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Asamoah Gyan produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the goal.
Boudewijn Zenden replaces Ahmed Elmohamady. Jordan Henderson decides to take the corner short. Jordan Henderson decides to take the corner short.
Centre by James Collins.
James Collins takes a shot. Blocked by Titus Bramble.
Nedum Onuoha challenges Marc Albrighton unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Stephen Warnock from left wing, clearance by Phillip Bardsley.
Stephen Warnock is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jordan Henderson by Stephen Warnock. Free kick crossed by Jordan Henderson, clearance made by Emile Heskey.
Marc Albrighton produces a cross, save by Simon Mignolet.
James Collins delivers the ball.
John Mensah comes on in place of Steed Malbranque. Unfair challenge on Asamoah Gyan by Steve Sidwell results in a free kick. Phillip Bardsley restarts play with the free kick.
Stewart Downing sends in a cross, Emile Heskey takes a shot. Michael Turner gets a block in. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young from the left by-line.
Marc Albrighton sends in a cross, Titus Bramble makes a clearance.
Centre by Habib Beye.
Habib Beye delivers the ball, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Emile Heskey misses to the left of the goal.
Effort from outside the penalty box by Phillip Bardsley goes wide right of the target.
Emile Heskey concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Turner. Titus Bramble restarts play with the free kick.
Emile Heskey is booked. Marc Albrighton takes a shot. Simon Mignolet makes a save. Outswinging corner taken by Ashley Young from the right by-line, Darren Bent makes a clearance. Corner taken by Ashley Young, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Titus Bramble by Emile Heskey. Ahmed Elmohamady takes the direct free kick. Free kick awarded for a foul by Emile Heskey on Lee Cattermole. Phillip Bardsley takes the direct free kick.
Marc Albrighton takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
Marc Albrighton takes a shot. Simon Mignolet makes a save.
Richard Dunne challenges Asamoah Gyan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed by Jordan Henderson, Stephen Warnock makes a clearance.
Stewart Downing produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the goal.
Nigel Reo-Coker challenges Steed Malbranque unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Phillip Bardsley.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Phillip Bardsley by Emile Heskey. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.
The referee books Phillip Bardsley for unsporting behaviour. Asamoah Gyan comes on in place of Danny Welbeck. Corner from the right by-line taken by Ashley Young, Steve Sidwell takes a shot. Clearance by Jordan Henderson. Ahmed Elmohamady crosses the ball. Phillip Bardsley concedes a free kick for a foul on Nigel Reo-Coker. Brad Friedel restarts play with the free kick.
The ball is delivered by Stephen Warnock, clearance made by Phillip Bardsley.
Ahmed Elmohamady takes a shot from a long way out which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
Close range shot by Ashley Young goes wide of the left-hand post.
Foul by Steed Malbranque on Nigel Reo-Coker, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Stephen Warnock.
Centre by Stewart Downing, blocked by Michael Turner. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young played to the near post, save made by Simon Mignolet.
Nigel Reo-Coker fouled by Steed Malbranque, the ref awards a free kick. Ashley Young restarts play with the free kick.
(Aston Villa) makes a substitution, with Marc Albrighton coming on for Stephen Ireland.
The ball is sent over by Steed Malbranque.
Steve Sidwell gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lee Cattermole. Direct free kick taken by Titus Bramble.
Darren Bent takes a shot. Blocked by Richard Dunne. Jordan Henderson takes the outswinging corner, Nedum Onuoha has a header from inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
Steed Malbranque takes a shot.
Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Ashley Young gets a block in.
Steed Malbranque fouled by Richard Dunne, the ref awards a free kick. Jordan Henderson takes the direct free kick.
Ashley Young takes a shot. Save by Simon Mignolet.
Foul by Jordan Henderson on Steve Sidwell, free kick awarded. Stewart Downing restarts play with the free kick. Corner from the left by-line taken by Ashley Young, clearance by Michael Turner.
Unfair challenge on Richard Dunne by Danny Welbeck results in a free kick. Stephen Warnock restarts play with the free kick.
Outswinging corner taken by Stewart Downing from the left by-line, clearance made by Titus Bramble.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Richard Dunne by Steed Malbranque. Richard Dunne takes the free kick.
Corner taken short by Stewart Downing.
The assistant referee signals for offside against Darren Bent. Richard Dunne takes the free kick.
Ahmed Elmohamady delivers the ball.
The official flags Emile Heskey offside. Michael Turner takes the indirect free kick.
Danny Welbeck challenges Habib Beye unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by James Collins.
Ahmed Elmohamady produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses wide left of the target.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Ahmed Elmohamady on Stephen Warnock. Ashley Young takes the free kick.
Steve Sidwell replaces Stiliyan Petrov.
Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young, Simon Mignolet makes a save.
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Nigel Reo-Coker from the right by-line, save by Simon Mignolet.
Corner taken left-footed by Nigel Reo-Coker from the right by-line, save by Simon Mignolet.
Foul by Jordan Henderson on Stephen Warnock, free kick awarded. James Collins restarts play with the free kick.
Unfair challenge on Titus Bramble by Emile Heskey results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.
Phillip Bardsley produces a cross, Ahmed Elmohamady takes a shot. Brad Friedel makes a save.
Centre by Phillip Bardsley, Ahmed Elmohamady takes a shot. Brad Friedel makes a save.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Richard Dunne on Darren Bent. Jordan Henderson restarts play with the free kick.
Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Brad Friedel makes a save. Corner taken by Jordan Henderson from the right by-line played to the near post, Headed effort from inside the area by Danny Welbeck misses to the right of the goal.
Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Brad Friedel makes a save. Corner taken left-footed by Jordan Henderson from the right by-line to the near post, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Danny Welbeck misses to the right of the target.
Steed Malbranque crosses the ball. Own goal by Richard Dunne. Sunderland 1-0 Aston Villa.Assist on the goal came from Steed Malbranque.
Steed Malbranque crosses the ball, save by Habib Beye.
The ball is swung over by Jordan Henderson, James Collins manages to make a clearance.
Stephen Warnock crosses the ball.
Corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Titus Bramble.
Darren Bent is caught offside. Brad Friedel restarts play with the free kick.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Darren Bent. Brad Friedel takes the free kick.
Darren Bent is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Brad Friedel takes the free kick.
Ahmed Elmohamady takes a shot. Blocked by Stephen Warnock.
Ahmed Elmohamady takes a shot. Stephen Warnock gets a block in.
Lee Cattermole challenges Ashley Young unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Ashley Young.
Steed Malbranque takes a shot. Richard Dunne gets a block in.
Shot by Stewart Downing from inside the box hits the post.
Centre by Jordan Henderson, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Steed Malbranque misses to the right of the goal.
Nigel Reo-Coker concedes a free kick for a foul on Steed Malbranque. Free kick crossed by Jordan Henderson, Stiliyan Petrov makes a clearance.
Nigel Reo-Coker challenges Steed Malbranque unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Jordan Henderson from right wing, clearance made by Stephen Warnock.
The match has kicked off.
The half-time whistle blows.
The second half has started.
The referee ends the match.
Bruce happy to ease Gyan in gently
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce will resist the temptation to pitch his #23million strike-force into Barclays Premier League battle - for now.
The Black Cats invested in excess of #13million during the summer to add the firepower provided by Ghana international Asamoah Gyan to the proven class of Darren Bent, who scored 25 goals last season.
Bent and Gyan are yet to start a league game in harness and with the pair having contributed nine of the club's 10 goals to date this season - the other was a Stephen Carr own goal - there is a growing clamour for Bruce to unleash the full power of his armoury.
However, the manager is happy with the way his side has been playing in recent weeks with the England international at the pinnacle of a 4-5-1 formation, and is unlikely to tinker with that as he heads into the home clash with Aston Villa.
Asked if he is tempted to change system and play both men from the start, he said: "There will be a time when we do it, of course. But the team is playing very, very well and the team comes above anything.
"It is quite rare now in the Premier League, for instance, to see any team playing with two.
"We are playing with two out-and-out strikers because Danny Welbeck is a striker, but he is playing towards the left.
"It is very difficult. I have always played 4-4-2, I have always been one who has enjoyed playing 4-4-2.
"But I do believe that you do need decent possession of the ball in the big games now and who of the big teams does that anymore?
"Even Manchester United, when they play the big games, play 4-3-3 or 4-5-1, if you like; Chelsea do; Tottenham did on Wednesday night until they had somebody sent off. It's becoming a trait, isn't it?"
Gyan has started just one game for the club - the 2-1 Carling Cup third-round defeat by West Ham - but has two goals to his name and Bruce is making no apologies for easing his big-money signing into the English game.
He said: "I had no hesitation in paying the money for him. What it has enabled me to do, though, is let him have a little insight into England.
"To be fair, his first game, he thought, 'Dear, oh dear'. It's the intensity - for instance, at Blackburn the other night. It's the intensity and the way teams play. Nobody plays like that in France.
"He hasn't seen it before. He has probably seen it on TV, but when you are up there and see it... It has enabled me to let him come to the club and quietly let him settle in. Believe me, he will have a big impact when we unleash him."
Villa manager Gerard Houllier is "quite happy" for winger Ashley Young to delay talks over a new contract until next summer.
The Frenchman is conscious of Young "needing to know about the ambition of the club" before deciding on his future.
