Originally pin-pointed as a must-win match ahead of the last few fixtures, the situation remains the same, if not more difficult. Sunderland have surprised pundits with the momentum they have gained under Paolo di Canio, but if Villa win, Sunderland are pulled back right into the relegation mixer.
Paolo di Canio on Villa:
“It’s obvious it is an average season for them, I don’t know why or who is at fault. They’ve stayed near the bottom, and that’s an average season for a club with a fantastic history; even when you can have a financial problem, but I don’t think this is the case for them. With Benteke, Bent, Agbonlahor and others, they have many important players, but they struggle at the bottom, like us, but obviously they stay behind us. So it’s another [bad] season for them, but it’s not my problem, I have to think about my club.
“If we win on Monday, we stay up. I have told my players, Monday is a Champions League final. It’s probably not mathematical, but we would be very close. It doesn’t mean that now we have become a Champions League side, but victory at Villa would mean that with three games to go, we could finish in a good position. I went to St James’ Park without any sort of worry – you can’t imagine I would be worried at Villa Park, with all respect.”
Paul Lambert is less than convinced by the Di Canio show
“You can talk about the new manager syndrome or whatever, at the end of the day it’s the same group of players who were there before.”
Match Difficulty Grade
B+ Paul Lambert was right to play down the Sunderland comeback as anything can happen in football, but it’s likely to be a very different game to the 1-0 victory we recorded earlier in the season. Whatever you think of Paolo di Canio, he seems to have instilled a winning mentality at Sunderland.
Form is Temporary
Current Premier League form table (last six games) – Aston Villa – 8th / Sunderland – 11th
Aston Villa: Last five Premier League matches at home: W 2, D1, L 2
Sunderland: Last five Premier League matches away: W 1, L 4.
In the last five meetings at Villa Park, Villa have won once, drawn twice and lost twice.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Although Lambert was quick to mention ‘new manager syndrome’ the problem for Villa is that his appointment has been very effective and Sunderland have taken six points from their last three games, impressive after a run of almost ten games without a win. Their away record as shown above is remarkably poor, but this refers to the ‘old’ Sunderland, and while we have experienced a mini-revival of our own, we’ve only taken seven points from 21 at home in 2013. In terms of confidence levels, Villa might be shaken after their toothless display at Old Trafford.
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
Three points. Simple. It was easy to see the confidence in Villa’s performance against Fulham, but the problem was missed chances. Against Manchester United, it was disappointing, but no Premier League team would have won at Old Trafford with the title at stake. Remember how Villa won praise for their performances in ‘must-win’ games? We know Villa can play with confidence in such fixtures, so lets keep it up.
Why Villa are Totally 100% Going to Win
The last time we failed to score at home was at the beginning of March, and unlike Sunderland’s Danny Graham who has struggled to find his debut goal, we have plenty of goals in our attacking four. Villa fans would have loved to get the double over Martin O’Neill, but at the moment, we don’t really care who their manager is, we just want a double over Sunderland for the points. UTV.
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