Poyet Dismisses New Manager Bounce as Sherwood Predicts “Photo Finish” End to Season

Sunderland vs Aston Villa 2015

After two excellent wins against the Baggies it would be nice to think morale has been boosted in the Villa squad. As well as this, we have a surprisingly decent record at Sunderland. Football is a funny old game though, and we haven’t won an away game for quite some time…

[quote_center][Villa] are unbeaten in their last seven league meetings with Sunderland.[/quote_center]

Poyet on Villa

“It is always different when you change a manager because the players do something extra.

“It should not be like that, we all know that, but it is natural for human beings.

“They lost twice but they have come back to win two and for sure the confidence in the camp is different.

“On Saturday, though, it is 11 against 11 and we need to perform and we have to be better than them.”

John O’Shea on Villa

“We just have to try and win it. It’s a home game, so we want to win and we know they’ll be very similar. They will be thinking there’s a bit more pressure on us because we’re at home, and they might try to exploit that.

“They’re very good on the counter-attack, so they’ll be looking to cause us problems that way and that’s something we’ll have to look out for.

“They’ll be buoyed by the victories they had against West Bromwich Albion and the fact they have a new manager will also be a factor, so it won’t be easy for us.”

Sherwood on a relegation battle

“I think it’ll be a photo finish and I hope we’re not in it.

“We’re probably just coming around the corner but it’s probably the longest run-in in racing history.

“All we’re looking at is the next fence and that’s Sunderland. After that we hope we can stay in the running. There might be a few who fall along the way and we’re hoping that’s not us.”

Sherwood on Defoe

“If they are going to survive it’s going to be Jermain Defoe who keeps them in the Premier League, that’s why they forked out that sort of money for him.

“He didn’t have to go, he went for a lifestyle change to Canada but he still has that appetite to come back and play for Sunderland, in a relegation battle.

“Jermain can score goals on his own but he prefers people to slide the ball across the six-yard box for him to be in the right place at the right time, that’s what he’s done all of his career.”

Memory Match

23rd October 2010 Sunderland 1 Aston Villa 0

A 25th minute own goal from Richard Dunne separated the two sides in the 10/11 season, though this encounter was the last time Sunderland beat Villa at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland – Last five matches at home:  W 1, D 1, L 3 

Villa – Last five matches away: L 5 

One to Watch

Jermaine Defoe – brought in to score the goals to keep Sunderland up, the ex-Spurs man always seems to score against Villa



Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

As good as the double victories against the Baggies were, it’s important not to forget that there’s a long way to go in terms of avoiding relegation.

A second consecutive win would begin to make relegation seem unlikely, but draws seem to crop up when we play Sunderland.  In their Premier League history, they have drawn more often against Villa than against any other opponent…

Improvements were there for all to see in those two games but Sherwood’s last away outing continued the poor form of Villa on the road. We’ve scored just six goals in the last 21 away games and it’s been ten hours since our last away goal!

Add to this the fact we’ve lost our last six away games and there’s a risk we might see the nervousness that was occasionally on show at times during our Baggies matches.

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

In the last appetiser we wished for a little bit of much-needed good fortune and we were rewarded with that last minute penalty, although credit must be given to the team for continuing to create chances right until the final whistle.

There have been seven red cards in the last 12 Premier League meetings between Aston Villa and Sunderland so hopefully we don’t experience any more of the dismissals that became commonplace under Paul Lambert earlier in the season.

One of the best things about Sherwood’s arrival is how he has brought out some excellent performances from players who had been out of form under Lambert.

A personal milestone approaches for Gabby Agbonlahor, who was excellent in both Baggies clashes – there’s a good opportunity he will mark his 300th Premier League appearance with a goal – he’s scored in three of his last four Barclays Premier League matches against Sunderland!

Gabby Agbonlahor has scored in three of his last four league matches against Sunderland

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

One positive of Lambert’s reign was that he never actually lost to Sunderland. We usually do okay against them and forgetting the 6-1 game, we’ve won our last two trips to the Stadium of Light 1-0 – and both times it was a goal from Agbonlahor.

Unfortunately for Sunderland, who seem at least on paper to have a decent team, their form is atrocious. They’ve won two of their last 15 home games, failed to score in three of their last four home matches and have the worst home record in the league this season – they’ve only won two games at the Stadium of Light this season.

Consulting the (recent) history books rarely brings up positives for Villa but we are unbeaten in our last seven league meetings with Sunderland.

Sherwood has brought much-needed goals into the side which is exactly what Sunderland need as they’ve not scored in three of their last four matches at home in the league. Intriguingly, in the last six meetings between the two teams the home team has failed to score in five of those matches.

With Benteke set to be involved and with confidence high, lets build on our good record at Sunderland and keep the Sherwood revolution going.


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