Sunderland vs Aston Villa 15:00
A strong finish to an underwhelming performance from Sunderland saw them secure a much needed point after Jack Colback’s last minute equaliser saw the Black Cats grab a 2-2 draw away to Cardiff.
Jack Colback was the hero in front of goal for Sunderland last time out but it has been at the other end of the pitch that he has been performing particularly well this term. He’s attempted the second highest number of challenges in the Sunderland squad with 45, winning a solid 68.9% of them.
Gus Poyet scored plenty of goals during his career and he must find a way of making his Sunderland side similarly effective in front of goal should they wish to survive relegation come May. So far only two players in the Black Cats squad have shot accuracy rates of 60% or more (Altidore – 64.3%; Celustka – 60%) according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
John O’Shea continues to show the leadership which Sunderland fans will be hoping can inspire the rest of the squad to kick on in the new year as they attempt to fight their way out of the bottom three. The Irishman has completed by far the highest number of defensive contributions in the Sunderland squad this season, with 158 to his name so far.
Aston Villa were unable to capitalise on an early lead through a Gabriel Agbonglahor strike and eventually drew 1-1 with Swansea last time out.
Despite his inconsistent form this season, Christian Benteke continues to be one of the biggest goal threats for Villa. Even during a bad run of games, the imposing Belgian still possesses the power and technique to trouble defences, as can be seen by the fact that he still leads the Villa squad for total attempts on goal this campaign with 30 according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index.
Libor Kozak has certainly been trying to fill the void that Benteke’s struggling run has left though, the Czech international scoring some important goals this term. Not only are his 4 goals the joint highest of any Villa player along with Benteke, he also has the best overall shot accuracy rate in the squad, with 77.8% of his shots of his 9 attempts working the goalkeeper. Kozak is an industry best 16/5 with 888sport.com to score at any time against Sunderland.
Ashley Westwood has continued to grow as a player and as an influential member of the Villa dressing room this campaign, the understated midfielder amassing some impressive statistics. He leads the Villa squad for passes completed in the opponent’s half with 351.