Gus Poyet made three changes to the Sunderland side as he 'freshened things up' after the defeat to Hull.
Connor Wickham returned to the side on the left, while Wes Brown was restored to the centre of the defence with South American duo Ricky Alvarez and Sebastian Coates making way. Lee Cattermole, meanwhile, was afforded a well-earned rest, with Liam Bridcutt deputising.
There was no place at all for Jack Rodwell, who was presumably injured.
Sunderland (4-3-3): Costel Pantilimon, Santiago Vergini, Billy Jones, John O'Shea, Wes Brown, Liam Bridcutt, Jordi Gomez, Seb Larsson, Adam Johnson, Connor Wickham, Steven Fletcher.
Subs: Vito Mannone, Lee Cattermole, Jozy Altidore, Ricky Alvarez, Sebatsian Coates, Emanuele Giaccherini, Will Buckley.
Aston Villa: Brad Guzan, Alan Hutton, Ron Vlaar, Ciaran Clark, Aly Cissokho, Tom Cleverley, Fabian Delph, Carlos Sanchez, Charles N'Zogbia, Andreas Weimann, Christian Benteke.
Subs: Shay Given, Jores Okore, Leandro Bacuna, Chris Herd, Matthew Lowton, Callum Robinson, Jack Grealish.