As Aston Villa took on Sunderland last night it was deemed as a massive game for both sides as they continue their battle against that final relegation place.
With a change of manager in Paolo Di Canio, Sunderland have been somewhat revived in recent weeks, and a huge victory away to local rivals Newcastle helped massively in their battle to stay in the Premier League.
In comparison, the young lads at Aston Villa had to pull themselves up quickly this season, and with a lack of experience, they have found themselves suckered into the relegation battle as well.
And going into this crucial tie, a 3-0 defeat to Manchester United the previous week would hardly have had their young squads brimming with confidence.
But last night, the inexperienced group that Paul Lambert has stuck with throughout the season fired them to a quite emphatic 6-1 victory over the Black Cats, taking them clear of the drop zone by five points and overtaking Newcastle on goal difference in the process.
Villa took the lead on the half hour mark, with defender Ron Vlaar grabbing a rare goal, only for on-loan Spurs youngster Danny Rose to equalise just a minute later. It was one of Villa's gems from this season who gave them the lead at half time, as Andres Wiemann struck to hand Lambert the advantage going in at the interval. The second half was all Villa.
The name many would be excused for never hearing before this season, Christian Benteke, fired Villa to 4-1 up with two goals in five minutes. The impressive Belgian then rounded off his performance when he hit his hat-trick in the 72nd minute. If the points were not already certain, any chances of a fightback from Di Canio's men vanished when Sessegnon saw red for a challenge that many players would see a yellow card for.
And to rub salt into the wound Di Canio and Sunderland were already licking, fan favourite Gabby Agbonlahor made it six for Villa and Lambert with two minutes of normal time remaining.
Benteke's hat-trick meant he went on to set a new record at Villa in his first season. His 18th goal meant that he surpassed Dwight Yorke's record of 17 Premier League goals in a season. Despite the problems Villa have found themselves in, he has been one of the best signings of this Premier League season. And at just £7million he has proved to be a bargain buy considering his goals, and it is little wonder the big striker has been linked to moves elsewhere in the Premier League should Villa fail to survive.
The result meant that Villa join Sunderland and Newcastle on 37 points, all of them five above Wigan Athletic who occupy the final relegation place at present.
It ensured that the battle to avoid the drop will go on, and with Villa facing Wigan on the final day of the season, it was three points that Villa badly needed in their battle to stay up.
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