The biggest threat up top for the home side instead came via Gabriel Agbonlahor, whose lively performance proved the catalyst for the majority of their attacking prowess.
Despite Villa edging the stats, however, the bigger chances fell for Gus Poyet's Black Cats. After penalty appeals late in the first half for an alleged Ciaran Clark handball, Emanuele Giaccherini offered a miss of the season contender two yards from goal. Fabio Borini then headed onto the crossbar in the second half.
Despite a fairly pedestrian outing from both sides, Villa will take positives from their continued defensive development. Sunderland, meanwhile, now move clear of bottom spot once again after Crystal Palace were defeated by Norwich.
PRE-MATCH: Christian Benteke hasn't scored a goal since September 14th but continues to lead the line for the home side. Wes Brown starts for Sunderland after his red card at Stoke was overturned. Prince William is in attendance to cheer on his beloved Villans – and he’s even got a club scarf on.
29’ - CHANCE! El Ahmadi enters the box from the right and cuts back for Westwood, who does well to hold onto the ball under pressure and tee up Benteke to curl one over the bar. Had the striker's confidence been sky-high, you'd fancy him to finish that.
43’ - PENALTY SHOUT: A Sunderland free-kick from just inside the Villa half is headed across goal by Bardsley for Brown, whose full-stretch attempt at close range appears to have struck the arm of Clark. Nothing given.
44’ - POINT BLANK MISS! Giaccherini somehow half-volleys over with the goal at his mercy from two yards as Sunderland continue a fine end to a first half that was mostly ruled by the home side.
67’ - OFF THE CROSSBAR! Giaccherini with a lovely ball again from the left and the header from Borini had Guzan beaten - but not the woodwork.
Aston Villa keep back-to-back Premier League clean sheets at home for the first time since November-December 2012, when they kept three in a row.
Sunderland halt a run of five successive Premier League away defeats. However they have now failed to win in their last nine PL matches away from home.
Despite failing to find the net against the side he scored a hat-trick against in a 6-1 win last season, Christian Benteke remains Villa’s top goal scorer of the 2013/14 league campaign with four goals.
Just how crucial will Benteke’s dry run prove to be? After his seventh game without a goal, the Belgian striker extends his longest barren run since coming to England. Aston Villa’s defensive performances as of late have prevented them from truly being punished by their star man’s loss of form, but with the Midlands side just sat a few points behind the cluster of top sides from second to ninth who are divided by only four points themselves, one can only imagine where Villa would be in the table now if they had Benteke banging them in.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa): On both flanks and through the middle, Agbonlahor was the player most likely to convert or create a match-winning goal as a rare creative spark on the pitch.
Aston Villa: Guzan 7, Bacuna 6, Vlaar 8, Clark 7, Luna 7, Delph 6, Westwood 7, El Ahmadi 6, Agbonlahor 8, Benteke 5, Weimann 6. Subs: Albrighton 7, Tonev 6, Kozak N/A.
Sunderland: Mannone 8, Bardsley 8, Dossena 7, Brown 6, O'Shea 7, Ki 7, Gardner 7, Larsson 7, Borini 7, Giaccherini 6, Fletcher 5. Subs: Johnson 5, Celustka N/A, Colback 5.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Aston Villa
- Christian Benteke
- Gabriel Agbonlahor
- Ciaran Clark
- Emanuele Giaccherini