Premier League
Sunderland3Aston Villa1

Sunderland 3-1 Aston Villa

Patrick van Aanholt
Dutchman Van Aanholt joined Sunderland from Chelsea in 2014

Sunderland boosted their Premier League survival hopes as they ended a run of five straight defeats with a win over bottom side Aston Villa.

The hosts took the lead against the run of play when Patrick van Aanholt's low 20-yard shot deflected wickedly off Micah Richards and into the net.

A brilliant acrobatic volley from Carles Gil levelled after the break, before Jermain Defoe's low strike.

Defoe added a late third, leaving Villa with no wins in 18 league matches.

How Sunderland beat Aston Villa

The biggest match of the season?

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce described the match as the "biggest of the season" and his players looked to be affected by nerves as they let Aston Villa dominate early on.

The Black Cats went into the game seven points adrift of safety, and you could see why as they continually gifted the visitors possession.

Only Vito Mannone's low save from Jordan Veretout kept things level until, against the run of play, Van Aanholt's shot deflected off Richards to leave goalkeeper Brad Guzan wrong-footed.

The hosts knew only a win would do and, after Gil's stunning equaliser, Defoe stepped forward to give the Black Cats new hope and move them to within four points of safety.

Defoe the difference

Defoe has now scored eight Premier League goals against Aston Villa in his career but there can have been few as important as these two.

The Sunderland striker was on the periphery of things for the large part but, when given the opportunity, he showed his ruthlessness in front of goal.

The former England man had four shots in total. He hit the target with three of them, scored twice, and had a late goal disallowed for offside.

How Aston Villa could do with such clinical finishing.

Have Villa any hope?

Aston Villa heat map
Aston Villa's heat map, playing from left to right, shows how little threat they had as an attacking force with very little action inside Sunderland's penalty area

There are few - if any - signs of encouragement for Aston Villa, who look doomed to life in the Championship next season.

While there are still 54 points to play for, a club record 18 league matches without a win is hardly the form to suggest they are capable of any 'great escape'.

They produced some nice football at times but seemed short of confidence in attack.

Aside from a brilliant equaliser, the closest Villa came to scoring was Veretout's first-half effort as they finished with just three shots on target.

Having scored only 16 league goals this season - the lowest total in the top flight - Villa remain 11 points from safety.

Man of the match - Jermain Defoe

Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe's two second-half goals take his tally to seven goals in 17 appearances in all competitions

What they said

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Sunderland couldn't lose - Allardyce

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce: "I was very pleased with everyone holding their nerve, fans included. When Villa scored we could have gone under. But we kept it tight at the back.

"You need anxiety to play football but if it goes too far into fear you can lose your nerve. When you're confident, things come naturally. But when you want to take an extra touch or an extra second to pass, with that fear, you give the ball away. The only way to dismiss that fear is to win games.

"Thank God for Jermain Defoe and his finishing qualities. He turned the game back in our favour."

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde: "I'm going to try [to sign players]. In life and football you have to believe - if you don't you have no chance. But it's more and more difficult.

"But every season in every league, a side can keep losing and suddenly win four, five or six in a row. But for that probably we will need to bring in one, two or three new players.

"Today I didn't see a side who didn't give everything they could. When you concede so many goals it's difficult to win games. You cannot be positive when you lose. I'm not here to lose - I'm here to try to make the team win."

The stats you need to know

  • Villa have taken eight points from their opening 20 games - only two Premier League sides have claimed fewer points (Sunderland had six in 2005-06 and Derby had seven in 2007-08)
  • Villa have gone 10 games without a Premier League clean sheet away from home and have kept just one clean sheet in their past 19 overall
  • Patrick van Aanholt has scored two goals in his past seven Premier League appearances, after failing to score in his first 42
  • Carles Gil scored the 500th goal of the 2015-16 Premier League season
  • Defoe scored more than once in a single Premier League game for the first time since 1 December 2012
  • Aston Villa's Premier League winless run now stands at 19 games (D5 L14) - the joint fourth worst run in the history of the competition

What next?

