Villa go into the game on the back of two disappointing results. Firstly their 1-1 draw at home to a Middlesborugh side still reeling from their FA Cup loss to Cardiff, and then a 2-0 defeat at fellow top 6 contenders Portsmouth. Villa had chances aplenty at Fratton Park, but an inspired performance from former keeper David James was enough to ensure three points for the home side.
Last time out for Sunderland they lost 1-0 at home to Chelsea thanks to a John Terry header.
The visitors will be looking to improve on a win-less away run which stretches back a whole season.
Creaig Gardner replaces a suspended Olof Mellberg for Villa and Dixon Etuhu is out for Sunderland.
Villa are a best priced 1/2 favourites with Sunderland at 11/2 with the draw very fanciable at 29/10.
My prediction: Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland
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