After a gratuitous cancelling of their previous fixture due to tumultuous weather conditions, Aston Villa are rested and ready to match up against Sunderland.
The Villans are currently four points behind second-place Cardiff City, and it is the part of the season where points start becoming more important by the fixture. The Claret & Blue would do themselves a great service by giving their all against Sunderland and getting back to dominating ways.
In the way of injury news, Albert Adomah should be fit to be included for Villa. Aston Villa have not exactly looked like themselves with the absence of Adomah and Jack Grealish through injury. Adomah has netted 14 goals for Aston Villa this season, and has been a threat playing on the left-wing throughout. Villa manager Steve Bruce has stated that Grealish may not quite be ready to be involved, but we all know Jack and we all know he will be on the gaffers back to try and work himself into the squad. Alan Hutton and Axel Tuanzebe are still dealing with hampering injuries for Villa, which signals that Neil Taylor and Ahmed Elmohamady should feature once again as fullbacks for the Lions.
While Aston Villa are doing all they can for an automatic promotion spot, Sunderland are on the opposite end of the table. The tale of the Black Cats is not an enjoyable story by any means. Relegated from the Premier League last year, they now find themselves rock bottom in the Championship at 24th place on the table. Sunderland have claimed 28 points from 35 games, and have only won on 5 occasions this season. Going back to the start of last season, only Chesterfield (47) have managed to lose more league matches in the top four tiers of English football than Sunderland (43).
Sunderland also own a dreadful -24 goal differential. The only other teams with a worse differential are Burton Albion and Birmingham City. While the Black Cats are obviously not scoring in bushels, Irish midfielder Aiden McGeady leads all Sunderland players with six goals for the club this year. Sunderland lack a definitive ‘danger man’ of sorts, and the Aston Villa rearguard shouldn’t have too many surprises sprung on them in this fixture.
Sunderland’s leading goal scorer was previously Lewis Grabban until the striker decided to join Villa in the January transfer window. Grabban netted 12 times for Sunderland before making the loan switch, and their run of form has never steadied since Grabbans’ departure.
Aston Villa must be wary of complacency going up against a Sunderland team who are rock-bottom on the table. The travelling Villa supporters will no doubt be loud and proud at the Stadium Of Light, and nothing would excite them more than a big win chalk full of goals to keep pace with Cardiff City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH) // Follow us on Twitter (@claretandview)