Bournemouth vs Sunderland: Match preview and predicted line-ups
The outlook is bleak for David Moyes and Sunderland, and the Black Cats have another difficult fixture this weekend as they take on Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium. Every fixture is difficult for them at present, such is the lack of quality and shortage of confidence running through the whole squad. Many criticised David Moyes for being overly negative when he said in the summer that Sunderland would face a relegation battle, but that view appears more like realism than pessimism with every passing week. Indeed, as Jamie Carragher alluded to on Monday Night Football, the former Everton might regret taking the job in the first place. The Wearside club have specialised in great escapes in recent seasons, but this looks like a bridge too far. Perhaps they can take a leaf out of their bitter rivals Newcastle’s book and keep the same manager in order to rebuild.
By contrast, Bournemouth are sitting comfortably in 10th. Many tipped Eddie Howe’s side to suffer from the effects of ‘second season syndrome’, but they have equipped themselves exceptionally well. The Cherries conceded a stack of home goals last season, but have tightened up considerably in recent weeks. Calum Wilson’s return from a long-term injury has given them added goal threat and though Jack Wilshere is still finding sharpness, the Arsenal man gives them a sprinkling of star quality.
Last week’s 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough was a disappointing result for Howe’s side, a result that ended a four game unbeaten run in the Premier League. Four points from home games against Everton and Spurs was an impressive return, and they thumped Hull 6-1 at the Vitality also. Sunderland have only two points from 10 league games and went down 4-1 at home to Arsenal last week. Prior to that, Moyes’ team suffered away defeats at West Ham at Stoke; poor results considering those two sides have also had their struggles this season.
Bournemouth starting XI Sunderland Starting XI
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Injuries and Suspensions
Lewis Cook, Brad Smith and Marc Pugh are long-term absentees for the hosts while Junior Stanislas and Josh King face late fitness tests. Andrew Surman is likely to miss out with a hamstring problem. Vito Mannone, Fabio Borini and Seb Larsson are out for Sunderland. Midfielders Jan Kirchhoff and Lee Cattermole are likely to miss out through injury and John O’Shea and Jason Denayer are still being assessed.
It is very difficult to make a case for Sunderland getting anything from this game. They have had some reasonable patches in games but have a crippling tendency to concede goals in bunches which hints at a mental issue. It does not take much adversity for Sunderland to start wobbling. A lack of quality, though undoubtedly frustrating for Sunderland supporters, is understandable; but a lack of fight is a far more serious indictment for a team at the foot of the table. Bournemouth are not a team who will let them settle into the game, and are used to having the lion share of possession. The contrasts in moods and styles couldn’t be greater, and Howe’s men should run out comfortable winners here.
Verdict: Home Win
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