Aston Villa v Sunderland - as it happened

Christian Benteke scores a hat-trick as Aston Villa thrash Sunderland 6-1 to move five points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

29 April 2013 Last updated at 22:36

Get involved

To get involved contact us in any of the following ways

As it happened

  1. 2230: 

    So while Aston Villa fans savour an incredible victory and Sunderland fans desperately search for some positives, I'm going to sign off. Thanks for your contributions tonight and please join me on Tuesday evening for coverage of the Champions League tie between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, plus the Championship game between Millwall and Crystal Palace. Until then... good night.

  2. 2227: 
    Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland

    Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio: "It is a very bad performance, it's not acceptable. But, it's happened and we have to make sure this humiliation makes us understand that the job is not done. Two wins in a row is not enough to stay up.

    "There was a difference between us and Aston Villa in terms of commitment, desire and dedication. We will work harder in the next couple of weeks to get the points in order to stay up.

    "Aston Villa looked tonight like Sunderland did in the last two games, there was a fire, ferocity in their intention. There was a big difference between us and them in terms of desire."

  3. 2224: 

    While we wait for Paolo Di Canio's post-match interview, let me point you in the direction of a cracking read on the BBC Sport website. It's an article by sports editor David Bond, who asks if the evolution of the beautiful game has been for better or worse?

  4. 2221: 
    Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland

    Sunderland fans might be forgiven for not wanting to play many more matches on a Monday night - the Black Cats haven't won any of their last 17 Premier League games on a Monday, a run stretching back to April 2002 when they beat Leicester 2-1. Sunderland's next game? At home to Stoke next Monday!


    Will Moores: "I'd love Benteke at Spurs, he'd thrive off all the service he'd get."

    Akinpelu Kayode: "You look at Wigan's run-in and you know that barring a miracle, they are doomed."

  6. 2217: 
    Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland

    And here's more from Lambert: "The goal difference has swung back again, I have to give them unbelievable credit for that. I'm really proud of them.

    "They have been playing like that for months, our form has been very good. They way we have been playing has been encouraging, I never had any trepidation."

  7. 2216: 
    Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland

    Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "It was a fantastic atmosphere, the crowd have been brilliant since I've been here. I'm delighted for them because they come in their thousands to watch us. It's great credit to the players and staff, that was a massive performance and a big win for us.

    "I thought Christian Benteke getting man of the match was always on the cards but I thought Matty Lowton was fantastic. Brad Guzan has been brilliant all season too, he sets himself high standards."

  8. 2211: 

    That victory lifts Villa up to 16th on 37 points, above Newcastle on goal difference and five points clear of Wigan. Sunderland are also on 37 points. Wigan, who have a game in hand, visit West Brom and Arsenal before the end of the season. They also have home games against Swansea and, on the final day of the season, Aston Villa. Massive.


    James Blackwell: "Bigger club like Arsenal? Where is your European Cup?"

    Scott Wilcox: "I can see Wigan winning their remaining games and either Newcastle or Sunderland to drop."

    James Blackwell: "Benteke, Lowton and Westwood were all outstanding signings. Next season we could really push on."

  10. 2205: 
    Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland

    Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar: "An unbelievable night. It is a long time since this happened so it's really great.

    "We scored two very important goals right after half-time. The fans really deserve this because they had to wait a long time.

    "We all know what situation we are, we need points. We got three today and also scored a lot of goals which could be important."

  11. 2203: 
    Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland

    Gabriel Agbonlahor's goal means he is now Aston Villa's leading scorer in the Premier League with 61 - ahead of Dwight Yorke (60), Dion Dublin (48), Juan Pablo Angel (44) and Gareth Barry (41).

  12. 2200: 
    Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland
    Christian Benteke

    Christian Benteke will rightly take most of the plaudits tonight, but I thought Yacouba Sylla was superb in midfield. He set the tone with his superb tackling and he completely dominated Alfred N'Diaye and Craig Gardner.

  13. 2158: 
    Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland

    I wonder how Wigan fans are feeling tonight - is the hope seeping away? Newcastle fans have had better nights too.


    Addie: "Benteke should join a bigger club like Arsenal. I am sorry to say this, but Wigan are going down."

    Scott Kelly: "This is a wake up call for Paolo Di Canio. Welcome to the stresses and strains of Premier League management."

    Michael Price: "Hey, Ash Grumpyfish [2149]: Not ALL North East fans are feeling six this weekend. #darlo #northernleaguechampions."