Young had intimated earlier this month that he was ready to commit his future to Villa, while Houllier was confident a contract would be signed "sooner rather than later".
But the player announced he wanted to concentrate on his football and any talks over a potential new deal would not happen until the end of the campaign.
The England international will then have only 12 months remaining of the four-year deal he signed in 2008.
Houllier, whose side visit Sunderland on Saturday, said: "I am quite happy with what Ashley has said. He loves the fans here, he enjoys his football and, since I've come here, he very much enjoys the way he is progressing.
"I am quite happy with what he has said, that he wants to concentrate on his football and talk about it (his contract) at the end of the season.
"At the end of the day he is not in the same situation as Wayne Rooney was because he re-signed a contract two years ago so it is a bit different.
"I am happy. He looks happy. He is fine. He enjoys his football and you know when you are not happy, you don't improve.
"All I can see is he is a major part of our team but also a major part of our atmosphere and is lively and jovial. We like that, the way he behaves."
Villa will be boosted by the return of striker Emile Heskey and winger Marc Albrighton after a back injury and illness ruled them out of last weekend's goalless draw with Chelsea.
Defender Richard Dunne has recovered from the ankle injury suffered early in the game against the Blues.
Black Cats get lucky with own goal
Richard Dunne's own goal handed Sunderland a first Barclays Premier League victory in six attempts as Aston Villa were made to pay for missed chances in a 1-0 defeat.
Dunne turned Steed Malbranque's 25th-minute cross past goalkeeper Brad Friedel to ensure the points remained on Wearside and end the home side's run of five successive league draws.
But Villa would have left the north-east, where they lost 6-0 to Newcastle on their last visit, with something to show for their efforts had striker Emile Heskey not passed up a glorious second-half chance.
Stewart Downing had earlier hit the woodwork and substitute Marc Albrighton forced a good save from keeper Simon Mignolet as the visitors, who had won on their last three visits to the Stadium of Light, staged a late fightback.
However, the Black Cats' resilience, with Titus Bramble once again a rock at the back, provided the foundation for just a second league victory of the campaign in front of a crowd of 41,506.
Sunderland's over-reliance on Darren Bent's goals has become a theme for manager Steve Bruce in recent weeks, and it is not difficult to see why.
Of the 10 goals they had managed before the game, Bent had contributed seven and record signing Asamoah Gyan two, with Stephen Carr's own goal making up the total.
Bruce has challenged the rest of his team to help out on that front, and when they got their noses in front, it was, for once, not Bent who did the damage.
It will have mattered little to the Black Cats that the decisive touch on Malbranque's 25th-minute cross came from Villa defender Dunne, who in the process put own goals level with Gyan as the club's second top scorer.
Up until that point, there had been little between the sides - indeed, the visitors might themselves had been in front had Downing's third minute shot not come back off the foot of the post.
Nigel Reo-Coker had also seen a strong penalty appeal waved away by referee Mark Halsey after he had gone down under the close attentions of Lee Cattermole and Bramble, and Nedum Onuoha's well-timed 16th-minute challenge prevented Stephen Ireland from reaching Heskey's dangerous cross in front of goal.
But once Dunne had inadvertently broken the deadlock, the impetus was very much with the home side, and they might have increased their lead within two minutes.
Ahmed Elmohamady found space down the right and squared for Danny Welbeck, whose first-time shot was expertly palmed away by goalkeeper Brad Friedel.
Elmohamady himself whistled a right-foot effort just wide three minutes before the break after being set up by Bent, and although Villa finished the half with a flurry, Mignolet was rarely troubled.
The Belgian should really have been called into action three minutes after the restart when Heskey turned Michael Turner on halfway and fed the ball into Ireland's run.
However, the midfielder checked inside as he reached the penalty area and the covering Bramble did just enough to dispossess him.
Mignolet was called upon two minutes later after Ashley Young collected Downing's pass and forced a solid save, although as the game became more stretched, the Black Cats were finding space at the other end too.
But Villa were starting to make their presence felt and they went close to an equaliser three times within as many minutes.
First Heskey was dispossessed by the covering Bramble in front of goal, although the former England strike was guilty of a glaring miss seconds later when he completely missed his kick after Downing's cross evaded Mignolet.
The Sunderland keeper then had to claw substitute Steve Sidwell's 63rd-minute header off the line with the home defence struggling to clear their lines.
Mignolet was in action again with 19 minutes remaining to beat away Albrighton's shot, and Dunne hacked a volley across the face of goal seconds later with Villa dominating.
But despite a late flurry, the home side held out to claim all three points with Dunne denying Bent a late strike with a well-timed tackle.
"Who will win the PL title this season - 2013/14?"
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