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Sunderland v Aston Villa - Match preview
Published : 15 Dec 2009 11:39:36Rss feed
Sunderland entertain Aston Villa at the Stadium Of Light on Tuesday evening and the hosts will be looking to bring the visitors back down to earth following Saturday's excellent away-day win at Manchester United.
Martin O'Neill's outfit secured a shock 1-0 success at Old Trafford against Sir Alex Ferguson's injury-ravaged Red Devils side.
England star Gabriel Agbonlahor was the match-winner and Villa will once again be looking to score a victory on their travels.
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Steve Bruce will need to pick his team up after they suffered a demoralising late setback against basement boys Portsmouth.
In-form striker Darren Bent opened the scoring for the Black Cats before a leveller deep into stoppage-time from Younes Kaboul secured an unlikely point for the south coast side.
Sunderland have now picked up just one point from their last three games since beating Arsenal 1-0 on November 21 and their mini-slump has seen them slip down to tenth place in the Premier League table.
Villa on the other hand sit in a lofty fourth place after their triumph against the champions at the weekend and they have been aided by a run that has resulted in three wins and two draws in their last five league fixtures.
O'Neill is still without the injured trio of Wilfred Bouma (ankle), James Collins (groin) and Curtis Davies (dislocated shoulder) as they look to consolidate their top-four push while Bruce will be missing Craig Gordon (broken arm), Bolo Zenden (groin), Anton Ferdinand (ankle), Lee Cattermole (knee) and John Mensah (calf).
The two teams have already met this term, in the Carling Cup in October on Wearside when Villa won through to the next stage of the competition after a penalty shoot-out.