Aston Villa v Sunderland: Updates, live banter, Martin O'Neill and statistics

Well, cometh the hour cometh the man. In this case, men, but in just a few hours, Aston Villa play Sunderland in a match where anything other than three points will see us remain in seventh with eight games to go and what some have said is a must win game if we are to sustain the challenge for fourth place.

Last season, Martin O'Neill conceded we wouldn't get fourth place on April 12th, which is two and half weeks from now and between now and then this season we have tonight, Chelsea and Bolton. Will it be so predictable that Martin O'Neill concedes fourth place at about the same time? I think it might be as we have Everton on April 14th and we will know for sure then if we have a real chance or not of finishing fourth.

Statistics - made to make your life easier

There is a statistic doing the rounds, that we haven't lost in 2010 and it makes me chuckle. It makes me chuckle because actually we have, just not in the league. The reason is makes me chuckle, is the same people that use that statistic, about not losing in 2010 are the exact same ones that were using the statistic of us beating Reading as proof that Martin O'Neill can win in March.

It made me chuckle because the Reading match wasn't in the league. However it is irrelevant as we have beaten Wigan in the league and despite what some say - I think they will stay up. I think the three teams that will be relegated this season are the bottom three right now.

Martin O'Neill on Sunderland

Before you play another team, your manager has a responsibility to talk up the opposition. This includes the manager, players and sometimes the supporters. You'll never hear a bad word said from a manager about another manager or another player - this doesn't happen. Sometimes, you hear things from players after they are no longer playing, but it isn't often.

Martin O'Neill
Bent has scored a lot of goals this season. I think that's naturally a very good sign. He is a very fine player and in good form, which we will have to be very aware of. You would have to say he has had a really terrific season - he has the goals to prove it.

Nice words from Martin O'Neill on Darren Bent.

Martin O'Neill
Winning Premier League matches remains as hard as ever. The way we started the game against Wolves, I thought we were really terrific. I accept the fact the game lasts a wee bit longer than 20-25 minutes. Wolves got back into the game, got in front, which made it particularly difficult for us in the second half. But I thought we kept going. And my own view was that I thought on pressure alone we deserved the equaliser. But from that viewpoint, don't take anything away from Wolves. They played exceptionally well. It's only a week or two ago that they got beaten at home to Manchester United but missed about three or four great, great chances. The games in the Premier League are hard and that always remains the case. Winning them is difficult. But winning them we will have to try and do.

Battles are not easy. When you go man for man, fight for every ball and run every inch of the pinch for ninety plus minutes, it isn't going to be easy and we know that, however it is nice to have it confirmed.

Aston Villa Live

So, an important match. We will be updating here all day. You can watch the match here and we would recommend setting it up a few hours before the match rather than waiting five minutes before kick off.

Updates on Twitter and while there is no mention in this post about a certain subject that seems to be getting discussed quite a lot at the moment - I'm giving it an hour before someone brings it up.

Three points tonight please. No messing about, keep the ball, make space and no 50/50 passes. If the manager was inclined to maybe play King Carlos in the middle and put Luke Young at right back, that might be nice too although I suspect it might happen but only because he has had his hand forced.

Video of the Day

It won't let me embed the video of the day today, it was this one, so instead you are getting something else. {rokbox title=|Messi :: Aston Villa Blog Video of the Day| text=|Click here to watch.|size=|640 505| album=|demo|}{/rokbox}