  15. 2155:  
    Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Villa ParkAston Villa 6-1 Sunderland

    "Just about the perfect night for Aston Villa. Three points and a massive boost to their goal difference. Sunderland and Newcastle right in trouble - but Wigan Athletic have the biggest concerns of all after that."

  16. 2153: 
    FULL-TIME- Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland

    That's it, all over and Villa Park celebrates a famous victory which takes them ever nearer to Premier League survival.

  17. 2152: 
    Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland

    Paolo Di Canio looks like a bulldog chewing a wasp on the touchline. If I was a Sunderland player, I'd walk home rather than go back into the dressing room to face him tonight.


    Ash Grumpyfish: "Teams from the North East must be feeling really six this weekend."

  19. 2149: 
    INJURY TIME- Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland

    As four minutes of added time are held up by the fourth official, Aston Villa fans taunt Paolo Di Canio - 'politely' asking him what the score is.

  20. 2146: 
    GOAL- Aston Villa 6-1 Sunderland - Gabriel Agbonlahor (88 mins)

    David Vaughan is currently looking for a hole in the Villa Park pitch to swallow him up as he plays a terrible backpass which splits his own defence and Gabriel Agbonlahor latches on to it, rounds the keeper and makes it six for Aston Villa. What a night for the Villans.

  21. 2145: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Aston Villa 5-1 Sunderland

    Sunderland make a change, with the disappointing Danny Graham being replaced by young French forward Mikael Mandron. Sixty seconds later, Craig Gardner's miserable evening is complete when he is hooked, jeered off and replaced by David Vaughan.

  22. 2143: 
    CLOSE!- Aston Villa 5-1 Sunderland

    Villa are hungry for more as Darren Bent lays the ball off to Andreas Weimann, who fires in a shot which is well saved by Simon Mignolet.

  23. 2142: 
    Aston Villa 5-1 Sunderland
    Christian Benteke

    Christian Benteke has been sensational tonight, his 18th league goal of the season setting a new Premier League record for the club. We've got seven minutes left as Villa stroke the ball about with real confidence.

  24. 2140: 
    FA Youth Cup final first leg- Norwich 1-0 Chelsea

    BBC Sport's Chris Osborne at Carrow Road: "Carrow Road is on its feet for Cameron McGeehan who has just held his nerve to score an injury-time penalty and hand Norwich City a 1-0 win over Chelsea. They will cherish that goal in the return leg at Stamford Bridge in two weeks' time."

  25. 2136: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Aston Villa 5-1 Sunderland

    That fifth goal is bad news for Newcastle fans because it means Villa have drawn level on goal difference with the Magpies. They've made up 10 goals in one weekend, which is staggering. The Magpies remain above Villa on goals scored only, who bring on Darren Bent to replace Christian Benteke.

    Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Villa Park

    "Villa over the hills and far away from Sunderland now. Villa Park ecstatic - what an outstanding signing Christian Benteke has proved to be by Paul Lambert. Goal difference will become an increasingly important factor in this closing weeks."

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    "It's gone straight through the keeper and he's got to do better at the near post. Now you have to say Villa are favourites to stay up."

  28. 2130: 
    GOAL- Aston Villa 5-1 Sunderland - Christian Benteke (72 mins)

    The boy from Belgium keeps on getting better and better. Christian Benteke will be taking home the match ball now after netting his third - a composed, angled finish after he is played in by a fortuitous deflection off Carlos Cuellar.

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Is it a red card? Initially, I thought he was unlucky. Now I've seen the replay I think it's very unlucky, he's just stood on his toe. It's probably a yellow card. He's just got there a fraction late, catching Sylla on the front of the foot with his studs."

  30. 2128: 
    RED CARD- Aston Villa 4-1 Sunderland - Sessegnon (70 mins)

    Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon is shown a red card for a late lunge on Yacouba Sylla. Paolo Di Canio is incensed - it's going to be a long final 20 minutes for the visitors.

  31. 2126: 
    CLOSE!- Aston Villa 4-1 Sunderland

    Aston Villa should be 5-1 up as Christian Benteke mis-hits an angled shot and picks out Andres Weimann, who is first denied by Simon Mignolet and then by Carlos Cuellar on the line. Sunderland rocking.

  32. 2123: 
    Aston Villa 4-1 Sunderland
    Christian Benteke scores for Aston Villa

    The Holte End is absolutely rocking now. They believe they are staying up - but will Christian Benteke still be at the club next season? How much is he worth?


    Jack Loudon: "If Villa stay up (and I'm 99% sure they will) they could be a top 10 team next season, but keeping Benteke vital."

