On October 17th, Sunderland will travel to the Hawthorns to take on West Bromwich Albion. After going eight games without a win, Dick Advocaat resigned as Sunderland boss. Now Sam Allardyce will manage his first game as Sunderland boss. The former Newcastle boss is Sunderland’s ninth manager in the last 10 years, but he’ll hope he can keep the job and keep the Black Cats in the Premier League. Tony Pulis came to the Albion last season with a similar job. He kept them in the league and is looking to build on that this season. With both teams in the bottom four at the moment, they will both be desperate for the victory.
It may be Sam Allardyce’s first game as Sunderland manager, but he is still carrying some of the problems from the old regime. Jermaine Lens will miss out after his red card against West Ham. They’ll also be without Adam Matthews as it looks like his ankle injury will keep him out at least one more week. Ola Toivonen, Yones Kaboul, and Yann M’Vila are all injury doubts for the match.
The Baggies have injury doubts of their own. Goalkeeper Ben Foster is still out after he suffered a set back in his recovery from his ACL injury. Jonny Evans, James Morrison, and Jonas Olsson are all doubts as they go into the match as well.
Tony Pulis’s last three matches against Sunderland have ended in draws with three of those being 0-0s. Sunderland are unbeaten in their last three games against West Brom, after having lost the previous four in a row and seven out of the previous eight. While they have the best defensive record in the league away from home, Tony Pulis’s side actually have the second worst defensive record at home, with only Leicester City conceding more goals at home this season.
West Bromwich Albion: Salomon Rondon
The Venezuelan has got off to a relatively slow start at the Hawthorns with only one goal in his first seven appearances. Rondon and Saido Berahino have looked like they could be a decent partnership at times this season though. The Baggies have scored a league low six goals, so that partnership flourishing could be the difference between West Brom staying up or going down.
Sunderland: Steven Fletcher
Sunderland are another team who struggle for goals. They only have two more than the Baggies with eight this season, and scored the second fewest goals in the league last season. They’ll hope Steven Fletcher can help solve their goals problem. The Scottish striker is coming off a hat-trick with his national team and had already scored 25% of his clubs’ league goals this season, despite making only two starts. The Black Cats will need Fletcher and others to find their scoring boots consistently this season if they are to avoid the drop.
While anything can happen in the Premier League, this match probably won’t be a goalfest. These are two of the lowest scoring teams in the Premier League and, with Sam Allardyce now in charge at the Stadium of Light, two of the more defensive managers in the league. Both managers pride themselves on being able to keep it tight at the back and neither focus on playing the best football. This could end as an incredible game, but it will more than likely end as a drab low scoring game.
Prediction: 0-0 Draw