And that's game over. The spoils are shared after an entertaining draw at Villa Park. That means it is time for me to wave goodbye, so head over here for all the reaction. See ya!
Oh hello - a Sunderland corner. They can't, can they? Nope, Villa clear their lines easily...
Four minutes of added time for Villa to find a winner...
Home corner as everyone bar Sunderland sub Seb Larsson piles into the away penalty area. The delivery goes over Rudy Gestede's imposing figure, instead finding the head of Micah Richards who heads over the bar.
Sunderland venture into Villa territory for the first time in a while. Steven Fletcher tussles with Jordan Amavi as the Black Cats try to alleviate the pressure, but the away striker concedes a free-kick. Villa spring forward again...
Sunderland look pretty happy to sit deep and shut out Villa rather than look for the win - as illustrated below by the average position graphic. Quite wise.Copyright: Opta
Still all Villa. Big striker Rudy Gestede again causing problems for the away defence. This time the summer signing from Blackburn drags a 15-yard shot wide of the left-hand post.
Rudy Gestede jumps for a right-wing cross but tumbles under the attentions of away defender Younes Kaboul. The Villa forward is waved up by the referee.
All Villa now. The claret and blue shirts surge towards the goal in front of the Holte End, desperately seeking a third goal which could see off Sunderland. Rudy Gestede tees up Ashley Westwood whose rising shot is superbly saved by Costel Pantilimon. Some nervous faces in the away end now...
Nope. Villa substitute Carlos Gil exchanges passes with Scott Sinclair and jinks into the Sunderland box. The Spaniard rounds a defender and tumbles to the ground. "Penalty!" demands the Holte End. Referee Robert Madley says no and books Gil for diving.
Final change for Sunderland. Seb Larsson - a former Birmingham City midfielder - replaces Jeremain Lens. That, to me, suggests that Sunderland are content with a point.
Now the lanky Rudy Gestede reverts to stereotype and uses his head to trouble the Sunderland defence. But the header loops over the crossbar.
Almost a sight of the Sunderland goal for the home side. Summer signing Rudy Gestede shows he can use his feet as well as his head, prodding a through ball towards Carlos Sanchez. But the giant Benin international's touch is a little too strong and it wanders out for a goal-kick.
Still an excellent tempo to this match as Sunderland cling on to possession close to the halfway line. Could go either way this one - I'm not even going to try and call it...Copyright: Getty Images
Ooooh, Jermain Defoe almost sniffs out a goalscoring chance. The ex-England striker scampers after a long pass from Sunderland team-mate Yann M'Vila, only to see his first touch run into the hands of Villa keeper Brad Guzan. Great vision for the pass, but a difficult one to control.
Villa boss Tim Sherwood decides it is time for a switch. On trots mercurial Spanish midfielder Carles Gil, who high-fives Leandro Bacuna as he heads in the opposite direction.
Villa left-back Jordan Amavi is not shy of sticking on the afterburners and ploughing forward - as his touch-map shows. However, he has not brought his shooting boots, blasting wildly over the Sunderland crossbar from outside the box.Copyright: Opta
That set-piece comes to nothing, however. Micah Richards peels off his marker but cannot stick his forehead on the ball.
Exciting stuff now! Very open game with both sides going on the front foot. Villa left-back Jordan Amavi dances into the Sunderland box - beating the opposite full-back with a succession of Cristiano Ronaldo-esque step-overs. The Dutchman forces a corner...
Micah Richards is a man whose job it is to turn the ball away from the goal. But not the opponent's net! Somehow the Villa skipper manages to divert a left-wing cross into the grateful hands of Sunderland keeper - and his former Manchester City team-mate - Costel Pantilimon from virtually the goalline. He can't believe it. And neither can Sunderland. Villa should have been in front.
And the travelling Mackems almost have a third goal to cheer! Right-back Billy Jones pops up in the Villa box but doesn't have the finishing prowess of one of his more attack-minded team-mates. His outswinging shot drifts well wide - befitting of a defender who has never scored for the club....
