It was only a few weeks ago that these two top flight sides met in the league, with that clash ending in a 2-2 draw. Now, attention turns to the FA Cup and with both clubs in decent bouts of form, it’s sure to be an entertaining clash.
However, while Sunderland have had some decent results over the last few weeks, it’s going to be interesting to see how they fare on the back of their most recent game. Despite being labelled favourites, the Black Cats went down 2-0 at home to Hull and that result has sent them back into the bottom three. Of course, their cause was not aided following their postponement against Manchester City, but Gus Poyet will be desperately to revive their form, no matter what the competition, in a bid to put them on the straight and narrow. Prior to that defeat to Hull, the Stadium of Light Outfit had embarked on a run which had seen them lose just twice in fourteen matches, meaning that this really could turn out to be a defining moment in their campaign.
Funnily enough, Southampton also approach this game on the back of a clash against Hull. However, in their case the game swung in their favour, with a 1-0 win securing yet another three points for Mauricio Pochettino’s side. This now means that the club are on an eight game unbeaten run and when you consider the fact that they were supposedly in a ‘crisis’, after their chairman resigned a few weeks ago, they are certainly doing a very good job of hiding their frailties. In fact, they look every bit the top half outfit they have been all season and while their opponents may also have put some decent results together, Saints’ lofty position must surely make them favourites ahead of this encounter.
As for team news, Sunderland will not be able to rely on the services of Wes Brown for this encounter as he begins a two match ban. It gets worse for the Black Cats in relations to injuries as well, with Carlos Cuellar, Keiren Westwood and Steven Fletcher all on the treatment table. It’s a completely different story for Southampton meanwhile, with the St Mary’s outfit having no fresh concerns. However, there are long-term problems for Saints, with Gaston Ramirez and Dejan Loven still unavailable.
This is sure to be one of the most entertaining FA Cup games of the weekend. It may not sound overly glamorous on paper, but these two sides are in very good form and we’re expecting a belter at the Stadium of Light. Southampton probably just edge the clash in terms of quality, but with Sunderland holding the home advantage our tip will be a 2-2 scoreline.