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Sunderland vs. Aston Villa, open match thread

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Happy New Year! Here'a some crap.

Richard Heathcote

Welcome to 2014, everyone! One of the first things you do this year will be to watch Sunderland play Aston Villa, which means that all of your resolutions have been cancelled out. No need to get that gym membership after all! Villa could really do with a win here; if four points from what looked like three winnable games (whoops) against Crystal Palace, Swansea City and Sunderland was the minimum acceptable bar, this is the only way they're going to get them. Randy Lerner has given his public (well, as public as anything Randy Lerner says at least) support and it's hard to see him going anywhere anytime soon, but it's not difficult to see the fans turning on the manager in a way that would be pretty hard to undo quickly if Villa don't get out of Sunderland with a win or, at the very least, an encouraging performance. Winning ugly would be fine, but if you can't do that at least give the fans something entertaining.


Aston Villa: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Luna; Bacuna, Westwood, Delph, Weimann; Agbonlahor, Benteke.

Bench: El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Kozak, Bowery, Tonev, Steer, Donacien.

Sunderland: Mannone; Celustka, Diakite, Roberge, Bardsley; Ki Sung-Yeung, Cattermole, Colback; Giaccerini, Fletcher, Ji Dong-Won.

Bench: Dossena, Larsson, Johnson, Gardner, Altidore, Borini, Pickford.