The volume has been turned down inside Villa Park. Except for the delirious pocket of away fans...
Former Wales striker on Final Score
"It's a good finish from Lens, but from a defensive point of view it's far too easy. Clark lets him cut inside. Sunderland have started the second half really well."
Sunderland are level! Half-time substitute Ola Toivonen starts the move from the middle of the park, before Dutch winger Jeremain Lens suddenly finds himself with the freedom of the Villa penalty area. He keeps calm and coolly converts into the bottom corner, possibly with the aid of a deflection off Micah Richards.Copyright: PA
Sunderland look much livelier after the break - but they did start the first half very well remember. Jermain Defoe blasts over from distance. Getting closer....
Now it is the turn of Steven Fletcher to become involved for the first time. The tall Scotland striker finds space in the Villa area, meeting a right-wing cross to force Villa keeper Brad Guzan into an instinctive tip over the bar.
Any instant impact from the incoming Sunderland pair? Ola Toivonen is quickly orchestrating the team from the middle of the park, demanding the ball and pointing. Lots of pointing.
Referee Robert Madley toots his whistle after the 15-minute break - and that means it is game on.
Looks like Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat has seen enough. New signing Ola Toivonen - a Sweden international midfielder who signed from Rennes yesterday - is stripped off and ready to make his debut.
But wait! Not only does Advocaat make one change - he makes two. Scotland striker Steven Fletcher also gets the nod, while Danny Graham and Lee Cattermole are the two men to be hooked.
How about this for a swift break? Villa turned defence into attack within seconds for the goal which gives them a half-time advantage. The clinical move was finished by Scott Sinclair - and here's how it happened...Copyright: Opta
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BBC Match of the Day commentator
"A very watchable first half which started badly for Villa and wonderfully for Sunderland. But Villa have hit back through the penalty - what was Lee Cattermole thinking? - and the second goal just before half-time."
Indeed Sunderland do escape further Villa punishment, largely thanks to Younes Kaboul cutting out another dangerous ball from the left flank. Time for Dick Advocaat to ponder his options over a cuppa.
One minute of added time, so says the fourth official and his big electronic board. Sunderland hoping not to concede again...
Great psychological boost for the home side to nick the lead before half-time - and you have to say they just about deserve it.
Former Wales striker on Football Focus
"Scott Sinclair never really got going at Manchester City, but he's coming up trumps for Tim Sherwood."
Villa take the lead! And Scott Sinclair won't score many simpler goals in his career. A neat touch and turn from Idrissa Gueye sends Jordan Amavi tearing down the left flank and his perfect cross leaves Sinclair to bundle in from close range.Copyright: Getty Images
Jeremain Lens was the Sunderland man who forced Micah Richards into action - he has been their biggest threat...Copyright: Opta
Talk about putting your body on the line. Villa skipper Micah Richards dives in front of a right-wing cross as Sunderland threaten in numbers on the break. But the ex-Manchester City man slides into the post, his back taking the brunt of the impact. Takes more than that to keep big Micah down for long...
Another chance for Leandro Bacuna to get a set-piece right. Again on the left flank, this time close to the corner flag, the Dutchman opts for a training-ground move pulling back the ball which ends up at the feet of Carlos Sanchez. But he lashes it well over the bar.
That set-piece comes to nothing, but soon Villa send up the big lads from the back again. The home side win a free-kick close to the touchline in the shaded part of Villa Park. The delivery is headed over by Ciaran Clark, but referee Robert Madley orders it to be retaken after some shoving. Unfortunately for the home fans it is a poor delivery at the second attempt and Sunderland escape.
Villa boss Tim Sherwood looks pretty relaxed as he peers on to the pitch from the dugout. And so he might - his side look the likelier to nab a lead. Villa right-back Alan Hutton sees the pitch open in front of him, whipping in a cross which is headed clear by Younes Kaboul for a corner.
