Premier League
Aston VillaAston Villa2SunderlandSunderland2

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

By Jonathan JurejkoBBC Sport
Jeremain Lens
Jeremain Lens scored his first Sunderland goal since his £8m summer move from Dynamo Kiev

Sunderland are still searching for their first win of the Premier League season after earning a point through Jeremain Lens' second-half strike.

The Black Cats led when Yann M'Vila curled a superb 20-yard free-kick into the top corner.

Villa have been robbed - Sherwood

Villa hit back almost instantly when Lee Cattermole needlessly barged over Scott Sinclair, who calmly converted a low penalty before tapping in a second.

But Lens earned a draw for his side when he steered in from close range.

Villa dominated the final half-hour with skipper Micah Richards going closest to netting the home side's third goal, somehow diverting the ball wide from inside the six-yard box.

Sunderland's attacking forays were rare after Dutch winger Lens's equaliser, while Villa felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Spanish substitute Carles Gil - who was booked for diving - tumbled under a challenge from Younes Kaboul.

With West Brom earning their first win at Stoke, Sunderland dropped to the bottom of the Premier League table, while Villa moved up to 12th.

Reaction to this match and the rest of Saturday's action

Read how Villa and Sunderland shared the points

Sunderland's defence continues to leak

Sunderland's disappointing pre-game Premier League form - two defeats and a draw - was largely down to the generosity of their defence.

Advocaat pleased with point

The Black Cats had the worst defensive record in the top-flight after conceding eight goals in their opening three matches, with poor organisation and sloppy individual errors blighting their defeats by Leicester and Norwich.

Dick Advocaat's side tightened up against Swansea last weekend, but were the architects of their own downfall at Villa Park when Cattermole bundled over Sinclair just 137 seconds after Sunderland took the lead.

However, they defended resolutely after the break - led by experienced centre-backs John O'Shea and Younes Kaboul - to keep out Villa and earn their second successive draw.

Hope for Villa's long-suffering home fans

Villa registered just five Premier League wins at home last season - with only Sunderland and relegated Burnley faring worse.

They have won 17 of their 71 league games at Villa Park since December 2011, losing 35 times and averaging less than one point per match during that period.

But there were signs of encouragement for the home fans as Tim Sherwood's side showed plenty of attacking vibrancy against Sunderland.

French full-back Jordan Amavi particularly impressed with his marauding runs down the left flank, while Scott Sinclair's sharp movement and Rudy Gestede's imposing presence caused problems for the away defence.

However, the big worry for Villa - the second-lowest scorers last season and now without Christian Benteke - is where the goals will come from against better defences than Sunderland.

Villa v Sunderland
Villa left-back Jordan Amavi caused plenty of problems for the Sunderland defence - setting up Sinclair's second goal as one of his six crosses, while having the joint most touches of any Villa player (107). The threat posed by the France Under-21 international in attacking areas is shown by the comparison of his heatmap (left) with that of Sunderland left-back Patrick van Aanholt

Man of the match

Scott Sinclair
Scott Sinclair is taking on Villa's scoring burden, moving his tally to five goals in his last two matches against Sunderland and Notts County


Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood: "Anyone who watched that game knows that we should have won. We had 22 shots, the keeper has pulled off a 'worldy' save and we should have had a penalty. We have been robbed.

"It definitely should have been a penalty. Younes Kaboul pulls out but there's contact - it is a penalty. My team couldn't have done any more today."

Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat: "We had to work very hard to get one point - and I'm pleased with the point. We had no real problem in the beginning when we led 1-0 but then we gave an easy penalty away and that allowed Villa to control the first half. We had some problems with the movement of the Villa front players - they did very well."

Sunderland skipper John O'Shea: "There's a lot of pride in the dressing room, when you are 2-1 down at half-time in the Premier League and pick up a point you have to be satisfied. But there is some disappointment at how we let Villa back into the game so quickly.

"Villa might think they deserved to win because they were pressing near the end but I think the draw was a fair result."

What's next?

Most importantly for Sunderland - transfer deadline day. Black Cats boss Dick Advocaat has made no secret of his desire to bring in some reinforcements before the window closes on Tuesday.

His team return to action after the international break with a home match against Tottenham on 13 September.

Meanwhile, Villa boss Tim Sherwood - whose side go to Leicester in their next outing on the same day - has refused to rule out moves for West Brom defender Joleon Lescott and Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

The stats you need to know

  • Aston Villa have only kept one clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League games at Villa Park.
  • Only two teams have conceded more PL penalties than Sunderland (six) since the start of last season (Spurs eight, West Brom seven).
  • Jeremain Lens has two assists and one goal in four Premier League appearances.


Aston Villa

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Guzan
  • 21Hutton
  • 4Richards
  • 6ClarkBooked at 37mins
  • 23Amavi
  • 15Westwood
  • 24C Sánchez
  • 8Gueye
  • 7BacunaSubstituted forGilat 68'minutesBooked at 79mins
  • 39Gestede
  • 9Sinclair


  • 3Bennett
  • 12Cole
  • 17Veretout
  • 19J Ayew
  • 25Gil
  • 27Kozák
  • 31Bunn


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1PantilimonBooked at 90mins
  • 2Jones
  • 16O'Shea
  • 15Kaboul
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 21M'Vila
  • 6CattermoleSubstituted forToivonenat 45'minutes
  • 8Rodwell
  • 17LensSubstituted forLarssonat 77'minutes
  • 19GrahamSubstituted forFletcherat 45'minutes
  • 18Defoe


  • 7Larsson
  • 20Toivonen
  • 22Coates
  • 25Mannone
  • 26Fletcher
  • 41Watmore
  • 46Gooch
Robert Madley

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamSunderland
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aston Villa 2, Sunderland 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aston Villa 2, Sunderland 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jack Rodwell (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Ciaran Clark.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa).

  6. Post update

    Billy Jones (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Steven Fletcher (Sunderland).

  9. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa).

  10. Post update

    Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Booking

    Costel Pantilimon (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Micah Richards (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Ashley Westwood with a cross following a corner.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Yann M'Vila.

  14. Post update

    Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Steven Fletcher (Sunderland).

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ciaran Clark.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Rudy Gestede (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Alan Hutton with a cross.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Rudy Gestede.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Idrissa Gueye.