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Aston Villa v Sunderland: Three points is very important

I'm not going to go into details, let me just repeat what the title of this post tells you; three points tonight are very important. So, we will find out if the Chelsea result was more down to Chelsea than the Aston Villa players.

I want it to be the Aston Villa players and I hope it is, but we won't find out for a few hours. Dare I say it, we need a performance that shows us the players are serious about this football club.

Sunderland are a team to be taken seriously. They currently sit sixth in the League and while you could argue that the League is a shambles this season, the table never lies. They are sixth because they deserve to be sixth.

Football clichés

At the end of the day however, the season isn't about one game and it's not a sprint. However, we are well into this season and there can be no excuses. Almost all of the players that will play tonight finished sixth last season and we saw against Chelsea at the weekend that it is possible, while playing 451, to score goals.

And, we played a variation of 451 at the weekend. We have to do it again, but we have to put the focus on Gabby getting forward and whoever is on the right getting forward too. But the most two players must also know that tracking back, closing down channels and breaking up play is the most important part of what they have to do tonight.

Early team news

There is talk, even though I mention him above, that Gabby won't make the game tonight, but it is just talk. If I was a betting man, I'd put money on the team that started against Chelsea starting tonight and I don't think I have to explain my reasoning.

I am a little hopeful, if Gabby is not available, that Downing will play on the left and Albrighton will play on the right, but that is more about me wanting to see younger players that will come good, get the chance. I'd also like to see Bannan play in a five man midfield with a little freedom, as I think that will help his game, but again, I'm hoping.

January speculation

I'm starting to get a little fed up already of the speculation. The latest one I've read is that Stephen Warnock is considering his future after getting dropped for the Chelsea game. Now, it wouldn't surprise me if he left one day, we all have to hang up our boots one day, but I can't why any of us should believe this right now. It was only one game and he might have needed the rest.

There will be players leaving this window, there has to be for the manager to really make changes, but we will know when we know. John Carew to Leicester sounds interesting, but I think he can get a Premier League club, but I also think he'll probably go to Turkey or Greece.

As for players coming in, the truth is, we have a manager that is likely to be looking in France and while I am sure there is one or two of us that read the French papers or have a very good knowledge of French players, the chances are, whoever comes in, is going to be a surprise package.

So, while we are only five days into January, I'm already sick of it. Also a little surprised nothing has happened, but I really do think it will happen soon. Every day that goes by this month is a day wasted and in our position, every day the player is training with his new team, is important.

Live updates, banter and team news

So, as and when we get anything about the match, we will update here. Team news will come about an hour before the match and throughout the match there will be updates here and on Twitter. If you were wanting to watch the match on your PC, or stream it through your PS3 or HTPC - you can get it here.