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Aston Villa vs. Sunderland, lineups and open match thread

Aston Villa look to pick up three much needed points against the Premier League's current bottom-dwellers.

Michael Regan

I know what you're all thinking. Calling any game a game Villa should win, or a game Villa must win, or really any combination of the words "Villa" and "win" is just tempting fate. But I don't believe in fate, I don't believe in jinxes, and while I do believe in temptation my previously stated disbelief of the concept of fate should eliminate it from the list of things I think can be influenced by it. So, here goes: I think Aston Villa really, really need to win this game. Moreover, I think they will, because Sunderland is a much worse team. Their most dangerous scoring weapon has scored zero goals in ten games so far, their back line looks solid on paper but has allowed 24 goal through 12 games, and though I believe Gus Poyet is a very good manager that is going to accomplish some pretty impressive things by the time his career is done, I don't think he's quite so gifted as to be able to turn this thing back in the right direction for at least another couple of months.

But, as always, we shall see! The good news (for me at least) is that you've got to have one hell of an arm to hit me with an egg thrown all the way from Birmingham if it turns out I was wrong. Of course, should you manage to succeed in your aim, the velocity would almost certainly kill me. Are you really willing to take that chance?

Aston Villa Starting XI

Brad Guzan; Ron Vlaar, Ciaran Clark, Leandro Bacuna, Antonio Luna; Karim El Ahmadi, Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph; Andi Weimann, Gabby Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke

Aston Villa Bench

Jed Steer, Nathan Baker, Matthew Lowton, Marc Albrighton, Aleksandar Tonev, Yacouba Sylla, Libor Kozak

Sunderland Starting XI

Vito Mannone; Phil Bardsley, Andrea Dossena, Wes Brown, John O'Shea; Ki Sung-Yeung, Seb Larsson, Craig Gardner; Steven Fletcher, Emanuele Giaccherini, Fabio Borini

Sunderland Bench

Jordan Pickford, Ondrej Celustka, Valentin Roberge, Adam Johnson, Jack Colback, Lee Cattermole, Jozy Altidore