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Sunderland can prolong their hosts’ agony with 12/5 Villa Park victory

It seems Sunderland have turned a corner under the auspices of charismatic Sergeant Major Paulo Di Canio – the road they’ve turned onto is one marked “defensive solidity”  – and this will stand them in good stead against Villa. Paul Lambert’s men are as penetrable in defence as they are in attack and the Black Cats can nick a win at 12/5.

Despite the vague air of progression and positivity that persists around Aston Villa they’ve been frustratingly inconsistent at Villa Park, going no longer than a game without a loss since the turn of the year.The two Premier League sides they’ve beaten in that period were West Ham and QPR – the league’s lowest and fourth lowest away scorers respectively.

Villa allowed those toothless travellers three goals across the two fixtures, a damning indictment of a defence that has gone 18 games without a clean sheet this term. Given Sunderland have scored in 15 of their 19 away games this season –  with three of those blanks drawn in the first six games of the campaign – it seems highly likely they can ring the bell at least once in Birmingham.

Rather than suffer from a hangover from their epic 3-0 derby win a fortnight ago, the Black Cats bested a fatigued Everton with all the assurance of a side still pleasantly drunk from the night before in their next outing.

For the second game running their maverick Beninese attacker Stephane Sessegnon provided the breakthrough and he can backed at 7/1 with Coral to open the scoring at Villa Park. Sunderland have registered in the first half of their last three games, winning the pre-interval period on all three occasions and Di Canio’s men are 27/10 to nick the opening 45 at Villa Park.

Two wins under the new manager have carried the Black Cats a world away from the listless, dispirited side that lost 1-0 to Aston Villa at the Stdium of Light back in November and with defensive rigour to the fore in their last two wins, the 5/1 Coral offer about the them to avenge that defeat with a win to nil looks big.