A truly forgettable game ends in a stalemate which leaves Villa still struggling at the wrong end of the table. Bendtner's disallowed goal for an adjudged offside is a talking point, while former Villa man Craig Gardner's late red card was enjoyed by the home fans. But overall it was a dire contest. O'Neill maintains his unbeaten record against Villa, who he used to manage.
90 + 3
FULL-TIME: VILLA 0 SUNDERLAND 0
The Villa fans very much enjoy the dismissal of their former player, who supports Birmingham. Gardner, with his brother watching from the Villa bench, is sent off for a second booking after challenging Albrighton. Replays suggest he did not really catch Albrighton, but the intent was there.
90 + 2
RED CARD FOR CRAIG GARDNER
90 + 1
Sunderland have the chance to loop the ball into the Villa penalty area from a free-kick. Cuellar heads away Larsson's delivery.
ADDED TIME: There will be a minimum of three minutes added time before the final whistle.
Lichaj carries the ball almost the length of the pitch. But then, after giving the ball away, he fouls Colback, who had done well to track back.
Groans all around Villa Park as Weimann, who has been the man of the match, breaks into the penalty area, but then cuts back, tees up Bannan and the substitute blasts well over the bar.
McClean makes some room when up against Hutton on the left. But the winger over-hits his cross and sends the ball behind for a goal-kick.
This looks like it could be a nervy finish for Villa as we approach the 90th minute. I'm not sure any team deserves anything more than a point today.
Turner's challenge on Weimann on the left wing looks a little heavy-handed. Villa's fans want a free-kick, but referee Taylor waves play on.
Villa make their final change of the afternoon. N'Zogbia, who was poor, is replaced by Bannan.
Excellent, teasing cross from Albrighton on the left. Weimann cannot quite stretch to meet the ball at the back post.
At the risk of repeating myself, Sunderland have a corner. Larsson drives the ball to the six-yard box and almost finds Turner. Villa scramble the ball clear.
Another good clearance from Baker, who has had a good game this afternoon.
Bendtner is off to be replaced by Fraizer Campbell.
Villa move straight up the other end of the field and win their own corner. But N'Zogbia's set-pieces have been dreadful and, again, the winger picks out a Sunderland defender.
Another Sunderland corner. Larsson zips the ball to the near post and Bendtner flicks on, but Villa can clear.
Sunderland are now the team in the ascendancy, but Villa are looking to break with a long ball towards N'Zogbia or Weimann's pace at every opportunity.
This really is an open game. If the teams had taken their chances, it could have been a cricket score.
Bendtner thinks he has scored, but the referee's assistant's flag had been raised in good time from Larsson's cross. Replays suggest it is an incredibly tight call in a game as close as this. That good be a major slice of luck for Villa. Bendtner looked to be onside.
Another Heskey flick-on from a long ball almost gets Weimann in on goal. But Mignolet is off his line to gather.
This has been an identical pattern to the first half. End-to-end football, but no real end product. It is easy to see why Sunderland have not scored in three successive league matches.
Larsson's corner is swung in with pace. But Kilgallon cannot quite get his head to the ball and Villa escape.
Sunderland have found some momentum and are building some pressure. McClean wins a corner from Hutton.
Free-kick to Sunderland wide on the left. Larsson launches the ball towards the back post, but the Villa defence can head clear.
Sunderland remain on the attack and a low cross finds Larsson at the back post. But the midfielder faces a tight angle and fires over the bar.
A rare Sunderland attack in the second half as Sessegnon gets clear down the left. The ball eventually falls for Bendtner, but he is denied by a goal-line clearance from Ireland. Fine tracking back from the Villa midfielder.
Cynical from Bendtner on Albrighton as the Sunderland striker prevents a counter-attack with a launching, sliding challenge. Bendtner is correctly booked.
Villa are in danger of going a little too direct in the closing minutes and they need to avoid turning to hit-and-hope football.
Free-kick to Villa, which is curled into the Sunderland box from wide on the right. But, in a story of their season, McLeish's men have been very poor from set-pieces. The ball is cleared by Sunderland.
Sunderland's defenders hesitate inside their own area and Weimann almost latches on to the bouncing ball before Mignolet can claim.
