Fabian Delph saw red as Aston Villa and Sunderland battled out a competitive stalemate at Villa Park in the second game in three days for both teams.
The England international midfielder was sent off in the 49th minute for a late tackle on Jordi Gomez in his own half. The decision meant that Villa now have had three men sent off in four matches.
The game was overshadowed however by negativity from both managers complaining about the hectic fixture list over the Christmas period.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert said “trying to sell two games in two days. It’s nonsense. I agreed with Gus and most managers will probably say the same.” When asked about the run of matches. “I played in Germany and they have a winter break. They don’t start playing until February”. Before the game began Gus Poyet had previously labelled it a “disgrace”.
The effect of playing two matches in 48 hours clearly took its toll on the players with sloppy errors being made all over the pitch. Despite this the game was still evenly contested between both teams.
In the first half it was Villa who had the upper hand creating the better chances. In the opening 25 minutes Charles N’Zogbia had a curling effort from the right saved by ‘keeper Costel Pantillimon and Andreas Weimann also tried to work some space in the area but his shot was blocked.
The Black Cats’ also had chances themselves. Using winger Connor Wickham’s height they created an excellent counter attacking opportunity. A long ball was controlled on the chest of Wickham, who linked up well with former West Bromwich Albion full back Billy Jones, resulting in a curling shot from the tall striker but it curled harmlessly round the post.
The impetus of the game changed in the second half. After Delph was sent off Sunderland began to dominate proceedings, creating numerous opportunities. The best came again from Jones on the ldft hand side. This time Brad Guzan tipped his shot from a tight angle onto the far post.
Villa had chances to snatch it too. Substitute Jack Grealish curled just wide before laying the ball back to fellow substitute Leandro Bacuna whose cross was turned into the side netting by Christian Benteke.
The game finished scoreless which was a fair point for both teams.