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Outswinging corner taken by James McClean from the left by-line, John O'Shea takes a shot. Save by Bradley Guzan.
Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by James McClean.
Alfred N'Diaye gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Fabian Delph. Joe Bennett takes the free kick.
Gabriel Agbonlahor finds the net with a goal from inside the box low into the middle of the goal. Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland.
David Vaughan joins the action as a substitute, replacing Craig Gardner.
Danny Graham goes off and Mikael Mandron comes on.
Andreas Weimann takes a shot. Simon Mignolet makes a comfortable save.
Joe Bennett crosses the ball, save by Simon Mignolet.
Craig Gardner challenges Fabian Delph unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Matthew Lowton. Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor on Danny Rose, free kick awarded. Darren Bent replaces Christian Benteke. Alfred N'Diaye takes the direct free kick.
Foul by Phil Bardsley on Christian Benteke, free kick awarded. Phil Bardsley is booked. Ashley Westwood takes the direct free kick.
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Ashley Westwood from the right by-line, Close range headed effort by Christian Benteke misses to the right of the goal.
Phil Bardsley concedes a free kick for a foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor. Bradley Guzan takes the free kick.
Christian Benteke grabs a goal from close in low into the middle of the goal. Aston Villa 5-1 Sunderland.Assist by Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Foul by Stephane Sessegnon on Yacouba Sylla, free kick awarded. Stephane Sessegnon shown a red card. Matthew Lowton takes the free kick.
Shot by Danny Rose. Yacouba Sylla gets a block in.
The assistant referee signals for offside against Joe Bennett. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
Andreas Weimann produces a drilled right-footed shot from 12 yards. Andreas Weimann takes a shot. Clearance made by Carlos Cuellar. Save by Simon Mignolet.
Danny Rose gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andreas Weimann. Danny Rose is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour. Matthew Lowton takes the free kick.
Unfair challenge on Christian Benteke by Alfred N'Diaye results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Joe Bennett.
Sebastian Larsson leaves the field to be replaced by James McClean.
Adam Johnson has an effort at goal from outside the area which goes wide left of the target.
Sebastian Larsson takes a inswinging corner to the near post.
The ball is crossed by Matthew Lowton, clearance made by Phil Bardsley. Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Westwood, Christian Benteke scores a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Aston Villa 4-1 Sunderland.Ashley Westwood provided the assist for the goal.
Yacouba Sylla produces a cross, clearance made by Carlos Cuellar.
The ball is delivered by Adam Johnson.
Christian Benteke gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Danny Rose. Free kick taken by Danny Rose.
Gabriel Agbonlahor takes a shot. Simon Mignolet makes a save. Christian Benteke grabs a headed goal from close range. Aston Villa 3-1 Sunderland.Assist by Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Foul by Yacouba Sylla on Danny Rose, free kick awarded. Sebastian Larsson takes the direct free kick.
Danny Rose sends in a cross, clearance made by Matthew Lowton.
Alfred N'Diaye gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Matthew Lowton. Joe Bennett crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel, save made by Simon Mignolet.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Nathan Baker on John O'Shea. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
Unfair challenge on Christian Benteke by Phil Bardsley results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Joe Bennett.
Nathan Baker concedes a free kick for a foul on Adam Johnson. Free kick crossed left-footed by Adam Johnson.
The ball is crossed by Sebastian Larsson. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Bradley Guzan by Danny Graham. Free kick taken by Bradley Guzan.
A cross is delivered by Yacouba Sylla, Simon Mignolet makes a comfortable save.
Alfred N'Diaye has an effort at goal. Bradley Guzan makes a comfortable save.
A goal is scored by Andreas Weimann from inside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland.Assist on the goal came from Matthew Lowton.
Yacouba Sylla takes a shot. Craig Gardner gets a block in. Andreas Weimann takes a shot. Save made by Simon Mignolet.
The ball is sent over by Matthew Lowton, save by Simon Mignolet.
Carlos Cuellar concedes a free kick for a foul on Christian Benteke. Carlos Cuellar goes into the book. Ashley Westwood restarts play with the free kick.
Danny Rose grabs a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Aston Villa 1-1 Sunderland.The assist for the goal came from Danny Graham.