Weimann's pace is causing problems. Sunderland are beginning to look a little ragged.
McLeish did not look too happy in his dugout that Mignolet was not at least booked.
From the resulting corner, Villa again fail to capitalise. Regarding the Mignolet handball, Weimann would have latched onto the ball. It is very strange that the Sunderland goalkeeper did not face any card from referee Taylor.
Weimann takes the free-kick and it deflects off the wall for a corner. Struggling to understand why Mignolet was not at least booked if he was guilty of handball.
Mignolet is adjudged to have carried the ball outside of his area after sliding to collect a Heskey flick-on. Referee Taylor gives a handball and a free-kick, but decides not to take any further action against Mignolet.
A few challenges are flying in midfield. But there is still a real lack of quality. It has been a poor match.
Another corner to Villa, but they again make a real mess of the set-piece. N'Zogbia puts far too much power on the ball and it is a throw-in on the far side of the pitch. Shocking corners from Villa.
McClean should have done better. Sessegnon does excellently down the right and crosses for his team-mate. McClean times his run to get a foot to the ball. But, from six yards out, he prods over the ball.
Albrighton takes the corner this time, but it is very poor and only picks out Gardner, who can clear with ease.
N'Zogbia is then a little lucky to win another corner after running into a crowd of Sunderland defenders.
N'Zogbia takes the set-piece. But it is easily headed clear by the Sunderland defence.
Some good build-up from Villa down the right wins a corner off Bardsley.
Weimann again looks to charge in behind the Sunderland defence. But he has to check his run and is offside.
Unfortunately, the opening five minutes of this second half have been disrupted by the booking and the substitution. We are still waiting for any real pattern to develop.
Booking for Craig Gardner after a blatant trip on Baker in midfield.
Agbonlahor cannot continue with his shoulder problem and is replaced by Heskey.
Poor finish from Weimann, again. He latches onto a through ball, but fails to shoot across the goal and instead finds the side-netting.
Ironic jeers among the home fans as Craig Gardner runs on to a long ball, but, from inside the penalty area, shanks high over the crossbar.
Villa really need a win today to ease any relegation fears. They are just lacking that real touch of goalscoring class.
WE'RE BACK: Villa get the second half under way.
The teams are making their way back on to the pitch for the second half.
Gary Cheal says: "This looks like it has got a draw written all over it."
Katie Taylor says: "Hoping that Sunderland break their recent losing streak and beat Aston Villa today, like we all know they can."
Not a classic. Sunderland's problems in front of goal are continuing, while Villa are clearly lacking in confidence. Villa lost Collins to injury late in the first half. Bendtner will be disappointed he did not do better with a header from the best chance of a forgettable first half. Let me have your thoughts on the first half at firstname.lastname@example.org or via twitter @SkySportsPeteF.
45 + 2
HALF-TIME: VILLA 0 SUNDERLAND 0
45 + 1
O'Shea does not read a run from Bendtner and as a result the Sunderland captain's through ball can bounce along to Given. That has summed up the first half.
ADDED TIME: There will be a minimum of two minutes added time before half-time.
Corner to Villa. N'Zogbia's delivery is headed clear by Turner.
Change for Villa. It is not Agbonlahor, but Collins who has to go off, with a suspected groin injury. Hutton is on as a replacement. He is playing at right-back and Cuellar has moved to the centre.
Agbonlahor is back on the pitch after going off to receive treatment.
Agbonlahor is again dumped on the deck and does not look to be in a good condition. He has a problem with his shoulder. The physio is on to look at the Villa captain.
Agbonlahor does still not look 100 per cent and probably has a problem with his shoulder from that early fall.
Poor miss from Bendtner. McClean speeds on to the ball and manages to cross before the byline. But, from four yards, Bendtner heads over the bar. The ball might have been slightly too high for the Sunderland striker, but he will still be disappointed.
McLeish and O'Neill, who are of course former Old Firm rivals from their respective Rangers and Celtic days, are both out and stalking around their technical areas.
Terrible free-kick from McClean, who blasts into the feet of the wall and Ireland then completes the defending with a long hoof up field. Not the Premier League at its finest.
