Aston Villa draw strength against Sunderland after Fabian Delph sees red

There is a theory that the festive period produces more goals than usual but Aston Villa and Sunderland predictably reverted to type on an afternoon when the home team were forced to play with 10 men for the third time in four matches. Fabian Delph’s dismissal early in the second half, after a lunge on Jordi Gómez, handed the initiative to the visitors, but the closest a toothless Sunderland side came to a breakthrough was when the Spaniard hit a post in the 89th minute.

In truth it was a stalemate waiting to happen. Villa have now scored only 11 times in 19 league fixtures – a dismal tally – while Sunderland, who have drawn six of their last nine matches, also average less than a goal per game. No prizes for guessing what department of the pitch needs some fresh blood in the January transfer window.

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