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Premier League

  • 5 January 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Referee: K. Friend
  • • Attendance: 32627
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Aston Villa - Sunderland Preview: Gabriel Agbonlahor misses out as Lee Cattermole returns from injury for Black Cats

Aston Villa - Sunderland Preview: Gabriel Agbonlahor misses out as Lee Cattermole returns from injury for Black Cats

Rock Bottom
Aston Villa could find their selves bottom of the Premier League Thursday morning should results go seriously against them.
If every team below Villa were to somehow win their midweek games and the Claret and Blue side of Birmingham should lose theirs then they would find their selves worryingly bottom of the Premier League.
The position is far from the usual European places the club usually challenge for and expect and hitting bottom of the league will be the lowest position the club has had for nearly two decades.
Improvement on the road
Sunderland will be looking to improve their away form, which currently stands at just three away wins in a staggering 39 games.
It is not a record the Black Cats will be proud on but on a better note they have only lost three of their last nine away games.
Even with their disastrous away form they find their selves in sixth position and a win could take them to just two pointsT behind title challengers Chelsea.
TEAM NEWS

Aston Villa

Manager Gerard Houllier is likely to be without England international Gabriel Agbonlahor after he picked up an ankle injury in Sunday's 3-3 draw with Chelsea.

Youngster Marc Albrighton is likely to return to the starting line-up as Ashley Young faces a late fitness test, after being sidelined with a knee injury.

Luke Young and Stephen Warnock are close to full fitness but the Villa boss remains without midfielder Fabian Delph.

Possible starting XI: Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Clark; Downing, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Albrighton; A Young; Heskey.

Sunderland

Captain Lee Cattermole and on-loan defender Nedum Onuoha have handed manager Steve Bruce a welcome boost by hoping to be included in the squad following injuries.

A back injury forced Cattermole to miss the 3-0 win against Blackburn, whilst Onuoha strives to shrug off a hamstring injury.

John Mensah remains doubtful with an ankle injury, whilst long-term absentees Titus Bramble, Michael Turner and Fraizer Campbell all miss out.

Possible starting XI: Gordon; El Mohamady, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Bardsley; Henderson, Meyler, Cattermole, Richardson; Bent, Welbeck.

Rock Bottom

Aston Villa could find themselves bottom of the Premier League on Thursday morning should results go seriously against them.

If every team below Villa were to somehow win their midweek games and the Claret and Blue side of Birmingham should lose theirs, they would find themselves rock bottom.

The league continues to intensify at the bottom of the table as they are just one point above the relegation zone, despite their dramatic draw with Chelsea at the weekend.

The position is far from the European places the club usually challenge for and expect, and hitting bottom of the league will be the lowest position the club has had for nearly two decades.

Improvement on the road

Sunderland will be looking to improve their away form, which currently stands at just three away wins in a staggering 39 games.

It is not a record the Black Cats will be proud of but on a better note they have only lost three of their last nine away games.

Even with their disastrous away form they find themselves in sixth position and a win could take them to just two points behind title challengers Chelsea.

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Players to watch

S. Downing

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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Stewart Downing has been linked with a move to opponents Sunderland this transfer window, but such is his importance to Villa, Houllier says his midfielder is not for sale. He has been a rare shining light this season and has added goals to his game too.

D. Welbeck

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan were expected to be the main strike force for the Black Cats this season, but Danny Welbeck has nudged his way to the front of the queue and is considered a regular starter now for Steve Bruce’s side. Whether he plays up top or out wide, Villa will need to look out for the man on loan from Manchester United.

Editor's Prediction

Aston Villa have been really poor this season but go into the game full of confidence after their last-gasp draw with Chelsea, so I can see them getting a narrow win against Sunderland.

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
48%
24%
28%

Top 3 Predictions

Aston Villa FC AST
2 - 1
Sunderland AFC SUN
Aston Villa FC AST
1 - 1
Sunderland AFC SUN
Aston Villa FC AST
2 - 0
Sunderland AFC SUN

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