    Paul Hopkins: "Not having a player on the post from a corner is absolutely criminal."

    Richard Leeman: "The stadium, the team, the fans and the legacy of Aston Villa is of a Premier League status. Wigan to go."

  34. 2121: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Aston Villa 4-1 Sunderland

    Has the horse bolted? Sunderland bring on James McClean for Seb Larsson but it seems too little, too late.

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    "A driven ball to the back post, Benteke gets a run on his man and heads into an empty net with no one on the back post. Why teams don't have men on the posts I don't know."

  36. 2118: 
    GOAL- Aston Villa 4-1 Sunderland - Christian Benteke (59 mins)

    He's only gone and done it again. It seems it's not just Aston Villa defenders who don't bother marking him (1943), but also Sunderland's as he rises unmarked to head home Ashley Westwood's corner.

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer at Villa Park

    "Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert showed quite a turn of speed to celebrate Christian Benteke's goal. Great celebrations around Villa Park. Meanwhile, Paolo Di Canio is receiving a fruity reminder of his less than flattering views on Villa when he was in charge at Swindon Town."

  38. 2116: 
    CLOSE!- Aston Villa 3-1 Sunderland

    Agonising for Sunderland as Adam Johnson cuts in on his left foot and his cross just evades Alfred N'Diaye diving in at the far post.

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Brilliant from Agbonlahor on the edge of the box, Sunderland will be disappointed they missed the tackles, but a great reaction from Benteke. The ball moved all over the place and Benteke reacted quicker."

  40. 2113: 
    GOAL- Aston Villa 3-1 Sunderland - Christian Benteke (55 mins)

    That's another few million quid added to Christian Benteke's price tag. The Villa striker heads in the rebound from six yards after Gabriel Agbonlahor's shot is parried into his path by Simon Mignolet.

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Villa are screaming for the ball to be put out, but it's not a head injury so Sunderland can play on."

  42. 2111: 
    Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

    Boos echo around Villa Park as referee Lee Probert fails to give a free-kick for Adam Johnson's late challenge on Joe Bennett. He then awards Sunderland a free-kick when Yacouba Sylla and Danny Rose collide.

  43. 2109: 
    Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

    Matthew Lowton charges forward down the right and is brought down by Alfred N'Diaye, who then fires a few choice words in the direction of the young full-back. Lowton's not bothered though. Joe Bennett's subsequent free-kick sails straight into the keeper's grateful arms.

  44. 2107: 
    Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

    It's amazing what confidence can do for this Villa team. Attacking moves kept breaking down in the first 15 minutes of the match as the crowd's nerves filtered through to the pitch. Now they are pinging it about with ease in the second half.

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Interesting to see James McClean warming-up for Sunderland. If they are still losing in 10 minutes I can see Di Canio making a bold change."


    Mark Causer: "Lowton, Benteke, Westwood.. all excellent signings But you cant beat re-signing Guzan for a stroke of sheer genius from Lambert."

    Jake Mourinho: "I've always said Lambert was the right guy for Villa, even if they go down, the changes he's making will benefit long term."

  47. 2104: 
    KICK-OFF- Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

    We are under way in the second half.

  48. 2102: 

    I wonder what the second half has got in store for us? If it's half as good as the final 15 minutes of the first, it'll be good.


    Mike Lord: "Fair play to Villa and Sunderland for going for it. Black Cats could have tried to strangle the game. More of the same please!"

    Trevor Hawkes: "As has been the case all season, Villa look very dangerous going forward and very fallible in defence, both in in equal measure."

  50. 2058: 

    If it remains 2-1, Aston Villa will move five points clear of the drop zone and draw level on points with Newcastle and Sunderland. Third-bottom Wigan will have a game in hand on all three sides.

  51. 2055: 
    Paul Lambert

    I'm interested to hear what Villa fans think about Paul Lambert at the moment. I know he had a difficult start, but he seems to be developing some exciting players down at Villa Park.


    Jamie Hardesty: "Weimann is doing it for the Geordie tonight... Whey-aye-man! Toon to beat QPR and get safety. Sunderland still to go down!"

  53. 2050: 
    Aston Villa celebrate

    That was a fantastic 45 minutes of football. As Phil says below, both sides are giving it everything in the fight for survival. Some of Villa's young players are really starting to blossom.

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    "It's been entertaining, end-to-end stuff. Frantic, with three quality goals. Villa just about edged it, but Sunderland will be kicking themselves because they know Villa play on the counter-attack."

