Sunderland travel to the Brittania Stadium on 25th April in yet another important fixture as they flirt with the possibility of relegation. Sitting in the 16th position before the match day and just a point ahead of the 18th place Leicester, Sunderland fans could find themselves in despair at the end of the match. While Stoke themselves have not been in great form, garnering a measly 7 points out of possible 18 in the last 6 games, they haven’t been as consistently shambolic as their visitors have been this season.
Long term absentee Peter Odemwingie has returned to training but should remain out for the game against the Black Cats. Attackers Bojan Krkic and Victor Moses remain out for the season with their respective injuries. However, there is some good news for the hosts as Marc Muniesa and Stephen Ireland are believed to be in contention for the game.
Sunderland will be without the services of several key players. Adam Johnson has made the headlines for the wrong reasons and it is unlikely he will be in the picture come Saturday. Midfielder Seb Larsson remains suspended for this game while Giaccherini, Brown and Alvarez remain sidelined.
- This will be the 135th meeting between these sides in all competitions.
- Of the 134 games played between the sides, 62 have been won by Sunderland, 41 by Stoke, while the rest have ended as draws.
- At home Stoke have won 33 of their 66 ties against the Black Cats.
Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Peiters, N’Zonzi, Whelan, Adam, Arnautovic, Walters, Diouf
Pantilimon, Jones, Vergini, O’Shea, Aanholt, Gomez, Cattermole, Rodwell, Wickham, Fletcher, Defoe
Mame Biram Diouf
The 27 year old Senegalese striker currently leads the scoring charts for his club with 9 goals in 29 appearances. With a shot accuracy in excess of 50%, the striker will remain a constant threat to the Sunderland defence till he is on the pitch. The striker has shown good prowess in the air winning close to 45% of his aerial duels and in a team like Stoke which have players like Crouch and Walters to finish the chances and the likes of Adam to float in the long balls, Diouf’s abilities find more meaning. He will be looking to get into double figures with a goal or two against the susceptible Sunderland defence and should he get going, he might prove too hot to handle for the Black Cats.
The fact that Wickham has scored just 4 goals this season, but sits atop the scoring charts for Sunderland alongside Fletcher and Johnson speaks volumes about the abysmal season the club is having. The ever industrious attacker has been pivotal to the side having made 30 appearances this season. The Sunderland man relishes a physical battle and will have one at hand against the likes of Shawcross. Should he come out on top against an often stubborn defence, Sunderland will have something to take away from this game.
|2014/2015||Sunderland||3 – 1||Stoke City||Premier League|
|Sunderland||1 – 2||Stoke City||League Cup|
|2013/2014||Sunderland||1 – 0||Stoke City||Premier League|
|Stoke City||2 – 0||Sunderland||Premier League|
|2012/2013||Sunderland||1 – 1||Stoke City||Premier League|
We expect Stoke to beat Sunderland at home by a fine margin. While a lot of people have expected Sunderland to turn up and turn around the tide, that has not happened so far. We expect their abysmal form to continue in the game to come.