We may only be in the 15th week of the season but I think we have got are first bonafide six pointer of the season as a stricken Swansea play host to a rejuvenated Sunderland. It may be before the turn of the year but there is already a lot riding on this game in terms of the race to beat the drop.
And it’s Swansea who are in the most precarious position of all as they find themselves bottom of the table with the most leakiest defence in the league after conceding 31 goals in just 14 matches. On average that is more than 2 per game and they’ve conceded 9 in their last two matches.
After the frankly bizarre win they recorded over Crystal Palace a fortnight ago when they ran out 5-4 winners at The Liberty Stadium they were bought back down to earth with an almighty bump when Tottenham brushed them aside with an easy 5-0 win at White Hart Lane last Saturday.
If the win against Palace didn’t highlight defensive deficiencies then the defeat to Tottenham certainly would have. The hope that victory over Alan Pardew’s men would go on to galvanise the side did not come to fruition and once again the pressure is back on American Head Coach Bob Bradley.
But when you mention pressure some of it has been relieved from Bradley’s adversary David Moyes. He has led his Sunderland side to three wins from their last four matches. A run of form that has not only signaled the start of Sunderland’s season but it has lifted them to the heady heights of 18th in the table.
Many felt The Black Cats were already a lost cause by November but a maiden win of the season away at Bournemouth has set the wheels in motion and slowly but surely Sunderland are starting to become more of a cohesive unit.
There is still a lot of work to be done at The Stadium Of Light but all Moyes can do is take it one game at a game and overcome the task he is faced in the immediacy. Last Saturday they added to win against both Bournemouth and Hull with victory over champions Leicester.
After dominating the game for large spells they finally got their breakthrough when Robert Huth deflected Jan Kirchoff’s header into his own net and then who else but Jermaine Defoe made it 2-0. Shinji Okazaki’s late consolation made for a nervy finish but a spirited Sunderland saw the final few minutes out to earn a third win of the season.
That win did come at a coast though as youngster Duncan Watmore picked up a knee injury that will see him ruled out for the rest of the season. For a squad that is low on real quality the absence of Watmore will be a hammer blow for Moyes and it may well force him into the transfer market next month.
That issue can’t be resolved until at least another few weeks but the issue of getting out of the bottom three could well be solved with a win over Swansea this afternoon. The Swans are low on confidence and defensive stability and with Jermaine Defoe always worth a goal especially when it comes to all important fixtures I just think that Sunderland even without the talented Watmore will have enough to win.
It looks set to be more misery for Bob Bradley and Swansea as they are consigned to another defeat and are rooted to the bottom of the table. A Sunderland win for me.