Last time Sunderland paid a visit to Villa Park, the Black Cats came out on the wrong end of a 6-1 scoreline. Is it possible that Aston Villa can humiliate the visitors in the same manner today? (10 am ET, watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
It’s highly unlikely that the Villa will put in six goals today. They’ve managed just 13 thus far this season and, after going four games without a goal, it was rather surprising that they scored two in each of their last two outings. At West Brom on Monday night, Villa needed a triple change to come back from 2-0 down, with Paul Lambert bringing in Gabby Agbonlahor, Andi Weimann and Fabian Delph. Unsurprisingly, those three start this match, while Yacouba Sylla, Libor Kozak and Aleksandar Tonev drop to the bench. Lambert’s also replaced Nathan Baker with the recently recovered Antonio Luna at left back.
The visitors are still hoping for some sort of miracle to pull them up from the bottom of the table. The appointment of Gus Poyet has yet to work those miracles, although they have managed two wins, a derby victory against Newcastle and a 1-0 win over Manchester City. The Black Cats have yet to notch more than a point on the road, but with Villa having such inconsistent home form, could today be their day?
In an attempt either to keep the Italian from leaving or to actually create more potency in the attack, Fabio Borini returns to the starting lineup. He’s joined by fellow Italian Andrea Dossena, while a man most Villa fans love to hate, Craig Gardner, also comes into the starting lineup. Jozy Altidore remains on the bench, where he’ll be crossing his fingers that he can make an impact as a substitute.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna, Vlaar, Clark, Luna, Delph, Westwood, El Ahmadi, Agbonlahor, Benteke, Weimann
Subs: Steer, Baker, Lowton, Albrighton, Sylla, Tonev, Kozak
Sunderland: Mannone, Bardsley, Dossena, Brown, O’Shea, Giaccherini, Larsson, Gardner, Ki, Borini, Fletcher
Subs: Pickford, Roberge, Celustka, Colback, Johnson, Cattermole, Altidore