SUNDERLAND reporter Chris Young gives his verdict after a sixth goalless draw of the campaign for the Black Cats at Aston Villa today.
Pantilimon 7 – Couple of crucial saves at the death to deny Bacuna and Benteke prevented 10-man Villa snatching the points.
Vergini 7 – Looked more assured than he had done in previous games, despite struggling with injury in the build-up.
(sub Buckley 6 – Got into a couple of promising areas, but final ball was poor).
O’Shea 7 – Handled Benteke well and produced a superb challenge to deny Weimann as the Villa man was shaping to shoot.
Brown 7 – Never physically intimidated by Benteke and re-introduced defensive solidity into Sunderland’s ranks after his absence against Hull on Boxing Day.
Jones 6 – Always looking to get forward from left-back, but had to keep checking back onto right foot.
Bridcutt 7 – Had started the game well before going off with concussion.
(sub CATTERMOLE 7 – Introduced to the fray sooner than expected, but instantly adapted and made a couple of superb sliding challenges).
Larsson 6 – Solidiered on despite ankle problem, but the injury was clearly affecting him.
(sub Giaccherini 7 – Looked much sharper than he did against Hull, but couldn’t create the much-needed breakthrough).
Gomez 6 – Went closest to grabbing the winner when his angled drive hit the post, but couldn’t find the pass to unlock the Villa defence.
Johnson 7 – Looked Sunderland’s likeliest match-winner and created a couple of opportunities which Wickham should have made more of.
Wickham 6 – Had a couple of half-chances which should have at least resulted in Guzan making a save.
Fletcher 6 – Again had precious little service, but worked hard to create something out of nothing.
VILLA: Guzan 7, Hutton 7, Vlaar 7, Clark 7 (Okore 7), Cissokho 7, Delph 5, Sanchez 8, Cleverley 6 (Grealish 7), Weimann 6, N’Zogbia 5 (Bacuna 7), Benteke 6.