Wednesday night see’s Capital One Cup Finalists Sunderland welcome Stoke City to the Stadium of Light for what could be a relegation six pointer.
Although Stoke sit 5 points about Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League they are only 4 points ahead of the home team. A win for Sunderland will see them close the gap to only 1 point and could move them out of the bottom 3.
Sunderland are full of confidence off the back of their win on penalties at Old Trafford in the Semi-Final of the Capital one cup, whereas Stoke are coming into the game of the back of a defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup fourth round.
Sunderland’s home league form is terrible. They have not won a league game at the Stadium of Light since a 1-0 victory against table topping Manchester City on November 10th. In their last 5 Premier League Games they have 2 wins, 2 draws and a defeat.
Stoke City go into the game without victory in their last 5 games. They have lost 4 and drawn 1. There last win was back on the 21st of December against Aston Villa and their last away victory was away at West Ham United on 31st August 2013.
There have been red cards in three of the last four Barclays Premier League meetings between Sunderland and Stoke.
Adam Johnson has scored four goals in his last two Premier League appearances.
There have been just five goals scored in the last four Premier League games between Stoke and Sunderland.
Stoke have won 61% of their aerial duels this season, by some way the highest proportion in the top-flight.
Sunderland have picked up 1.1 points per game in the matches (12 games) Lee Cattermole has started this season but only 0.5 in those he hasn’t (10 games).
Sunderland should be at full strength for this game as their only injury concerns are long term casualties Carlos Cuellar with a Hip/Thigh injury and goalkeeper Kieran Westwood with a shoulder problem. Manager Gus Poyet has recalled Striker Connor Wickham from his loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday. New loan signing Santiago Vergini will be hoping to make his Premier League debut after arriving on loan earlier this month.
Stoke also have very little to worry about on the injury front. They will still be without the long term injured trio of Matthew Etherington (calf) Andy Wilkinson (ankle) and Robert Huth ( knee).
Manager Mark Hughes has released Jermaine Pennant from his deal so he will no longer be appearing for Stoke City.
One deal Mark Hughes will hope to have completed by Wednesday day is the swap deal between Kenwyne Jones and Cardiff’s Peter Odemwingie. If that deal does go through, expect to see Odemwingie at some point during the game.
The Italian forward has impressed during his loan spell from Liverpool. So much so that many Liverpool fans are asking for him to be recalled. That’s not an option however and his recent form is an excellent sign for this Sunderland team as they attempt to move out of the bottom 3.
Playing mainly from the left hand side, Borini has created 5 chnces and attempted 18 crosses so far.
Former Liverpool striker Crouch has been Stoke’s most creative player so far this season. With 7 clear cut chances and 4 league goals to his name it is clear that all of Stoke’s good attacking play comes from him.
Sunderland will be desperate to take their cup form into their league form, especially at home. Stoke will be desperate to stop the run of defeats.
Two desperate teams should equal a not very entertaining game. I think that both teams will be scared to express themselves and it will be a very dull 1-1 draw.