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Defenders defending and players passing: Aston Villa v Sunderland

Right, we all know this, but Sunderland are bottom of the table and it might not be good enough if by the end of the day they are still bottom of the table. The only thing that will be good enough is if they are bottom and we picked up three points.

But the table lies doesn't it. No it doesn't. Okay, it hides the real truth. Sunderland have a new manager and on current form are on the same points as us. We're at home though and if you can't beat the team bottom of the table, regardless of circumstances, it raises concerns.

And don't let anyone tell you different. Sure, there are no easy games in the Premier League and you can't win it with kids, but there is for the good sides and you can.

An important match

So this is a big and important and match and I think we'll win because Sunderland are bottom of the table. I don't think they'll go down but they wont be picking up points from us today.

And we sort of know who the team will be too. Gabby, Weimann and Delph all came on in the draw with West Brom the other day so they'll all probably start today. And fingers crossed we'll see Lowton at right back with Bacuna in front of him.

Which leads me to the title of this post. We need defenders to defend today. What I mean by that is that we need to play with four at the back and sure, let them go up, as long as they are covered. And let them support the man in front, but as long the man in front knows his responsibilities too.

Last season when we went to that three at the back and pushed up, it didn't work and it hasn't worked this season either, so it has to stop and I think it will today. I also hope that we see less and less of these hit and hope balls.

I don't even want to call them long balls anymore because they are more hit and hope and I just don't like it. If you can't, with confidence, pass to one of your own players then there are bigger problems than formation and tactics.

You have to keep the ball to win matches, not hit it high and hope that it lands at the feet of one of your players. It doesn't work that way.

Statistics from the BBC

  • Aston Villa beat Paolo Di Canio's Sunderland 6-1 in the last meeting in April
  • Villa have dominated the home meetings between these clubs, winning 50 of the 81 fixtures (D16, L15)
  • Sunderland are without a win in their last four games against Villa (D2, L2)
  • The Black Cats have had a man sent off in each of their last three league trips to Villa Park
  • Aston Villa's clean sheet in their last home game against Cardiff was their first in 17 matches at Villa Park
  • The 2-0 win in that game was only Villa's 11th league victory at home in the last 44 attempts
  • Villa have only lost two of their last eight Premier League games (W3, D3, L2)
  • Villa have gained more points from losing positions (seven) than any other Premier League team this season
  • Christian Benteke broke the Villa record for goals in a single Premier League season when he took his tally to 18 with a hat-trick against Sunderland in April. He's without a goal in his last six Villa games - his longest barren spell for the club

The match

So, with what you already knew out of the way, it's almost time for the match. I've predicted above that we'll win and I think we will. I just can't see us folding today and as long as the manager sends out the team to play football the right way, then I can't see any other result.

There will be updates here too with team news as soon as we have it and a post, as long as we win, after the match. If we don't win, there is every chance it's going to be for obvious reasons that can easily be explained as more complicated than that, but I don't think so. So that post will wait until tomorrow, time for me to get my head around keeping the ball and making space so you can accept the ball.

But, your predictions please below and if you have any links to anything interesting please post them; we're all interested in things Aston Villa.