
21%
39%

Top 3 Predictions

Aston Villa FC AST
1 - 1
Sunderland AFC SUN
Aston Villa FC AST
2 - 1
Sunderland AFC SUN
Aston Villa FC AST
1 - 2
Sunderland AFC SUN

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