A Relegation Battle Six Pointer Heads to Wales
Last updated: December 9, 2016 by Leon Marshal
|Last season:||Swansea 2 – 4 Sunderland|
|Competition:||The Premier League|
We’re not even at the halfway point in the season yet, but it’s fair to say that this match up at the Liberty on Saturday is a real six pointer. Two points and one place separate the teams heading into this one, with Swansea swapping positions with Sunderland at the foot of the table, after the Black Cats registered an impressive third win in four against the champions Leicester last week. Both teams still sit in the relegation zone however. As we approach the hectic christmas period, both managers will know the bad omens that being in the relegation zone at the turn of the year brings; only three teams have escaped relegation after being bottom at Christmas.
Despite playing at home, it’s Swansea that will be most tense heading into this one. Pressure is piling and the win against Crystal Palace a fortnight ago has been quickly forgotten, after a five goal drubbing by Spurs last week. Scoring goals doesn’t seem to be the problem. Rather, the Swans have only done enough to win a fixture twice, suggesting a stronger defence and mentality is needed. Bob Bradley will have a decision to make whether to start one of Bastón or Llorente up front with Sigurdsson in support, or to play the Icelandic international up top. Sigurdsson is undoubtedly the key man, with a goal, assist or both in four of the last five games.
Sunderland have turned their season around over the last month and will smell blood here. A thrilling victory against Leicester last week made it three wins from their last four games, which was enough to lift them off the bottom of the table. The Black Cat’s form away from home is poor though, which is the one aspect working against them here, but it’s perhaps fair to say that Sunderland’s season has just started and we should focus on their form from the last four weeks. Jermaine Defoe already has eight this season and his goals could be the difference between the two sides.
Bob Bradley has been experimenting to find his preferred line up so some rotation is expected. Federico Fernández is the only defender likely to not be in contention through a toe injury.
Up front, the focus will be on whether Sigurdsson plays as a striker or Bradley opts for either Llorente or Bastón to lead the line.
Sunderland still have a number of injuries and Moyes will be hoping defender Jason Denayer is passed fit to play. Duncan Watmore is the newest key injury and the youngster looks set to miss the rest of the season.
Victor Anichebe may join Defoe up front as Moyes opts for a more attacking line up against the struggling Swans, after Anichebe played a more defensive role against Liverpool and Everton.
|Swansea (4-2-3-1):||Fabianski, Naughton, van der Hoorn, Amat, Taylor, Cork, Fulton, Fer, Barrow, Sigurdsson, Montero|
|Subs:||Mawson, Britton, Llorente, Bastón, Nordfeldt, Routledge, Rangel|
|Doubtful:||Fernández, Ki Sung-yeung|
|Sunderland (4-4-2):||Pickford, Jones, Koné, Djilobodji, van Aanholt, Januzaj, Ndong, Denayer, Kirchoff, Defoe, Anichebe|
|Subs:||Mannone, Larsson, Khazri, O’Shea, Manquillo, Pienaar, Larsson|
|Injured:||McNair, Watmore, Rodwell, Gooch, Cattermole, Borini|
So far this season
|Swansea City this season||Sunderland this season|
|1 (1)||(at home) Wins (away)||2 (1)|
|5-4 vs. Crystal Palace||Biggest win||3-0 vs. Hull|
|2 (1)||(at home) Draws (away)||1 (1)|
|0-5 vs. Tottenham||Biggest Defeat||1-4 vs. Arsenal||Leroy Fer (6)||Top scorer||Jermaine Defoe (8)|
|Gylfi Sigurdsson (4)||Assist Leader||Duncan Watmore (2)|
|Y25, R0||Discipline||Y31, R3|
|4||Failures to score||5|
|9||Both Teams to Score Games||9|
|9||Over 2.5 Games||8|
|5||Under 2.5 Games||6|
- A large portion of the Swans games have featured both teams scoring, while more than half featured over 2.5 goals also. With just two clean sheets to their name, goals at both ends are likely here.
- Sunderland too appear to be both scoring and conceeding most of the time, though they have failed to score one more time than Swansea. With the team now in fine form, they look likely to find the net here though.
- Home advantage should help Swansea. Their form at the Liberty has barely been better than away from it though, with just one extra draw the only difference between Swansea’s home and away performances.
- The Black Cats have just one clean sheet to their name, which came against struggling Hull. Swansea have only failed to score at home twice this season, so a Sunderland clean sheet looks unlikely.
Head to Head
|Last 5 meetings between the two sides|
|Date||Competition||Game Result||First Goal-scorer|
|13/01/2016||Premier League||Swansea 2 – 4 Sunderland||Defoe 3′|
|22/08/2015||Premier League||Sunderland 1 – 1 Swansea||Gomis 45′|
|07/02/2015||Premier League||Swansea 1 – 1 Sunderland||Defoe 42′|
|27/09/2014||Premier League||Sunderland 0 – 0 Swansea||—|
|11/05/2014||Premier League||Sunderland 1 – 3 Swansea||Dyer 7′|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
This is a key fixture for both teams and they should both be fired up. It could come down to who wants it more, rather than technical ability or skill. It’s tough to say who will emerge victors then, as those who are hungrier on the day have the best shot. It’s a very tricky one to call and at a push we fancy Sunderland. The bookies clearly don’t however and with Sunderland’s away record, it’s a long shot. There are much better options in the goals markets and all the signs suggest there will be goals here. We’ll be backing both to teams to score at 4/6 or over 2.5 goals at 4/5. You can these prices at bet365.