Poyet Expecting Villa to “Go For It” as Lambert Still Fearful of Relegation

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Aston Villa vs Sunderland 2014/15

[quote_center]There have been six red cards in the last 11 Barclays Premier League meetings between Aston Villa and Sunderland[/quote_center]

Mention this fixture and it’s difficult to think of anything but Lambert’s finest moment when we won 6-1 two seasons ago. Aside from that result though, we’ve struggled against Sunderland in recent home clashes…

Lambert on Sunderland

“History tells you that you’ve got to earn the right to stay in the league. Regardless of how big your name is or how big your club is, you have to earn the right to stay in the league.

“Everybody’s the same. You take out that top six big clubs and everybody fights like anything to stay in the league.

“Sunderland, for some reason, have been down there as well for the last few years. They say you need 40 points. We’ve got 20 – last year I think it took us until January time to get that.

“We’ve found a way that really suits us and there’ll be so many twists and turns throughout this year. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll be fine.”

Poyet on Villa

“Villa have plenty of youth in their side, lots of young legs and they’ll be going for it playing at home.

“We need to reorganise and go there and try and win on Sunday.”

Memory Match

5th January 2011 Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 1

An 80th minute goal from Phil Bardsley clinched the points for Sunderland after Heskey was sent off. The defeat left Villa in the relegation zone for the first time since 2002.

Villa – Last five matches at home: W 1, D 2, L 2

Sunderland– Last five matches away: W 2, D 2, L 1

Villa have won once in the last five meetings between the two teams at Villa Park.

One to Watch

Adam Johnson – the ex-Manchester City man has scored twice in his last two games and netted 30 seconds into the Hull match on Boxing Day.

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

Despite a definitive improvement in the defensive department Villa still seem to struggle when playing at home. We haven’t kept any clean sheets in the last seven league matches at Villa Park and only won one of the last six. Plenty of chances were missed against Swansea which makes it even more worrying that Sunderland have kept three clean sheets in a row away from home, considering our lack of cutting edge in the final third.

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

Regardless of possession stats it does seem that Villa still struggle to break some teams down. Hopefully against Sunderland we see a performance like the Leicester game, in which Villa really did embrace the role of the home team and dictate the pattern of the match.

Lambert showed he was willing to change the squad around against Swansea, so with Agbonlahor and Richardson unavailable it would be nice to see more from Grealish, who impressed during his appearance at the Liberty Stadium. Looking at the suspensions it’s clearly time Villa worked on their discipline, so let’s hope for a calmer approach – especially given the fact there have been six red cards in the last 11 Barclays Premier League meetings between Aston Villa and Sunderland.

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

While the loss at Swansea was disappointing, some of the statistics were pleasing. No team completed more passes than Villa on Friday (512 in total), which certainly reveals a change in claret and blue tactics, but more importantly we had several good chances against a decent Swansea side who thrashed us 4-1 last season.

Sunderland have failed to score in four of the last five Premier League games against Villa, so the history books suggest that it might not take too much in the way of goal-scoring for us to clinch all three points.

Hopefully, Lambert has been refreshing the squad’s memories with a DVD of that 6-1 victory in the 2012/13 season to show that when the team are at their attacking best, Villa can be deadly.


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