A six pointer and a game that Sunderland can have some confidence in coming away with some points. Villa have a dire away record spanning back a couple of seasons and have a very poor record against us that dates back to our Roker Park days. Both teams are struggling at the bottom of the Premiership and neither team can really afford to lose this one. Win this and we could start a revival, lose this one and I think, even this early in the season, we could be in deep trouble.
Mick McCarthy said: ?Since beating Middlesbrough, when we played so well, we have not been able to put the same team out because of injuries to people like Christian and Julio Arca. I haven?t cried about our injuries, but they have hurt us.?
Kevin Phillips said: ‘It’s going to be difficult, but it’s definitely a game we can win. We’ve got to make sure they don’t turn us over like they did to Middlesbrough. But with the way we’ve started they’ll be looking to our game to get three points against us. We’re well aware of that. These are the teams we need to be picking up points against.
Sunderland Team News:
Christian Bassila is back after missing five games with a hamstring injury and will be playing according to Mick McCarthy. Le Tallec could partner Elliott up front. Julio Arca is unlikely to be fit but may be able to return from a fractured toe the week after v Birmingham City. (from):(from): Alnwick, Davis, Wright, Nosworthy, D Collins, Hoyte, Breen, Stubbs, Caldwell, Lawrence, Bassila, Whitehead, Miller, Welsh, Elliott, Gray, Stead, Murphy, Le Tallac, Robinson.
Player to watch: Le Tallec
Looked in fine form for the French U21’s in the play offs v England and scored in the first leg.
Aston Villa Team News:
Phillips, McCann and Sorenson will all be playing against their former club. Delaney has picked up another injury, this time his groin, and will miss the match, which is a blow because in the 3 matches he has been able to play recently, he has been in fine form. Bouma is pushing for a return to the left back spot and O’Leary will be hoping that Hughes will be passed fit to replace Delaney. Mellberg is the teams only ever present this season. (from): Sorensen, Taylor, Hughes? Bouma? Mellberg, Ridgewell, Samuel, Milner, Bakke, McCann, Hendrie, Davis, De La Cruz, Jumper Jumper, Barry, Phillips, Angel, Baros, Moore.
Player to watch: Kevin Phillips
How we could do with Super Kev now. He has said that he would still be with us if we had stayed in the Premiership and is very unsure, if he scores, how to celebrate. Best not score then Kev!
Match Facts & Stats
Sunderland go into the game on a five game losing streak, what worries me is every time a team is having a bad run, Villa help them break it!
Sunderland are 20th with 5 points.
Best Case: 18th.
Worst case: Remaining 20th.
Current Form League: 17th
Last six games: W D L L L L
Home Form League: 19th with 0 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses.
Villa go into the game having lost three games in a row for the first time in five years. We’ve only one two matches this season and our away record is diabolical having only won 1 game in 8 on our travels(against Small Heath).
Villa are 17th with 9 points.
Best case: 15th.
Worst case: 19th (depending on goal difference + result of Birmingham City)
Current Form League: 18th
Last six games: L L W L L L
Away Form League: 16th, 1 win, 1 draw, 5 losses.
Last Season: Not applicable.
Premiership record: Sunderland 3 wins, Villa 2, Draws 5
Record at Sunderland:Sunderland 3 wins, Villa 0, Draws 2
Chris Foy, 4 matches, 1 red, 12 yellows.
Lawrenson has predicted 2-1 to Sunderland saying on the BBC site: ‘This is a basement battle. It’ll be tight but I’m going to go for Sunderland and any defeat will exacerbate problems for Villa who just can’t seem to get their defence, midfield and attack working at the same time. Sunderland had a good spell recently which was stopped and will be looking at the game to push them back forward again.’
I’ll settle for a 1-0 home win.
26/11/05 BIRMINGHAM CITY
03/12/05 (Tottenham Hotspurs)