Sunderland vs West Brom Preview | Team News, Stats & Key Men

Sunderland vs West Brom Preview | Team News, Stats & Key Men

These two rivals head into this game separated by just two points with West Brom sitting one place above Sunderland in 14th position. A win for either side could prove crucial in be race to secure Premier League survival with Sunderland potentially leapfrogging or falling behind their opponents.

West Brom are certainly the form team of the two after their thumping 4-0 win over West Ham in the weekend’s FA Cup programme whilst Sunderland were busy losing to Bradford City 2-1 – a low point in Gus Poyet’s reign that’s for sure.

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Team News

Sunderland

Black Cats manager Gus Poyet has six injuries to contend with this weekend but most could be fit depending on their success in training this week.

Jermaine Defoe (calf) is the main injury doubt for Poyet with fellow attacker Emanuele Giaccherini also suffering with illness. Will Buckley and Lee Cattermole could miss out with knee problems whilst Jack Rodwell struggles with a groin strain. Last of all, Anthony Reveillere is the final injury doubt with a hamstring injury.

West Brom

Tony Pulis has just two injuries to Victor Anichebe and Youssof Mulumbu to worry about with the pair struggling with groin and hamstring strains respectively.

Interesting Stats

– Stephane Sessegnon has scored in three of his last four starts in this fixture. Twice for Sunderland and once for West Brom.

– West Brom have recorded more wins over Sunderland than they have against any other Premier League side – 8.

Key Men

John O’Shea

John O’Shea has proved to be a shrewd signing for Sunderland after the Irishman’s long stay at Manchester United. The experienced 33 year old has often been Sunderland’s best player and has been key to keeping them in the Premier League since his move to the North East.

So far this season it’s been much the same despite the Premier League winner’s own goal in the FA Cup tie with Bradford City. O’Shea has won 43/69 of his headed duels which shows how powerful he can still be in the air despite his age. The Ireland capped centre-back has also won 27/47 of his attempted tackles which represents a respectable 57%.

Somewhat amazingly, O’Shea has completed 8/8 of his attempted take-ons which puts the pacey dribblers in the league to shame (not really). Defensively, O’Shea has completed a mammoth 40 interceptions at 1.8 per 90 minutes played.

O’Shea will certainly have to be at his defensive best to restore some of the feel good factor in Wearside.

Stephane Sessegnon

Sessegnon hasn’t quite had the season many expected of him but the former PSG attacker is still one of West Brom’s better players and he’s a danger to any Premier League side on his day.

In this campaign, Sessegnon has struggled for goals with just the one to his name so far. However, the Beninese playmaker has created 30 chances with three registered assists – which isn’t too bad in a West Brom side that struggled pre-Tony Pulis. Sessegnon has completed 47% of his attempted take-ons this season which represents a decent return that could also be improved upon – I’d like to see the former Sunderland man hovering above the 50% mark.

Prediction

My prediction for this game is 2-1 to West Brom. I’m sure Sunderland will be desperate to bounce back from their FA Cup embarrassment but the Baggies have just started to come to life under Pulis and the squad is riding high with minimal injuries and great confidence.