  55. 2048:  
    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer at Villa ParkHALF-TIME- Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

    "After watching Reading and QPR make the most tedious and timid exit from the Premier League on Sunday, this is the complete opposite and Aston Villa and Sunderland fight for survival. Thrilling, attacking football."


    Tom Seagrim: "Matthew Lowton has to up there for signing of the season. Played every game and is pure class."

  57. 2046: 
    FA Youth Cup final first leg- Norwich 0-0 Chelsea - half-time

    BBC Sport's Chris Osborne at Carrow Road: "In much the same way as a Premier League game between this two, all the running has been made by Chelsea. Nathan Ake had a double effort from point-blank range blocked, while Islam Feruz couldn't convert a goalmouth scramble. The Canaries are soaking it all up and go in 0-0 at half-time.

    "One of the biggest cheers of the evening so far came from a bunch of Norwich fans who were able to see Sunderland's equaliser against Aston Villa on a TV screen. Some here are still a bit bitter about Paul Lambert's exit in the summer. Some are worried Villa will catch them in the relegation race."

  58. 2045: 
    DISALLOWED GOAL- Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

    Sunderland have a goal chalked off when a cross comes in from deep, Danny Graham and Brad Guzan collide before Craig Gardner turns in after the Villa goalkeeper drops the cross.

  59. 2043: 
    Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

    It's probably worth noting that Paul Lambert celebrated Villa's goals every bit as enthusiastically as Paolo Di Canio did for Sunderland's equaliser. Back to the action, where Adam Johnson blazes a shot into the stands.

  60. 2041: 
    Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

    How good is Matthew Lowton? Whether he's banging them in from 35 yards at Stoke or picking out forwards from deep, he's a class act. Are you watching Roy Hodgson? Villa keeper Brad Guzan makes a save from Alfred N'Diaye's long-range shot.

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    "On the counter-attack both teams have been dangerous. Lowton read the cross-field ball and drove into space. Weimann lost the man who was tracking him back and produced a superb finish. Fantastic play from Villa."

  62. 2037: 
    GOAL- Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland - Andreas Weimann (38 mins)

    Three goals in seven minutes now as Andreas Weimann superbly controls the ball and fires home from the left-hand side of the penalty area following a glorious raking pass from Matthew Lowton.

  63. 2036: 
    PENALTY APPEAL- Aston Villa 1-1 Sunderland

    That has raised the tempo a notch. It's end-to-end now as Gabriel Agbonlahor takes a shot from outside the area which is charged down by Craig Gardner. The home side appeal for handball, but the ref's having none of it.

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    On the Villa goal: "You've got to give a lot of credit to Brad Guzan for that goal because he got rid of the ball early. Sunderland have had more possession, but the threat has always been there from Benteke and what a strike from Vlaar."

    On the Sunderland goal: "Wonderful play from Danny Rose. He's played a one-two with Danny Graham and slipped a calm and cool finish past Guzan. The technique to do that is very hard, but he gave the keeper no chance."

  65. 2032: 
    GOAL- Aston Villa 1-1 Sunderland - Danny Rose (32 mins)

    Incredible stuff - Sunderland draw level from their very first attack since conceding. Danny Rose plays a neat one-two with Danny Graham and angles a composed finish past Brad Guzan. Game on.

  66. 2030: 
    GOAL- Aston Villa 1-0 Sunderland - Ron Vlaar (31 mins)

    Inspirational stuff from Villa captain Ron Vlaar who scores his first goal for the club. The ball breaks to the defender 35 yards from goal and he smashes it along the floor and into Simon Mignolet's bottom corner.

  67. 2030: 
    Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    Sunderland are awarded a free-kick 45 yards out, which Seb Larsson tries to bend in but none of his team-mates can apply the touch it needs to trouble Brad Guzan.


    Tom O'Malley: "Once did 'the Mourinho' in my living room after promotion with Rochdale on Fifa. Ruined my school uniform but totally worth it."

  69. 2028: 
    Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    Adam Johnson continues to be a threat on the right and he puts a dangerous cross into the Villa box, but Sunderland's failure to commit men forward means the ball runs away to safety.

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Fantastic play from Villa. The link-up between Agbonlahor and Benteke was excellent. That's the first time they have got behind the Sunderland defence and the first bit of quality we've seen."

  71. 2026: 
    CLOSE!- Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    Oh so close for Villa. A lovely one-two between Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor splits the Sunderland defence and ends with the English forward just poking wide of an onrushing Simon Mignolet's post. Much more incisive from the hosts.

    Alan Green, BBC Radio 5 live

    "If you're on the Sunderland coaching staff under Di Canio, you need earplugs. If he's unhappy with what's happening on the field, he doesn't shout at the players, but turns and screams at the bench. And I mean screams."