Free-kick to Sunderland on the byline on the right side of the Villa box after Herd tugged the shirt of Larsson, who went down a little easily.
With 10 minute plus added time to half-time, Weimann's effort into the side-netting has been the only real goalscoring chance of note.
From that Cuellar attack, the ball eventually falls to Ireland. But he blasts well over and wide of the goal.
It has been a good couple of minutes for Cuellar, who is returning to the team. He tackles McClean and then sets off on an attack.
Cuellar has the chance to jink into the Sunderland box from the right. But Colback tracks back with excellent discipline and tackles before clearing.
Both managers will want to get their team at half-time and encourage a bit of patience and quality in their build-up.
Cuellar puts far too much on an attempted pass to Weimann
It is all very kick and rush so far in the opening half-an-hour. Someone needs to put a foot on the ball and pick a few passes.
Side-netting from the lively Weimann. He showed good feet to bundle past two or three Sunderland defenders. But then from a tight angle, he shots at the near post rather than firing across the face of goal.
Cuellar then gives away a free-kick inside his own half. Larsson takes the set-piece. But has his hands on his head after putting far too much power on the delivery. Goal-kick to Villa.
The ball falls at the feet of Agbonlahor inside the Sunderland box after a cross from Cuellar. But Agbonlahor's first touch lets him down.
Replays of the earlier Weimann claim for a foul show referee Taylor made an excellent decision in waving play on. There could have been calls for a red card for Turner if a foul had been awarded.
The resulting free-kick is whipped in low by McClean. Villa defend at the near post.
Just as I say that, Bendtner wins a free-kick wide on the right after holding the ball up and showing strength to repel three Villa defenders.
Sunderland are struggling to get Bendtner into the game. But Sessegnon is looking a threat when he has the ball at his feet.
There has, though, been a lack of quality in the respective final thirds. Albrighton curls wide after darting in from the left.
Both teams are attacking at every opportunity. It is an end-to-end match and similar to a cup game.
Villa fans mark the 19th minute with non-stop applause for their former captain Stiliyan Petrov, who had to retire in order to fight leukaemia.
Villa are screaming for a free-kick after Weimann trips. The Villa man's pace had got in behind Sunderland. But referee Taylor correctly observes that Turner did not break his stride and it was simply a tangle of ankles.
Agbonlahor is perhaps a little lucky to avoid a booking after overrunning the ball and then clattering into Kilgallon. The Sunderland defender has to receive treatment.
N'Zogbia looks to take on Bardsley. He manages to dig out a cross. But Mignolet can claim on the stretch.
Sunderland launch another attack. But Bardsley sees headlines and hits a poor long-range effort well wide of the goal. A pass to Bendtner might have been the better option.
Sunderland move up the opposite end of the pitch and win their own corner. Turner meets the ball, but it is a simple catch for Given.
Villa never truly clear the corner and another cross towards Agbonlahor at the back post is just out of reach.
A fine, low save down to his left from Mignolet prevents N'Zogbia from opening the scoring after cutting in from the left. Corner to Villa.
Excellent cross from the left from McClean. No Sunderland player is attacking the ball and Herd can even allow the ball to bounce on the edge of the six-yard box before clearing the danger.
Not too much hostility towards O'Neill at present. Craig Gardner is the one on the end of the boo-boys at Villa Park.
A fine challenge from Craig Gardner just over the halfway line prevents N'Zogbia from setting off on a mazy dribble.
It is a slight worry for Villa's injury-hit attacking options as Agbonlahor crashes to the ground after a nasty fall. But he is back on his feet and looks to be okay.
Villa have started full of intent. But Ireland wants too much time on the edge of the Sunderland box. O'Neill's team break forward. However, an excellent challenge inside the 18-yard box from Collins stops Sessegnon in his tracks.
Agbonlahor wins a corner for Villa. After a short set-piece, Albrighton's cross is just too deep for Agbonlahor at the back post. Goal-kick to Villa.
Sunderland are attempting to take away some of the early sting from Villa by keeping hold of the ball with some short passing at every opportunity.
Craig Gardner gets his first touch of the afternoon and is booed by the Villa fans
Some neat build-up from Sunderland involving Sessegnon and Colback. But Bendtner then gives away possession on the edge of the Villa box.
