Phil Bardsley Sunderland
Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley celebrates his goal against Manchester City in the English Premier League, November 10. Reuters

Live coverage of Aston Villa v Sunderland here

Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley celebrates his goal against Manchester City in the English Premier League, November 10. Reuters
Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley celebrates his goal against Manchester City in the English Premier League, November 10. Reuters

Sunderland's season so far has been misery compounded one after the other with a sprinkle or two of gold dust, but not enough of a sprinkle.

Last weekend was all about misery yet again, when Sunderland went down 2-0 to Stoke City, with a red card to Wes Brown, for a tackle which did not even warrant a foul, let alone a sending off, just adding to the misfortune.

Gus Poyet's men currently find themselves at the bottom of the English Premier League table with just seven points from 12 matches, and they will somehow need to come away with a positive result on Saturday when they visit Aston Villa.

"The sooner we win a game the better for us and we have a great opportunity on Saturday," Poyet said. "It depends how you take it [the Stoke loss] -- as a step back because we didn't win, or we could realise that even with 10 men we were competitive and had a chance to take something from the game.

"We'll see. I think the next game is important, to see the reaction."

Aston Villa, in 12th on 15 points, the same as Swansea and West Brom who are above them, are on a three-match unbeaten streak, and did really well to come away with a point from the Hawthorns on Monday night, scoring two goals in the second half to pull off a come-from-behind 2-2 draw.

"The lads were excellent on Monday," Villa manager Paul Lambert said. "They deserved every bit of praise that came their way. The second half we might have won it. We were excellent after the break.

"We are right up with there in terms of points from losing positions this season. That speaks volumes for the players. In fact, that's why things have moved on here. The character is really strong. It's a close knit group.

"We keep them at it and will continue to do so. There's a good feeling here. It is totally different here now. Look at the games we have played this season. The points tally is so much better as is the goals against too. We are so far ahead, that's for sure.

"Now we will go and try to win on Saturday."

Team news: Villa welcome back Antonio Luna and Gary Gardner from injury, while Marc Albrighton is also available for selection after returning from a loan spell with Championship side Wigan.

Gabriel Agbonlahor, Fabian Delph and Andreas Weimann is expected to start for Villa on Saturday, after the trio changed the game in the second half after coming on from the bench.

"Everybody seems OK from the other night," Lambert said. "The lads weren't fit enough to start. If we played them on Monday and then they broke down after 20 minutes it would have defeated everything that we tried to do.

"If we put them only earlier we might have lost them. At the right time, at the right moment, it worked. But they just weren't fit enough to start."

Sunderland defender Carlos Cuellar will not be fit enough to take the field against his former side, while Poyet has doubts over Keiren Westwood, Andrea Dossena and Modibo Diakite.

Brown, though, will feature after Sunderland won their appeal against the red card handed out to him in the loss to Stoke.

Key men: Aston Villa: Christian Benteke has been off colour for a while now for Villa. Maybe a game against the bottom side is the kind of encounter he needs to find his scoring boots in front of goal.

Sunderland: Adam Johnson needs to step up for Sunderland with a few assists from the wide positions. Steven Fletcher is always bankable for a goal or two, given the right service.

Where to Watch Live

The game is scheduled for an 8 pm IST start with no live coverage in India. You can, however, catch all the action via live streaming by clicking HERE. To watch the match in the U.S., click HERE. Viewers in the Middle East and North Africa can click HERE.

Expected lineups: Aston Villa: Guzan; Bacuna, Baker, Vlaar, Luna; El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph; Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor.

Sunderland: Mannone; Celustka, Brown, O'Shea, Bardsley; Larsson, Colback, Ki, Cattermole, Johnson; Fletcher.

Prediction: 2-1 to Sunderland

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