Aston Villa run riot to pile pressure on Sunderland's Gus Poyet
Aston Villa`s Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor both scored twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Sunderland that left Black Cats boss Gus Poyet fighting to save his job on Saturday.
London: Aston Villa`s Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor both scored twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Sunderland that left Black Cats boss Gus Poyet fighting to save his job on Saturday.
Villa, who had scored only four Premier League goals away from home all season, doubled their tally inside 44 minutes at the Stadium of Light to climb above Sunderland, who drop to fourth bottom after six games without a win.
That left Poyet to face a gauntlet of hate as the former Chelsea midfielder was confronted by angry supporters close to his dug-out before the majority of the 45,746 crowd, the biggest of the season at home, voted with their feet as they trudged away long before the final whistle.
Villa`s third successive win, two of them in the league after seven consecutive defeats, eased Tim Sherwood`s men six points clear of the relegation zone and maintained the feelgood factor after they reached the FA Cup semi-finals last weekend.
Given the game kicked off with no Premier League side having scored fewer goals than Villa and Sunderland their closest rivals for that dubious honour, the prospect of a thrill-a-minute encounter was a distant one.
However, inside 44 soul-sapping minutes for Sunderland, rampant Villa had left the hosts in tatters.
Villa had not scored on the road in the league since Benteke`s strike at Crystal Palace on December 2, but they remedied that situation inside 16 minutes on Wearside when Charles N`Zogbia flicked the ball around full-back Patrick van Aanholt to Leandro Bacuna.
He charged upfield before squaring for Belgium international Benteke to side-foot past Costel Pantilimon with the help of a slight deflection off John O`Shea.
O`Shea was more culpable two minutes later when he failed to cut out Ciaran Clark`s long ball and Agbonlahor ran in to beat Pantilimon with ease to make it 2-0.
The home side`s woes increased within minutes as N`Zogbia and Bacuna combined to play Agbonlahor in, and he cut inside Wes Brown before calmly slotting the ball past Pantilimon for a second time.
A mass walk-out which had started after the second goal grew in size and several fans had to be led away by stewards after heading towards the dug-out to berate Poyet.
But their pain was far from over and Benteke extended the lead a minute before the break when he powered a header home from another Bacuna cross.
The boos which greeted the half-time whistle were deafening, and they were repeated as the players returned with striker Connor Wickham having replaced midfielder Ricky Alvarez, but played the opening three and a half minutes with only 10 men as Sebastian Larsson missed the restart.
Villa might have increased their lead during the Sweden international`s absence, but Pantilimon produced a good save to keep out N`Zogbia`s curling effort.