Gary Rowell: Crucial Sunderland keep Villa star Benteke quiet on Sunday

Christian Benteke

Christian Benteke

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LIKE the Hull game, Sunderland have a real opportunity at Villa Park two days later against an Aston Villa team that is plagued by inconsistency.

Villa’s home record isn’t good and their attendances are down this season, which suggests a lot of their fans aren’t happy with what they’re seeing.

If Sunderland put Villa under pressure from the start, their supporters will get even more frustrated, making Sunderland’s job easier.

Villa seem to rely a lot on striker Christian Benteke and if Sunderland can keep him quiet, I don’t think they have a great deal more.

With two games in a short space of time, Poyet might have to fully utilise his squad, as there’s very little time to recover from any injuries. But it’s the same for everybody at this time of year.

I’m sure Poyet will have his sights set on back-to-back wins over the festive season and, as a minimum, he’d probably take four points from the six on offer.

But anything less than that will have to be seen as an opportunity missed after the derby success.