Villa have started at a very high tempo and are trying to dominate Sunderland with strong challenges and speedy attacking.
Villa immediately on the attack and some rather nervy goalkeeping from Mignolet sees the shot-stopper charged down by Agbonlahor. Albrighton cannot quite pounce on the rebound.
KICK-OFF: Sunderland get the game going.
Here come the teams. Agbonlahor leads Villa out from the tunnel, while O'Shea is captaining Sunderland.
Heavy rain ahead of kick-off at Villa Park. Defenders will have to watch their tackles are carefully timed. Players with pace, such as Agbonlahor and Sessegnon, could look to exploit the conditions.
Adam Gillis says: "My prediction is 2-0 Sunderland so let's hope that's the case at 4.45 this evening."
Today's referee is Anthony Taylor.
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Rhys Gooch says: "I reckon a Sunderland win today. Our form has dipped lately, but the lads will pull it all back into place today. 2 - 0 score line to the Black Cats, with Sess netting both goals. HAWAY THE LADS!"
But let's not forget this is not all about O'Neill. Villa are only six points clear of the relegation zone and have played a game more than Bolton. Villa have only won one of their last 11 league games and, at home, they have only claimed victory in one of their last 10, scoring just eight goals in the process.
O'Neill is unbeaten in eight previous Premier League games against his former club, winning four and drawing four (all with Leicester).
Here's a round-up of the team news. Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish makes four changes. Defender Alan Hutton and midfielders Barry Bannan and Gary Gardner are relegated to the bench, while utility player Ciaran Clark was ruled out due to a head injury. Centre-back Carlos Cuellar, wingers Charles N'Zogbia and Marc Albrighton, and midfielder Chris Herd are recalled. Sunderland's former Villa boss, Martin O'Neill, recalls fit again John O'Shea in place of injured defender Kieran Richardson in the only change from the goalless draw with Wolves.
Jack Shephard says: "Martin O'Neill was very loose with finances, we had players like Habib Beye on almost 45k. Villa to win 2-1! Ireland & Gabs!"
Sean Thomas says: "2-1 Sunderland with Craig Gardner and Stephane Sessegnon for Sunderland and Craig's brother, Gary Gardner, sconring for Villa."
The form book does not exactly point to a thriller today, but let's hope for a good game. Sunderland have scored just six goals in 10 Premier League trips to Villa Park, and never more than once in a single match. Indeed, in 21 previous PL clashes, only one side has ever scored more than twice in a single match (Villa won 3-1 at home in November 2005).
Sunderland team: Mignolet, O'Shea, Bardsley, Turner, Kilgallon, Larsson, McClean, Colback, Gardner, Sessegnon, Bendtner. Subs: Bridge, Campbell, Vaughan, Dong-won, Meyler, Kyrgiakos, Westwood.
Sophie Isaac says: "Not a fan of either Aston Villa or Sunderland, but I think Aston Villa could just squeeze a win in this game with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Gary Gardner scoring to make it 2-0!!"
Karim Martin says: "Martin O'Neill worked wonders for Aston Villa and it's no surprise he's doing it at Sunderland. However, we need to win this game to go clear of the relegation zone, but I don't see us winning. So 2 -1 to Sunderland."
Lauren Andrews says: "Hopefully Sunderland can put an end to this losing streak with a 2-1 win. Sessegnon and Bendtner to score."
Aston Villa team: Given, Lichaj, Collins, Cuellar, Baker, Albrighton, Herd, Ireland, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Weimann. Subs: Hutton, Warnock, Heskey, Guzan, Bannan, Gardner, Carruthers.
All eyes will be on Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill this afternoon as he returns to Aston Villa, where he spent four years as boss before quitting in August 2010. He is predicted to receive a hostile reception. Admittedly his exit was a bit acrimonious, but he was otherwise excellent for Villa and I think he deserves some respect. Thoughts?
Hello and welcome to our live and interactive coverage of Aston Villa against Sunderland in the Premier League at Villa Park. You can get in touch throughout the afternoon at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @SkySportsPeteF. I will publish a selection of the best comments.