The bottom two clubs currently propping up the Premier League table meet on Saturday afternoon at the Liberty Stadium, but you sense that these are two teams that are heading in different directions.
After making an abysmal start to the season Sunderland appear to have turned their season around in the last month with a multitude of positive results and performances that has seen David Moyes’ side lift themselves off the foot of the table. It had looked as if the The Black Cats were destined to suffer relegation and it took them until November 5th to secure their first Premier League victory of the campaign. However, since the defeat of Bournemouth they have looked rejuvenated and three wins in their last four games has provided supporters with real hope that they can avoid the relegation trap door.
Swansea City’s season continues to lurch from one crisis to another and last weekend they slumped to the bottom of the table following a 5-0 defeat against Tottenham. The arrival of Bob Bradley has failed to halt the decline of the team and in mid-week club chiefs arranged a crisis meeting to discuss the poor performances so far this campaign. Rumours from South Wales suggest that Bradley’s position is no longer secure and the American will be hoping to replicate his side’s winning performance in their previous home fixture against Crystal Palace (5-4).
Swansea City will undoubtedly still be reeling from the five-goal hammering they received courtesy of Tottenham last weekend. Bob Bradley’s side produced a lack-lustre display that produced just one shot on goal in ninety minutes of football and the American coach will be hoping that his player’s rediscover the scoring touch which was present in their last game at the Liberty Stadium, a 5-4 victory against Crystal Palace. The win against Alan Pardew’s men is Bradley’s only victory since being appointed in October during which The Swans have conceded nineteen times in just seven matches.
David Moyes finally appears to have his Sunderland team heading in the right direction and a 2-1 victory over reigning champions Leicester City last weekend finally moved them off the bottom of the table for the first time in two months. The Black Cats have won three of their last four Premier League fixtures, the only blot on the copybook being a defeat at Anfield, and suddenly look as if they might just possess the character and fight to escape relegation. However, Sunderland have won just once on the road this campaign and have failed to score in four of their last five away matches.
Bob Bradley has few injury issues to contend with although the Swansea manager is under pressure to find a winning formula. Argentinian centre-back Federico Fernandez is the only long-term absentee as he recovers from a broken toe and the home side could be boosted by the return of Korean midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng who has not featured since mid-November due to injury.
Sunderland’s victory over Leicester City came at a price after Duncan Watmore was stretchered off with a season-ending knee injury. The 22-year-old suffered an ACL injury following a heavy collision with Christian Fuchs and it is highly unlikely that the young attacker will be available for selection before the end of the campaign. Experienced South African midfielder Steven Pienaar is also set to miss the trip to South Wales after he was diagnosed with a concussion but The Black Cats could be boosted by the return of youngster Jason Denayer who has recovered from illness.
Swansea City Predicted Starting XI
Sunderland Predicted Starting XI
It is hard to imagine that, after conceding nine goals in their last two fixtures, Swansea manager Bob Bradley has not spent the majority of the week focusing on patching up his leaky defensive unit in training this week. The hosts will certainly be looking to keep a clean sheet whilst Sunderland have struggled to score goals on the road so far this campaign. A drab goalless draw awaits.
Predicted Score: Swansea City 0, Sunderland 0
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