Match ends, Aston Villa 0, Sunderland 0.
- Fabian Delph sent off for Villa
- Only second clean sheet for Villa at home this season
- Villa extend unbeaten run against Black Cats to seven
Aston Villa held on to secure a 0-0 draw against Sunderland despite playing the majority of the second half with 10 men following Fabian Delph's dismissal.
Neither team shone in a turgid first half, with a Charles N'Zogbia strike the only shot on target.
Delph was sent off for a late lunge on Jordi Gomez and the match sparked into life following his red card.
A Ron Vlaar header tested Sunderland's Costel Pantilimon, while Gomez struck the post late on for the Black Cats.
Gomez's long-range effort in the dying minutes was the closest Sunderland came to breaking the deadlock, with the visitors failing to make the most of their superiority in numbers.
The Black Cats extended their unbeaten away record to five games and will be satisfied with a fourth successive clean sheet away from home.
But they will surely rue not finding a breakthrough against 10 men, especially given Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham are their next three league opponents.
For Villa, the lowest scorers in the league, it was again a familiar tale of promise without any punch, but they did hold firm when Delph became the third Villa player to be sent off this month.
Prior to the match, Black Cats boss Gus Poyet described the Christmas schedule of two games in three days as a "disgrace" and the majority of this game was a fine advert for those who share Poyet's contempt of the clustered festive fixture list.
It was perhaps no surprise that two inconsistent sides in the bottom half of the table, both attempting to recover from Boxing Day defeats, failed to sparkle until a sending off.
Delph received his red card for a 49th-minute lunge that caught Gomez on the ankle, but Martin Atkinson's punishment still came as a surprise.
Sunderland did not grab the initiative immediately but gradually monopolised possession and rocked Villa for a brief period.
A fine last-gasp tackle from Vlaar prevented the increasingly-threatening Connor Wickham from racing through on goal, while desperate defending on the line by Jores Okore kept out the striker's backheel moments later.
Ten-man Villa were not without their chances though and the introduction of Jack Grealish gave them invention in the final third.
The teenager went close with a curling effort and it was from his corner that Vlaar tested Pantilimon with a powerful header.
The match ended with Gomez going close while at the other end Leandro Bacuna forced Pantilimon into an reflex save and the otherwise quiet Christian Benteke headed into the side-netting from close range.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "I'm satisfied with a point under the circumstances. It's hard enough playing with 10 men any time but with two games in two days the lads were running on empty.
"All credit to the lads, we could have won it and had chances at the end."
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet: "We draw too many games. We lost a good opportunity to take the three points, especially after the sending off. It was a great opportunity to win it.
"We tried too hard, we went a little crazy, we lost the shape and we didn't do the right things - but we tried."
- 4VlaarBooked at 44mins
- 6ClarkSubstituted forOkoreat 61'minutes
- 16DelphBooked at 49mins
- 24C Sánchez
- 8CleverleySubstituted forGrealishat 68'minutes
- 28N'ZogbiaSubstituted forBacunaat 57'minutes
- 27VerginiSubstituted forBuckleyat 78'minutes
- 5BrownBooked at 89mins
- 4BridcuttSubstituted forCattermoleat 19'minutesBooked at 56mins
- 11JohnsonBooked at 73mins
- 7LarssonSubstituted forGiaccheriniat 57'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 14Gomez Garcia-Penche
- Martin Atkinson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 0, Sunderland 0.
Attempt saved. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Leandro Bacuna.
Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland).
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jordi Gómez.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Costel Pantilimon.
Attempt saved. Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Carlos Sánchez.
Attempt blocked. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Benteke.
Jordi Gómez (Sunderland) hits the right post with a left footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Emanuele Giaccherini.
Attempt blocked. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Andreas Weimann with a cross.
Offside, Sunderland. Lee Cattermole tries a through ball, but Adam Johnson is caught offside.
Foul by John O'Shea (Sunderland).
Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by William Buckley with a cross.
Aly Cissokho (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Steven Fletcher (Sunderland).
Offside, Sunderland. Emanuele Giaccherini tries a through ball, but Billy Jones is caught offside.
Substitution, Sunderland. William Buckley replaces Santiago Vergini.