  73. 2025: 
    Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    Villa's delivery has been poor so far, with Ashley Westwood a culprit on a couple of occasions - a deep corner being cleared and the ball ending up back with goalkeeper Brad Guzan as Sunderland press hard.

    Ian Dennis, BBC Radio 5 live senior football reporter

    "I've got a blank piece of paper in front of me to describe what has happened here. Nothing to speak of. Still waiting for that one opportunity that could change the relegation battle."

  75. 2022: 
    Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    Aston Villa manoeuvre a good position but Gabriel Agbonlahor wastes a good opportunity with a poor cross, Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke waiting in the area.


    Conor Parker: "Villa are poor but Benteke is different class, can't see him being there next season whether its in the Championship or the PL."

  77. 2019: 
    Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    It still never fails to touch me as the Villa fans rise to their feet in the 19th minute to applaud Stiliyan Petrov, who is continuing his fight against leukaemia. Paolo Di Canio joins in too - class.

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    "When you're playing against wingers, it's very important that midfielders are willing to help the full-backs out. Villa have done that well so far."

  79. 2016: 
    Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    I hope Paolo Di Canio has brought a change of clothes with him - his rather dapper suit is not standing up to the Birmingham rain too well. Aston Villa continue to be brave in possession, always looking to pass the ball, but they are making a few mistakes at the moment and a nervous home crowd is beginning to get anxious.


    Ben Aitkenhead: "Sunderland look very composed. Villa youth look very nervous. Johnson, Sessegnon look ominous."

  81. 2014: 
    Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    Sunderland are looking lively on the counter but a move breaks down when Craig Gardner sprays the ball out of play - much to the amusement of the home supporters.

  82. 2012: 
    Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    Aston Villa are enjoying some nice spells of possession, with Yacouba Sylla impressing in midfield with some strong tackling and purposeful running. They win a free-kick to the right of the area, but Ashley Westwood fails to beat the first man.

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief Football Writer at Villa Park

    "Such tense occasions these. Villa fans desperate to get behind their players but impatience and unease never far beneath the surface. The rain is slanting across the pitch - and Villa boss Paul Lambert has certainly come better dressed for this weather than the sharp-suited Paolo Di Canio."

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Fabian Delph seemed to be overawed by his big price tag, but this season he seems to have got back the ability to glide past people. I think he's done exceptionally well this year."

  85. 2010: 
    Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    It's been an uncomfortable start for Villa defender Nathan Baker, who is being caused problems by Stephane Sessegnon as the Black Cats look to attack down the right.

  86. 2007: 
    Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    I never thought I'd see the day - Newcastle fans cheering on Sunderland. They are almost celebrating too when Alfred N'Diaye splits the Villa defence and picks out Craig Gardner, but the midfielder's cross is put out of play with Danny Graham lurking in the box.


    Michael Blighe: "Tonight, I become a temporary Sunderland fan... hard to say, coming from a lifelong Geordie! Howay the Black Cats!"

  88. 2005: 
    Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    It's route one from Sunderland at the moment as a free-kick is pumped forward from their own half and Danny Graham takes a shot which is charged down in the penalty area.

  89. 2004: 
    FA Youth Cup final first leg- Norwich 0-0 Chelsea

    BBC Sport's Chris Osborne at Carrow Road: "Chelsea have had plenty of the ball early on and just squandered the best chance, Islam Feruz swiping over from eight yards out. Blues centre-back Nathan Ake, who incidentally is a doppelganger for senior team-mate David Luiz, made his only Premier League appearance against Norwich on Boxing Day this season, and was lucky not to give away a penalty for a tussle with Jacob Murphy."

    Robbie Savage, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Great start from Villa, Benteke is at the heart of it. But when are fans going to learn? Villa fans booing Craig Gardner will only inspire him to play better."

  91. 2003: 
    Aston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    Ex-Villa and Birmingham Craig Gardner takes an early touch in midfield and gets booed. You might also like to know it's chucking it down at Villa Park. That perhaps plays a part when Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet lets the ball slip through his grasp from a corner. He eventually gathers the ball, to the relief of Black Cats fans.

  92. 2001: 

    What are your predictions for tonight then? It's such a massive game for both teams. Are there any Wigan and Newcastle fans watching nervously?

  93. 2000: 

    Right then, enough talk about tea and biscuits. We are under way at Villa Park, where the home support are in good voice.

  94. 1958: 

    Now you've got two minutes to grab a biscuit to go with the brew.

