Sunderland take on Southampton this weekend and I was thinking about where to start with this but yeah.. here we go. Sunderland… Sunderland… Sunderland… A 6-2 defeat at Everton last weekend when things started to look good only a week before when they smashed their rivals Newcastle, 3-0. They have lost five of their last seven matches in the Premier League, picking up just four points over the same stretch, with just one win from their last nine in all competitions.
Sunderland will be happy to be back on home soil this week though, having been beaten just twice in their five fixtures at the Stadium of Light so far, compared with five defeats in six games away from home. The team’s loss to Everton leaves them with the worst defence in the top flight, having conceded 25 goals in their 11 outings so far, while keeping just one clean sheet. The Saints on the other hand are unbeaten in five, winning three and drawing two. After an indifferent start to the season, Southampton have started to show some consistency that helped them finish seventh last season. Their away form however, is a problem though. They have won only once in their last five visits, surprisingly losing none.
Lee Cattermole could be set to miss this game due to injury for the Blackcats
Victor Wanyama is out with suspension for the Saints along with long term absentees Florin Gardos and Fraser Forster. Shane Long, Jay Rodriguez and Jose Font are doubtful for this game.
– Since beating Southampton in May, Sunderland have won one of their last six Barclays Premier League matches at the Stadium of Light (W1 D3 L2) and that was last time out against Newcastle United.
– Last season Southampton inflicted Sunderland’s heaviest ever BPL defeat when they won 8-0 at St Mary’s Stadium.
– Southampton have won one of their last 12 league away matches (W1 D5 L6), but are unbeaten in the last five (W1 D4).
– Southampton’s Sadio Mane has been directly involved in seven goals in his last eight league matches (three goals, four assists).
– Saints have now scored the most headed goals in the BPL this season (six); twice as many as they did in 2014/15 overall.
– Graziano Pelle has attempted more headed shots than any other top-flight player this season (16), scoring with three of these.
Recent Form and H2H
Jermaine Defoe – Sunderland
Sunderland need goals and who better to score them than Defoe. Big Sam knows exactly how to get the best out of his players and he certainly has a player in Defoe whom he can trust to get the goals. Defoe has scored 3 goals this season in 7 games with two shots per game and a passing success rate of 77.7 percent. Sunderland have all the pieces to complete the puzzle; they just have to put them together correctly.
Graziano Pelle – Southampton
The Italian has been in sublime form this season with ten goals and two assists this term; six of the goals coming in the Premier League. He also averages four shots on goal a game. Teammate Steven Davis said, Pelle is ‘vital’ to his side as he heaped praises on the striker:
“I think he plays a vital role. everybody knows we like to try and play football, but he also gives us that outlet if we want to go a little bit more direct and he can cause teams a lot of problems. We can play off him and he’s probably one of the best in the league in terms of doing that, so he’s been magnificent for us. Obviously, the goals that he’s scored as well, you can see he’s playing full of confidence.”
… he added. With Southampton’s attacking prowess and Sunderland’s defensive frailties, Pelle is more than likely to score in this fixture.
Sunderland have to turn up in this game to get something out of it. They can’t put in another performance like they did at Goodison. Thoroughly expect the Saints to do the job here.
Sunderland 0-2 Southampton.