Ron Vlaar fires in a goal from long range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Aston Villa 1-0 Sunderland.Assist on the goal came from Ashley Westwood.
Christian Benteke takes a shot. Carlos Cuellar gets a block in. Ashley Westwood takes a shot. Blocked by Carlos Cuellar. Gabriel Agbonlahor takes a shot. Blocked by John O'Shea.
The ball is sent over by Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Yacouba Sylla gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephane Sessegnon. Sebastian Larsson crosses the ball in from the free kick.
Adam Johnson delivers the ball.
Effort from deep inside the area by Gabriel Agbonlahor misses to the left of the goal.
Joe Bennett gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adam Johnson. Phil Bardsley restarts play with the free kick.
Matthew Lowton delivers the ball, blocked by Danny Rose. Outswinging corner taken by Ashley Westwood from the right by-line, clearance by John O'Shea.
Gabriel Agbonlahor gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Danny Rose. Free kick taken by Danny Rose.
Gabriel Agbonlahor crosses the ball, comfortable save by Simon Mignolet.
Alfred N'Diaye challenges Christian Benteke unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Joe Bennett, John O'Shea manages to make a clearance. Gabriel Agbonlahor challenges Carlos Cuellar unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
The ball is sent over by Adam Johnson.
Free kick awarded for a foul by John O'Shea on Gabriel Agbonlahor. Ashley Westwood crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, Danny Rose makes a clearance.
Alfred N'Diaye gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Fabian Delph. Joe Bennett restarts play with the free kick.
Fabian Delph fouled by Craig Gardner, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Fabian Delph.
Craig Gardner takes a shot. Blocked by Nathan Baker. Adam Johnson decides to take the corner short. A cross is delivered by Phil Bardsley, clearance made by Joe Bennett.
The referee blows for offside against Sebastian Larsson. Matthew Lowton takes the free kick.
Christian Benteke challenges Phil Bardsley unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Phil Bardsley.
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Ashley Westwood. Nathan Baker takes a shot. Save made by Simon Mignolet.
Christian Benteke is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Carlos Cuellar.
Lambert backs swift O'Neill return
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has blasted critics who have branded Martin O'Neill a dinosaur and backed his former manager to prove them wrong.
Lambert had expected to be up against his mentor when Villa take on Sunderland on Monday but last month the Black Cats sacked O'Neill and replaced him with flamboyant Italian Paolo Di Canio.
A storm surrounding Di Canio's political views greeted the appointment but a 3-0 victory over Newcastle in his second game turned the headlines in his favour.
Victory over Everton followed to lift Sunderland further clear of the relegation zone ahead of Monday's game, although a win for Villa would draw them level with the Black Cats and tighten the situation at the bottom once more.
O'Neill was a popular appointment at the Stadium of Light when he succeeded Steve Bruce last season following successful spells with Wycombe, Leicester, Celtic and Villa but Sunderland's struggles led to criticism that O'Neill's methods are outdated.
Lambert, who played under O'Neill at Celtic, said: "It's shocking. It's woeful. That's people who probably haven't been a manager calling him that.
"I worked for him for five years. He was a breath of fresh air at Celtic. He was absolutely brilliant. He took the club by the scruff of the neck, it was dead, on its knees and he got us to a European final and won us titles.
"That was tough because Rangers were a really good side in that era.
"He was brilliant. Him, (assistants) John (Robertson) and Steve (Walford) were brilliant.
"I have spoken to him since. I am pretty sure he will bounce back pretty quickly."
Meanwhile John O'Shea says keeping Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League this season would be classed as a success.
The Republic of Ireland defender spent almost 12 years at previous club Manchester United as Sir Alex Ferguson's men took English football by storm and made a major impact in Europe.
He arrived at the Stadium of Light during the summer of 2011 with an enviable collection of honours, including five Premier League titles, plus FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League winners' medals.
However, given the predicament in which the Black Cats found themselves just a few weeks ago, O'Shea insists top-flight survival this season would represent a genuine achievement for his current employers.
Asked how he has coped with fighting at the foot, rather than the top, of the table, the 31-year-old said: "Look, it's one of those things, that's just how things have turned out.
