Aston Villa v Sunderland

Last updated : 04 January 2011 By BBC Sport

Aston Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor should be fit to start against Sunderland despite being substituted with a sore groin at Chelsea on Sunday.Luke Young and Fabian Delph are still out with knee injuries, while Stephen Warnock is a doubt with a back problem.

Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole is expected to be absent for a month with a hamstring injury, so Titus Bramble will again captain the side.

Nedum Onouha also has a hamstring problem and is unlikely to feature.

Aston Villa

Doubtful: Agbonlahor (groin), Carew (fitness), Warnock (back)

Injured: Delph & L Young (both knee), Weimann (ankle)


Doubtful: Onuoha (hamstring)

Injured: Campbell & Turner (both knee), Carson (shoulder), Cattermole (hamstring), Mensah (ankle)


Following their epiphany at champions Chelsea, Aston Villa take their new-found spirit into the game with Sunderland.

We showed great mental energy at Chelsea. Some weeks ago we would not have been able to come back like that but we did it twice. I hope we can use that as a catalyst for a turning point

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier

The fighting qualities in evidence at Stamford Bridge on Sunday brought goals, confidence and mirth. The only greater gift for a Villa side three points off the bottom would be a desperately-needed win.

It was surely no coincidence that Villa's sudden improvement in the 3-3 draw with Chelsea came with all of their fit-again experienced players restored to the side. In particular, Emile Heskey, Brad Friedel and Richard Dunne were the three wise men leading by example.

Dunne was the difference in the reverse fixture against Sunderland last October, albeit not in the manner he would have wanted. His own goal gave Sunderland victory and they come to Villa Park seeking a first league double over the hosts for 28 years.

Steve Bruce's side continued their excellent home form with a comprehensive victory over Blackburn on New Year's Day. They have not travelled well, winning only once - but that was when they enjoyed their own star turn at the expense of Chelsea.



• Villa have only lost one of their last 12 home league games in this fixture - a 1-0 defeat in March 2008.

• Sunderland are looking to complete the league double over Villa for the first time since winning home and away against them in 1982-83.

Can Villa build on the draw at Chelsea?

Aston Villa

• Villa have only won one of their last eight league matches, taking five points out of a possible 24.

• Their defensive record is the worst in the division prior to the midweek round of fixtures, having conceded 37 goals. They have gone 10 matches without keeping a clean sheet and let in 24 goals in that period.

• Gerard Houllier's side have dropped more points from winning positions (14) than any other Premier League team, but they picked up their first point from a losing situation at Chelsea on Sunday.

• Villa received seven bookings against Chelsea, a tally that is unsurpassed in the Premier League this season.


• Sunderland have not lost a match this season in which they scored first (W7, D2), but they have not won a game after conceding the opening goal (D4, L5).

• They have kept 10 clean sheets this season - the equal-most in the division with Manchester City.

• The Black Cats have only won three of their 11 matches against bottom-half opposition.

• Steed Malbranque turns 31 the day after this match.


Aston Villa

Downing: 6 goals (5 league); Heskey: 6 goals (3 league)


Bent: 10 goals (8 league); Gyan: 7 goals (6 league)


Referee: Kevin Friend

Assistant referees: Darren Bond & Mike Mullarkey

Fourth official: Chris Foy


Aston Villa (D3-3 v Chelsea, a): Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Clark, A Young, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Downing, Heskey, Agbonlahor (Albrighton 85). Subs not used: Marshall, Pires, Delfouneso, Bannan, Lichaj, Herd.

Sunderland (W3-0 v Blackburn, h): Gordon; Elmohamady (Angeleri 85), Bramble, Ferdinand, Bardsley, Henderson, Richardson, Meyler, Malbranque, Bent (Gyan 81), Welbeck (Zenden 69). Subs not used: Mignolet, Da Silva, Riveros, Cook.

Source: BBC Sport

Source: BBC Sport