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Player Ratings: Sunderland 0-4 Aston Villa

Sports Mole rates the performances of those involved in Aston Villa's 4-0 win at Sunderland in the Premier League.

Aston Villa gave their Premier League survival hopes a huge boost on Saturday with a resounding 4-0 win away to fellow strugglers Sunderland.

Christian Benteke fired the visitors into a 16th-minute lead before Gabriel Agbonlahor doubled their advantage just two minutes later.

An impressive first-half performance from Villa saw them score two more goals before the break as Agbonlahor and Benteke both found the net again to pile the misery on Sunderland and manager Gus Poyet.

Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at the individual performances of those involved on a dramatic afternoon at the Stadium of Light.


Jermain Defoe for Sunderland on January 31, 2015© Getty Images

SUNDERLAND

Goal

Costel Pantilimon: Despite conceding four goals, the shotstopper was afforded absolutely no protection from his defence throughout the game. Was little he could have done about any of the strikes. (6/10)

Defence

Anthony Reveillere: Never looked In control when Villa surged forward. Was often overwhelmed by the visitors' play out wide. (5/10)

John O'Shea: Made a bad mistake for the away team's second goal, which was a key moment in the match. Struggled all afternoon to get to grips with the likes of Agbonlahor and Benteke. (4/10)

Wes Brown: A casual spectator would have been forgiven for thinking that Brown had turned up at the ground a matter of seconds before kickoff, such was his ineffective display. For a player who blows hot and cold, this was icy. (4/10)

Patrick van Aanholt: Probably Sunderland's best defender on the day, though that is not saying much. At least he tried to get forward when he could. (5/10)

Midfield

Liam Bridcutt: A disappointing performance from the midfielder, who could not deal with Villa's ferocity in the middle of the pitch. (4/10)

Ricky Alvarez: Enjoyed one or two good attacking moments in the first half, so it was a surprise to see him hauled off during the interval. (6/10)

Sebastain Larsson: Offered little to the Black Cats when they were in need of some creativity. Was at the centre of a bizarre situation at the start of the second half when he came back onto the pitch a good three minutes after the restart. (5/10)

Jack Rodwell: Similar to the rest of his colleagues, Rodwell was absent for big chunks of the game. Had a couple of looks at goal, but he failed to make anything of them. (5/10)

Attack

Steven Fletcher: A frustrating afternoon for the Scot, who was mostly starved of service up front. Caused the Villa defence problems on a couple of occasions, though these were very rare indeed. (5/10)

Jermain Defoe: A spectre of his usual hustling self, Defoe drifted in and out of the game far too often. (4/10)

Substitutes

Connor Wickham: Injected a bit of urgency to Sunderland's forward play when he came off the bench at half time. Showed more of a have-a-go attitude than most of his teammates. (6/10)

Danny Graham: Only a fleeting appearance from Graham, who did little of note during his seven minutes on the pitch. (4/10)


Gabriel Agbonlahor of Aston Villa scores their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Aston Villa at Stadium of Light on March 14, 2015© Getty Images

ASTON VILLA

Goal

Brad Guzan: Was barely worked by the limp Sunderland attack, but he was alert when he needed to be. (6/10)

Defence

Leandro Bacuna: An excellent performance from the marauding full-back, who made a big impact in the final third for the visitors thanks to his powerful runs and smart crossing. (8/10)

Jores Okore: Was not afraid to put his foot in and assert himself on those odd occasions when the hosts pushed forward. (7/10)

Ciaran Clark: Worked well alongside Okore in the heart of Villa's defence. Made one last-ditch tackle on Fletcher that was very impressive indeed. (7/10)

Matt Lowton: A competent afternoon for the full-back as he stayed firm at the back while also helping to send the visitors on their way at the other end of the pitch by feeding the midfield. (7/10)

Midfield

Charles N'Zogbia: The star of the show. Was almost unstoppable when he got on the ball down the right wing. Continued running the Sunderland defence ragged before he was subbed late on. (9/10)

Fabian Delph: Villa's skipper on the day linked play brilliantly in the opposition half with his passing and vision, while he also got stuck when called upon with some robust tackling. (8/10)

Tom Cleverley: An understated showing from Cleverley, who kept the midfield ticking over with some neat passing and effective movement. (7/10)

Scott Sinclair: Was not as consistent as his teammates, though he provided plenty of danger from wide positions. Had a moment to forget in the first half when he somehow missed the net from about four yards out. (7/10)

Attack

Gabriel Agbonlahor: A rampant display from the forward. Looked more like his old, instinctive self in the box and was rewarded with a brace. (8/10)

Christian Benteke: Was more than a handful for the Sunderland defence. Bullied the likes of O'Shea and Brown about all day. Took both of his goals well, particularly his second which was a dominant header. (8/10)

Substitutes

Carlos Sanchez: Took little time to get involved in the action when he was introduced just after the hour. Gave the Villans an added physicality in midfield. (7/10)

Andreas Weimann: Could have torn Sunderland to shreds with his pace, but he instead failed to make an impact. (5/10)

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy: The teenager came on for his debut during the final 10 minutes and gave a good account of himself in midfield and attack. (6/10)


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Gabriel Agbonlahor of Aston Villa scores their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Aston Villa at Stadium of Light on March 14, 2015
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