Better from Sunderland. The Black Cats haven't done much since the equaliser, but here left-back Patrick van Aanholt sneaks down the flank and across the byeline. However, his cut-back just evades a fellow green shirt.
Ouch! Lee Cattermole - never far from the thick of tough stuff - clatters into Villa's Idrissa Gueye inside the Sunderland half. Gueye collapses to the turf, screaming for a foul. None given. But Cattermole is given some friendly advice by referee Robert Madley to calm it down.
Glimpse of a chance for Villa. Idrissa Gueye picks up the ball about 25 yards out from the Sunderland goal, but tamely drags his effort wide.
Apart from Lee Cattermole's stupidity, Sunderland have been quite organised defensively. Younes Kaboul races across to the right channel to cut out a probing Villa ball.
Plenty of joy down the flanks for Villa in this opening quarter. Left-back Jordan Amavi bombs on - not for the first time as our heatmap shows. No joy for the French Under-21 international though as Sunderland scramble clear.Copyright: Opta
If Scott Sinclair had a half chance then this is a proper opportunity for Villa. Ashley Westwood pounces on a loose ball inside the Sunderland area, slashing his right-footed shot into the side-netting.
Another half chance for Villa, who are knocking the ball around crisply and driving forward with pace. Scott Sinclair cuts in from the left, twists, turns, but can't hit the target with his shot.
Just what the football doctor ordered for Villa. Now the home side - and their fans - are feeling confident. Rudy Gestede's cushioned header falls to Idrissa Gueye, whose shot is blocked.
Jason Roberts on Final Score: "Cattermole has got his hands all over him and you can't do that. It's rash."
Easy. Scott Sinclair dusts himself down after being manhandled by Lee Cattermole, keeps his focus and calmly slots into the bottom left corner as Costel Pantilimon dives the other way. Great start!Copyright: Getty Images
Oh dear. Lee Cattermole - what are you thinking? The Premier League's walking yellow card needlessly climbs all over Scott Sinclair in the Sunderland box. Penalty.
Yann M'vila gives Sunderland the lead in fine fashion, bending home a free-kick from 25 yards out. Brad Guzan had no chance. Dick Advocaat punches the air in delight.
Villa venture into the Sunderland half with little success, before the visitors spring forward through Jermain Defoe. The ex-England striker feeds Danny Graham who is hauled down 25 yards from the Villa goal. Promising position...
Jeremain Lens has another sniff down the right flank. The Dutchman is gifted possession by Villa midfielder Carlos Sanchez, but is unable to pick out a green shirt in the Villa box.
Villa enjoy their first spell of possession, recalled right-back Alan Hutton making progress down the flank. But the Scot can't find a killer ball - he goes inside and when the ball does go towards the area, Sunderland clear.
Encouraging stuff from Sunderland in the early exchanges. No lack of confidence here. Flying Dutchman Jeremain Lens stretches his legs down the right touchline, only to see his cross cut out by Villa defender Ciaran Clark.
Sunderland have the honour of beginning this match. Ref Bobby Madley gives the Sunderland strikers the nod - and we're off.
Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Richards, Clark, Amavi, Westwood, Sanchez, Bacuna, Gueye, Sinclair, Gestede. Subs: Bennett, Cole, Veretout, Ayew, Gil, Kozak, Bunn.
Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, Kaboul, O'Shea, Van Aanholt, Rodwell, Cattermole, M'Vila, Lens, Graham, Defoe. Subs: Larsson, Toivonen, Coates, Mannone, Fletcher, Watmore, Gooch.
Referee: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire)
That new Premier League anthem booms out over the PA system and handshakes are quickly exchanged.
Here's a quick reminder of the two teams before we kick off...
The Sunderland players are gagging to get on the pitch. The Black Cats disappeared back into the changing room after their warm-up a good five minutes before their opponents and are now ready and waiting in the Villa Park tunnel. Belatedly, the home players arrive and the players emerge into the Birmingham sun...