"But success for certain teams can be measured in different ways all the time.
"If we, Sunderland, survive in the league, it's obviously going to be a success because we were in a precarious position.
"We are still in a small bit of a precarious position, but thankfully we have the power in our own hands to survive that, and we have to continue that."
Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
Benteke-inspired Villa hit Black Cats for six
Christian Benteke scored a second-half hat-trick as Aston Villa roared to their biggest win since 2008 and zoomed five points clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone by beating Sunderland 6-1.
As they celebrated their success over a Sunderland outfit whose shuddering halt to their mini-revival included a red card for Stephane Sessegnon, the home fans wasted no time in taunting Paolo Di Canio, who, when he came here with Swindon earlier this season, indicated Villa were on their way down.
Instead, Di Canio's Sunderland outfit, like Villa and Newcastle, are on 37 points.
It is not a secure position by any means. But the team most obviously affected by this amazing result are FA Cup finalists Wigan, who have now been cut adrift, and have only four matches left to do something about it.
PFA Young Player of the Year nominee Benteke might have added the second-half gloss but the touchpaper to a thrilling evening had been lit by a pair of memorable strikes from two players who would have had the longest odds to score first.
If you are going to wait until the dregs of April to score your first goal of the season, it is best to make it worth the wait.
In that regard, both Ron Vlaar and Danny Rose fulfilled their obligations.
Both were different. Both were high class, in keeping with a thoroughly absorbing contest which, if lacking in finesse, was rip-roaring entertainment nonetheless.
Vlaar's effort was brutal.
After a couple of brave blocks inside the Sunderland penalty area, the ball shot back towards the halfway line, where Vlaar collected on the edge of the centre circle, the invitation to advance clear.The big Dutchman surged forward but was still fully 30 yards out when he let fly.
In theory, the flick off Carlos Cuellar should have made it easier to stop, as it took the shot away from the corner and further towards the middle of Simon Mignolet's goal.
The problem was Vlaar had got so much power into his effort Mignolet was a bystander anyway, the Villa team racing away to celebrate as one as it ripped into the net.
For a crowd who could not be faulted for their backing, but whose worries were never far from the surface, it was a moment of ecstasy.
Typically, it was followed almost immediately by the nausea of fear.
As Rose set off from his left back berth, there didn't seem much for Villa to worry about.
But after first exchanging passes with Craig Gardner, then Danny Graham, Rose powered on into the box, delivering a superb finish that brought the visitors level.
Di Canio, soaked by the constant rain, turned to the Villa fans he never got the better of as a player, and merely opened his arms in supreme satisfaction.
It summed up Villa's season.
Nineteen games they have gone now since their last Premier League clean sheet, which doesn't leave Paul Lambert having to look far for the reasons why his side have been in such a precarious position for so long.
Yet for all their faults, Lambert's youngsters have so much character.
Rather than nervously hang about, Matthew Lowton picked his moment to make an astute interception before firing forward at top speed.
Sunderland were caught with too many men forward, Lowton delivered a fine crossfield pass and an unmarked Andreas Weimann did the rest.
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan might have had a bit of luck when Graham was penalised for knocking a ball out of his hands when TV replays suggested he had lost control of it anyway before former Villa man Craig Gardner turned it home - but it was hard to begrudge them that slice of fortune, so industrious had they been.
And 10 minutes into the second period, Villa had a third as Mignolet was deceived by Gabriel Agbonlahor's piledriver and Benteke, onside, was all alone to nod the rebound into an empty net.
The Belgian has been the undoubted bright spot of a grim season for the Midlands giants.
And he had only just got started on his evening's work as he rose above Carlos Cueller to steer home a far post header before driving his third past a shellshocked Mignolet, his 22nd goal of an incredible campaign that is likely to make him the subject of intense transfer interest in the summer, whether Villa survive or not.
In between, Sessegnon was dismissed for a tackle that flattened Yacouba Sylla and left Di Canio raging.
The Italian's frustrations should have been reserved for his own side's abject surrender, their misery complete in the final minute as Agbonlahor raced round Mignolet to end the rout.
"Who will win the PL title this season - 2013/14?"
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