  95. 1957: 

    Here's your three-minute warning. Go and put the kettle on now and you'll make it back for kick-off.

  96. 1956: 

    Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio, speaking to Sky Sports: "There's no secret. I found very good fellas in here with ability. It's never easy to restore confidence and we have to keep going because we're not safe yet.

    "You can't do many things (to improve fitness) because it's nearly the end of the season. More practice has helped the players understand more what we want to do on the field. We can't play tippy-tappy at the moment, now is the time to be effective.

    "We have to play positive football with the right mentality. It's not easy, but if we win tonight then we are very close to being safe."


    Joe Wright: "Klinsmann got a load of stick for diving when he joined Spurs. His diving celebration after scoring was the best response."

    Josh Reynolds: "Zenden dancing with Gyan has got to be number 1! He was like a drunk parent at a wedding!"

  98. 1954: 

    Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert, speaking to Sky Sports: "We've got an opportunity where we can draw level with Sunderland and pull away from Wigan.

    "Every game in the run-in is going to be hard, we've got four hard games to go. Our form has been pretty decent and the way we're playing, we're certainly a threat.

    "Every game you play is a must-win. Loads of things can happen, but if we win it puts us on a good road."

  99. 1953: 

    Who do you reckon has been the Premier League's busiest goalkeeper this season? The answer... Brad Guzan. The American has been a mainstay for Villa and he hopes he can continue to set an example to the rest of his team-mates.

    "As a goalkeeper it's so important to be mentally strong and have that mental focus because it's unlike any position on the pitch," he said. "We just have to pick up results now.

    "We had a tough spell earlier in the season but that was what made us stronger and helped to bring out our character."

  100. 1950: 

    Aston Villa have had seven days to recover from their last outing - a 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford as Manchester United sealed their Premier League crown. Immediately after that match, Lambert was talking up tonight's fixture against Sunderland.

    "We've got to win it," Lambert said. "Sunderland are going well themselves but it is an opportunity for us. We are at home. We know what we have to do and that's a good thing."

  101. 1947: 
    FA Youth Cup final first leg- Norwich v Chelsea

    BBC Sport's Chris Osborne at Carrow Road: "George Best, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Jack Wilshere, Gareth Bale. They've all played in an FA Youth Cup final. Norwich City and Chelsea will be hoping a few of their youngsters on show tonight will become household names in the years to come.

    "Norwich's Under-8s are out on the pitch for a little runaround - I wonder if any of them will be playing in this fixture in 10 years' time?"


    Dan Brown: "Just used the BBC Premier League predictor. Bad news for Villa, if you lose tonight you're going down."

    Kris Slack: "The awkward moment when, as a Newcastle United fan, you're considering cheering on Scumderland tonight."

    Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Villa ParkAston Villa 0-0 Sunderland

    "Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has labelled the meeting with Aston Villa at Villa Park their 'Champions League final'- it could prove just as important for their opponents.

    "Villa can open up a five-point gap between themselves and Wigan Athletic, who are in the bottom three, with victory tonight. Wigan will have a game in hand but it would allow Villa to apply greater pressure."

  104. 1945: 

    Speaking of hard men, Paul Lambert has always had an air of tenacity about him - but he might have found his match, in the form of Fabian Delph's girlfriend.

    The 23-year-old midfielder is prepared to miss the birth of his first child in May, with the blessing of girlfriend Natalie, if it clashes with a crucial Villa fixture.

    "I wouldn't like to get involved in a domestic, that's for sure, I'll leave that for him and his girlfriend," Lambert told the Birmingham Mail. "I've just left it. I'm sure his wife or girlfriend would rule the roost on that one."

  105. 1943: 

    Me telling you that the boy Benteke is good is akin to informing you Mike Tyson is hard - you already knew. But did you know that he is so good, the Villa defenders don't bother trying to tackle him in training?

    "He's unbelievably strong," said Ron Vlaar. "Fortunately when we play 11 v 11 in training he's on my team because we are usually getting ready for the next game.

    "When Brad Guzan plays the ball long in matches, a lot of times Christian just takes it on his chest and defenders don't bother to challenge him because he's too strong."


    DBH: "It's all about the Shefki Kuqi swallow dive."

    Barney Handel: "Cantona's smug look and raised collar after the perfect chip, class."

  107. 1939: 

    After all, what's 2,000 bad words when you have to worry about Christian Benteke? The Aston Villa striker has got 24 goals this season, including two against Di Canio's Swindon. If a bit of terrace abuse is like going to a Pavarotti concert - dealing with Benteke must be like listening to Steps' greatest hits.