BBC Match of the Day commentator
"Villa's 4-0 win at Sunderland in the sides' last meeting was Gus Poyet's last game as the Black Cats' boss, and a similar result might have Dick Advocaat seriously reconsidering his own future with the club.
"Whatever the outcome, it won't change the fact that he could do with adding to Friday's signing of Ola Toivonen with more new faces before Tuesday's transfer deadline.
"Tim Sherwood, meanwhile, seems to have completed his 'incoming' business successfully.
"The next step for ever-evolving Villa is to improve home form that's brought them just four wins from the last 18 league games at Villa Park."
Villa have fared slightly better than today's visitors, already with one win to their name following an opening-day success at Bournemouth. But defeats have followed against Manchester United and Crystal Palace, placing more significance on a game against a team that is also tipped to battle the threat of relegation over the next nine months.
"It's an important game but I'm not sure it's a landmark," says Villa boss Tim Sherwood. "The team got 10 points from four games last season and ended up struggling.
"It's not how you start, it's how you finish - and how you perform in the middle would help.
Three matches. One point. Eight goals conceded. Not the start to the new Premier League season that many Mackems hoped for - although the more pessimistic ones might have half expected it. But Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat is not worried about his porous team's start...
"In the last nine games last season the defence was brilliant so they cannot lose that in one or two weeks - they have to get a certain amount of resolve and I'm not that negative," says the Dutchman.
Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat, who insists he is not going to walk away from Wearside, looks deep in concentration as he surveys the Villa Park scene from the touchline. His players look focused and confident - no jovial grins or messing about - as they go through their final paces. They turn to give the vocal away end a hefty round of applause before pounding towards the tunnel like a group from your local running club on their weekly outing.
"The Black Cats are all over the place at the moment, and the three goals they conceded against Exeter in the League Cup were an example of that.
Villa had their own scare against lower division opposition in midweek and have been very up and down but, even in the games they have lost, they have been competitive and I am backing them to win this one."
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Think you can guess the outcome of this match? Have a go at our predictor game and you'll get a video message from one of the Match of the Day pundits at the end of the weekend rating your performance.
Our resident Mystic Meg - Mark Lawrenson - is plumping for a 2-0 home win...
From the outside it appears that there's hardly been loads to shout about for either set of supporters so far. Fair? But I'd imagine that it has been marginally better for the Villa mob than their Mackem counterparts. Let me know your early season thoughts on Twitter or by texting 81111. Thanks in advance...
Beautiful afternoon in the second city. It actually looks like summer - which makes a change. (That's a dig at this year's weather, not Birmingham). Both sets of players are going through their warm-up drills on the sun-soaked pitch, while one small Villa supporter swigs on a large bottle of water as dad and grandad chew the fat over the team news.
One change for Sunderland from their 1-1 home draw against Swansea - and it comes at the heart of their leaky defence. Summer signing Younes Kaboul returns in place of Sebastian Coates, while new signing Ola Toivonen must be content with a place on the bench.Copyright: .
Slick-haired midfielder Jack Grealish and pacy forward Gabby Agbonlahor might be suffering - sure we will find out soon enough. The pair drop out of the squad as Villa make two changes from the 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace, right-back Alan Hutton and winger Scott Sinclair starting instead.Copyright: .
That sort of phone call was one which Tim Sherwood was hoping to avoid this morning.
The Aston Villa boss revealed yesterday that a sickness bug had swept through his camp, leaving him sweating on the availability of a number of players ahead of today's Premier League match against Sunderland.
And it appears that a couple of his homegrown players might have not been able to shake off an illness...
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"Morning boss - it's me. Yep, afraid it is bad news. I'm not going to make work this morning.
"I've been up all night throwing up. No, I didn't have a heavy session on the booze. Must be a sickness bug going round..."