Christian Benteke was, once again, the star for Villa, scoring a second-half hat-trick to inspire the home side to victory.
Sunderland's goal came from Danny Rose just a moment after Villa captain Ron Vlaar had opened the scoring.
Here, Sports Mole goes over a memorable night for the Villa Park faithful.
On target 15
On target 4
Was the result fair?
A resounding yes. After a stale opening 30 minutes, the hosts took the lead through Vlaar's superb long-range strike. Just a minute later Sunderland were level but they couldn't hang on as Andreas Weimann restored Villa's lead before the break. The second half was one of the best in recent memory for Villa. They netted four goals while Sessegnon's sending off gave Sunderland no chance of a fightback.
Vlaar's low piledriver ignited a huge 60 minutes of football from the home side. Weimann's goal was superbly taken while Benteke showcased his talent with three very well-taken goals. His leap for the second was immense and gave Carlos Cuellar no chance of beating him in the air.
A real tumble back to Earth for Di Canio. His side were just about holding their own after the first half at just a goal behind. They could only hang on for 10 minutes in the second period, though, as Benteke netted his first before two more goals from the Belgian made it a rout. Granted, there were elements of luck about Benteke's first and third, but that shouldn't hide the fact that the Sunderland on show tonight were much more like the side that led to Martin O'Neill's sacking, not the team that defeated local rivals Newcastle United in Di Canio's second game in charge.
Sports Mole's man of the match
Christian Benteke: Who else? The Belgian has now scored 13 goals in 15 games in 2013. He finishes well, is positionally astute and has the physicality to stand himself out from the crowd.
This award has to go to Sunderland's David Vaughan tonight. The midfielder had only been on as a substitute for a few minutes when he overhit a pass back to John O'Shea, presenting Gabriel Agbonlahor with a free run at goal, and the Englishman made no mistake by rounding Simon Mignolet to make it six.
Lee Probert was having a fairly easy night at the office but controversially sent off Sessegnon. The Sunderland frontman was late and did have his studs up when challenging Yacouba Sylla, but there appeared to be little malice in the challenge and a straight red seemed harsh. Sunderland may appeal the decision as they're set to miss him for the final three games, but it's unlikely the FA will overturn the decision.
Villa: Next up for Villa is a trip to Lambert's former home Carrow Road to take on Norwich on Saturday.
Sunderland: The Black Cats, meanwhile, welcome Stoke to the Stadium of Light in a week's time.