  108. 1938: 
    LINE-UPS- Aston Villa v Sunderland

    Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett, Westwood, Delph, Sylla, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor. Subs: Given, Bent, N'Zogbia, Holman, Bowery, Bannan, Lichaj.

    Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, O'Shea, Cuellar, Rose, Larsson, N'Diaye, Gardner, Johnson, Sessegnon, Graham. Subs: Westwood, Kilgallon, Colback, Vaughan, Mangane, McClean, Mandron.

    Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

  109. 1937: 
    Paolo Di Canio

    So how many 'bad words' can Paolo expect tonight? There's no need to do the maths - he's already done it.

    "If I receive another 2,000 bad words about me, I can add that to the millions I got in the past in Glasgow, Rome and Milan," he said. "It's not an issue."


    Elliot Armstrong, via text on 81111: "Backflip off the trampoline is always the best. Until you dislocate your arm, that is..."

    Who celebrates by flipping off a trampoline?

  111. 1934: 

    Di Canio already has previous with Aston Villa when, after his former club Swindon lost 3-2 to the Premier League side in October, he made a gesture which Villa supporters perceived as saying their club was going down this season.

    It's likely to be a hostile reception for Di Canio tonight, who compared it to going to watch the late Luciano Pavarotti in concert. Somehow, I don't think Villa fans will be singing Nessun dorma to him.

    "I wasn't worried about Newcastle who are the worst enemy supporters for us, so you can imagine, I'm not worried about Villa Park," said Di Canio. "For me, it's like going to the theatre or seeing Pavarotti when he was still alive. It's an easy place to go."

  112. 1931: 

    Paolo Di Canio began with a 2-1 loss at Chelsea, but cemented a permanent place in the club's folklore in only his second match when he led the Black Cats to a 3-0 win at Newcastle. A 1-0 victory over Everton followed and, with Newcastle losing 6-0 at home to Liverpool over the weekend, suddenly the Magpies also fear relegation.


    Sean Done: "Can't get better than Marco Tardelli in the WC final in '82, running to the halfway line screaming your own name. Classic."

    Mike Lawson: "Tim Cahill's corner flag boxing will always be my favourite. Danny Welbeck's strange little arm pump/flap is also enjoyable."

  114. 1928: 

    It's looking good now, but Di Canio admits he feared the sack just days after he was appointed Sunderland manager, when he had to fend off questions about whether he held fascist beliefs.

    "He [chairman Ellis Short] might have thought, 'Now I'll sack him straight away' because he was under pressure," Di Canio told the Sunderland Echo. "Instead he backed me 100%, 1,000%. He supported me in an incredible way."

  115. 1925: 
    Aston Villa v Sunderland

    So just what is the secret to Paolo Di Canio's success? It's simple really - he's just getting them to play like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. There's none of that tippy-tappy stuff in Wearside.

    "This is football, the new football," he told the Sunderland Echo. "It is not just the sort of football to get you out of relegation trouble, it is also the football to win you Champions League games. It is all about working as a team."


    Ash Burdett: "I think I once did the Anelka 'butterfly' followed by a 'Brett Lee.' Obviously not very acrobatic."

    Barry Martin: "Respect must be paid to the Sharpie Shuffle, a most ridiculous dance choreographed solely for goal celebrations!"

  117. 1923: 

    Somewhere in north London, Spurs forward Gareth Bale is clearing the mantelpiece to make room for his PFA Player and Young Player of the Year trophies.

    Is he a worthy winner? Let me know, shortly after you have heard what he had to say:

    "It's great to win it and I am delighted," Bale said. "When you look at the list there are some massive names on it and the other nominees have been unbelievable this year, but I couldn't have done it without the team."

  118. 1918: 
    FA Youth Cup final first leg- Norwich v Chelsea (1945 BST)

    BBC Sport's Chris Osborne: "There's very much a big game feel around Carrow Road this evening, with at least 20,000 supporters making their way to the first leg of Norwich's FA Youth Cup final against Chelsea.

    "Chelsea, the current holders, beat Liverpool comfortably in their semi-final, while the Canaries came through a penalty shootout against Nottingham Forest to set up their first final in the competition for 30 years."

  119. 1917: 

    One of Harry's first jobs will be to decide on the future of Joey Barton, who has criticised some QPR players following the club's relegation.

    Barton, who is on loan at Marseille, tweeted: "I can't believe QPR have just been relegated and [Jose] Bosingwa was walking down the tunnel laughing!"

