The nature of the bottom half of the Premier League this term says everything you need to know about this game; it’s a relegation-crunch tie. Both of these teams sit neck-and-neck in the table and with goal difference being the only variable that keeps Hull above their opponents, there is certainly plenty riding on the encounter.
The fact that Sunderland have been marooned in the bottom three for most of the season would lead many to believe that they are certainties for the drop. However, the improvement at the Stadium of Light over the course of the last few months has been terrific and they could move as high as 10th with a win this weekend. Over the course of the last fourteen games they have lost just two games and when you consider the fact that just one of these was in the league, it’s really not surprising to view their lofty league spot. Additionally, Poyet’s men will be buoyed following their most recent result – a 3-0 thrashing of local rivals Newcastle. To top things off, they’ve lost just one out of their last seven at the Stadium of Light, meaning that things are really picking up.
It’s a completely different story for Hull meanwhile, even though the Tigers have spent the bulk of the campaign in a higher league position. Steve Bruce might be returning to his former club, but he could very well be in fear of the worst. The Tigers managed an impressive 1-1 draw with Tottenham in their most recent game, yet prior to that they had lost four Premier League games on the spin. Additionally, it’s now been nine top flight games since their last away win, meaning that the form is all pointing towards Sunderland this time around.
There is plenty to report in the way of team news for this game, with the home side sweating on the fitness of Lee Cattermole and Steven Fletcher while Kieren Westwood and Carlos Cuellar are definite absentees through injury. However, there could be a home debut for Liam Bridcutt, who impressed after making his first start for the club last weekend. Hull on the other hand are still without their first choice goalkeeper, with suspension preventing Allan McGregor from featuring. This should mean that Steve Harper will play, while Steve Bruce might turn to Sone Aluko as well who has just recovered from a long-term Achilles injury.
As for a prediction, we just have to base this on the recent form. Sunderland have been fantastic over the last couple of months, while Hull look to be on the slide. Taking this into account, we think the Black Cats are going to continue their surge and record another successful result at the Stadium of Light – 3-1.