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Premier League

  • 29 April 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Referee: L. Probert
  • • Attendance: 37428

Aston Villa - Sunderland Preview: Black Cats look to keep up good form under Di Canio

The Wearsiders are looking to avoid defeat at Villa Park for the fourth season in a row while Paul Lambert's side must improve at home to ensure Premier League survival



Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett
El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph, N'Zogbia
Agbonlahor, Benteke


Bardsley, O'Shea, Cueller, Rose
Larsson, Gardner, N'Diaye, Johnson

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert may opt to stick with the same team that lost to Manchester United last time out. Joe Bennett (ankle) picked up an injury during the defeat at Old Trafford but should be fit to face the Black Cats, if not Ciaran Clark could fill in at left-back.

Karim El Ahmadi could come into the team after a decent performance against the Red Devils, expect either Charles N'Zogbia or Andreas Weimann to make way if he does with Fabian Delph and Ashley Westwood continuing in the centre of midfield.

Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio welcomes back the duo of Phil Bardsley and Craig Gardner for the trip to Villa Park. Bardsley has recovered from an ankle knock which kept him out of the win against Everton last week and he should replace Jack Colback at right-back.

Gardner, meanwhile, has returned from a two-game suspension after picking up his 10th booking of the season at Chelsea three weeks ago. Di Canio will still be without long-term absentees Lee Cattermole and Wes Brown (both knee) as well as Steven Fletcher (ankle).

  • Aston Villa have the second worst defence in the Premier League this season, conceding 63 goals, only Reading (65) have conceded more.
  • Paul Lambert's side have taken seven points out of a possible 21 at Villa Park in 2013.
  • Christian Benteke (pictured right) has scored 19 goals for Villa in all competitions this season, including four in his last six Premier League games.
  • Sunderland haven't been beaten at Villa Park since the 2008-09 season when goals from John Carew and Ashley Young won the game for the Villans.
  • The Black Cats have been revitalised under Paolo Di Canio, taking six points from their last three games after going nine games previously without a win.

Players to watch

C. Benteke

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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Aston Villa need wins, to get wins they need goals. The Belgian has proven he's deadly in front of goal this season and if he gets a chance against the Black Cats he will take it. The 22-year-old is also crucial in link-up play using his strong physique to bring the Villans' midfielders into play. If Sunderland allow him to control the game, Paul Lambert's side have an excellent chance of getting a positive result on Monday night.

S. Sessègnon

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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The Benin international has been pivotal in Sunderland's resurgence under Paolo Di Canio. His goals against Newcastle United and Everton were crucial and could well keep the Black Cats in the Premier League. He's very good in dropping into space between the midfield and defence and his link-up play is the lifeblood of Sunderland's attacking threat. If Villa stop him they'll go a long way to getting a result in the game.

Editor's Prediction

Aston Villa need a win here, if they don't it could be catastrophic in terms of their survival in the Premier League given Wigan's game in hand. They were outplayed against Manchester United but they didn't seem to be wasting much energy against the Champions, they know this is the game they may define their season. Sunderland will be brimming with confidence and will look to take advantage of any nerves Villa show, which should see them get the win at Villa Park.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Aston Villa



Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Aston Villa FC AST
Aston Villa FC Aston Villa
Sunderland AFC SUN
Sunderland AFC Sunderland

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