    "Lot of those within that dressing room have to have a good long look in the mirror. Spoke to a few of the better lads over the course of the season and it seems things just became ridiculous in the end."

  120. 1913: 

    I'll get stuck into previewing tonight's big match shortly, but let's have a look at the day's big football stories. First of all, QPR have announced that 'Arry is going to stay on as manager next season - which is 'triffic news.

    "I don't think there was a point where he was thinking of not being with us and continuing this project he has embarked upon," club co-owner Fernandes said after a meeting with Redknapp.

    "Harry will not be forced to sell any players he wants to keep. We had a very good discussion on this."

    Alan Green, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Aston Villa are a young team, if the nerves get to them at the end of this season I can see them going down and Wigan staying up."

  122. 1910: 

    Aston Villa make one change, with Yacouba Sylla coming in for Charles N'Zogbia, while Phil Bardsley and Craig Gardner return to the Sunderland starting line-up.


    What better way to kick off tonight's live offering than by asking you to tell me about your favourite goal celebrations - both your own or those of the professionals. Are you an Alan Shearer arm aloft person? Or do you prefer Peter Beagrie-style somersaults? You can join in tonight by tweeting us, using #bbcfootball, or by sending a text to 81111.

  124. 1906: 

    We'll also bring you updates from Carrow Road, where Norwich City are hosting Chelsea in the first leg of the final of the FA Youth Cup. That match kicks off at 1945 BST.

  125. 1905: 

    That's because victory tonight would lift the Villans five points clear of the relegation zone. The Black Cats will also sleep a little easier if they win, safe in the knowledge that they would be virtually safe on the 40-point mark.

  126. 1903: 

    Sunderland travel to Aston Villa tonight, another side who have picked up some impressive results in recent weeks. I doubt Paul Lambert will be doing a hop, skip and a jump if the hosts win the match, but that won't stop the home supporters doing a little celebratory jig instead.

  127. 1900: 
    Paolo Di Canio

    We've all done it in the back garden: scored a goal, done a celebratory leap into the air (narrowly avoiding the dog) and finished by sliding along the lawn on our knees.

    The only difference between us and Paolo Di Canio is that he wears designer suits and he is doing it for real. But when you have just steered your side to victories over Newcastle and Everton, why worry about a little grass stain on your knees?

Share this story

Premier League predictor


Predict who will seal a European place in the Premier League

Latest Football

Upcoming Fixtures Tue 3 Mar 2015 - Premier League
  • Aston Villa v West Brom 19:45
  • Hull v Sunderland 19:45
  • Southampton v Crystal Palace 19:45
Upcoming Fixtures Wed 4 Mar 2015 - Premier League
  • Man City v Leicester 19:45
  • Newcastle v Man Utd 19:45
  • QPR v Arsenal 19:45
  • Stoke v Everton 19:45
  • Tottenham v Swansea 19:45
  • West Ham v Chelsea 19:45
  • Liverpool v Burnley 20:00
Upcoming Fixtures Sat 7 Mar 2015 - Premier League
  • QPR v Tottenham 15:00
Upcoming Fixtures Sat 14 Mar 2015 - Premier League
  • Crystal Palace v QPR 12:45

More fixtures

As It Stands Table

Barclays Premier League summary table; it charts each team by position, team name, games played, total goal difference and points
Position Team Played Goal Difference Points
No movement 1 Chelsea 26 34 60
No movement 2 Man City 26 31 55
Moving up 3 Man Utd 27 20 50
Moving down 4 Arsenal 26 20 48
No movement 5 Southampton 27 18 46
No movement 6 Liverpool 26 9 45
No movement 7 Tottenham 26 5 44
Moving up 8 Swansea 27 -3 40
Moving down 9 West Ham 27 6 39
No movement 10 Stoke 27 -3 39
No movement 11 Newcastle 27 -10 35
Moving up 12 Crystal Palace 27 -7 30
Moving up 13 West Brom 27 -9 30
Moving down 14 Everton 26 -4 28
No movement 15 Hull 27 -11 26
No movement 16 Sunderland 27 -16 25
No movement 17 QPR 26 -18 22
No movement 18 Burnley 27 -20 22
No movement 19 Aston Villa 27 -24 22
No movement 20 Leicester 26 -18 18

Videprinter Live

All the goals and incidents as they happen from all the matches across the divisions.

Ups and downs

Yeovil players Sam Foley and Gavin Williams celebrate promotion to the Championship

How will your team fare? Promotion, relegation and the race for Europe across England and Scotland