Sunderland have a trip to Arsenal in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, before playing at Swansea in the Premier League on 13 January. Aston Villa travel to League Two Wycombe in the FA Cup on Saturday before a home league match against Crystal Palace on 12 January.

Line-ups

Sunderland

  • 25Mannone
  • 2Jones
  • 16O'Shea
  • 5BrownBooked at 26mins
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 6CattermoleBooked at 90mins
  • 21M'Vila
  • 41WatmoreSubstituted forGrahamat 56'minutes
  • 11JohnsonSubstituted forCoatesat 89'minutes
  • 9BoriniBooked at 33minsSubstituted forToivonenat 80'minutes
  • 18Defoe

Substitutes

  • 1Pantilimon
  • 17Lens
  • 19Graham
  • 20Toivonen
  • 22Coates
  • 24Yedlin
  • 26Fletcher

Aston Villa

  • 1Guzan
  • 21HuttonBooked at 43minsSubstituted forKozákat 76'minutes
  • 4Richards
  • 16Lescott
  • 43Cissokho
  • 7Bacuna
  • 8Gueye
  • 17Veretout
  • 25GilBooked at 87mins
  • 39GestedeBooked at 90mins
  • 40GrealishSubstituted forTraoréat 57'minutesBooked at 69minsSubstituted forSinclairat 89'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Okore
  • 6Clark
  • 9Sinclair
  • 18Richardson
  • 20Traoré
  • 27Kozák
  • 31Bunn
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
41,535

Match Stats

Home TeamSunderlandAway TeamAston Villa
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home13
Away8
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home3
Away3
Fouls
Home8
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Sunderland 3, Aston Villa 1.

Booking

Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Sunderland 3, Aston Villa 1.

Booking

Lee Cattermole (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.

Offside, Sunderland. Lee Cattermole tries a through ball, but Jermain Defoe is caught offside.

Foul by Jordan Veretout (Aston Villa).

Ola Toivonen (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Sunderland 3, Aston Villa 1. Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Ola Toivonen.

Attempt missed. Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Libor Kozák.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Scott Sinclair replaces Adama Traoré because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. Sebastián Coates replaces Adam Johnson.

Offside, Aston Villa. Jordan Veretout tries a through ball, but Libor Kozák is caught offside.

Booking

Carles Gil (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Joleon Lescott (Aston Villa).

Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt saved. Danny Graham (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Billy Jones with a headed pass.

Attempt blocked. Yann M'Vila (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Johnson with a cross.

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Leandro Bacuna.

Foul by Libor Kozák (Aston Villa).

Yann M'Vila (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Aston Villa. Rudy Gestede tries a through ball, but Libor Kozák is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. Ola Toivonen replaces Fabio Borini.

Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Libor Kozák replaces Alan Hutton because of an injury.

Delay in match Alan Hutton (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by John O'Shea (Sunderland).

Goal!

Goal! Sunderland 2, Aston Villa 1. Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Adam Johnson.

Booking

Adama Traoré (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Adama Traoré (Aston Villa).

Yann M'Vila (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. John O'Shea (Sunderland) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Johnson with a cross.

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Joleon Lescott.

Goal!

Goal! Sunderland 1, Aston Villa 1. Carles Gil (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Adama Traoré with a cross.

Attempt missed. Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Yann M'Vila.

Attempt missed. Carles Gil (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Rudy Gestede.

Brad Guzan (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jermain Defoe (Sunderland).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal20133434181642
2Leicester20117237251240
3Man City20123539211839
4Tottenham1998233151835
5Man Utd209652417733
6West Ham208843023732
7Crystal Palace199462316731
8Liverpool208662224-230
9Watford208572522329
10Stoke208572121029
11Everton196853528726
12West Brom207582025-526
13Southampton206682624224
14Norwich206592332-923
15Bournemouth205692234-1221
16Chelsea195592329-620
17Swansea204791726-919
18Newcastle2045111935-1617
19Sunderland2043132239-1715
20Aston Villa2015141637-218
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