Premier League – Sunderland v Swans at 15:00 on Saturday, 22nd August 2015
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Assistants: D Bryan, M Scholes
Fourth Official: A Taylor
With the Swans getting their first league win of the season last weekend thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win over Newcastle, their bitter north-east rivals Sunderland will be looking to do far better and stop their own rot after two consecutive defeats – whilst shipping 7 goals in the process.
Plenty has been said of the Swans positive start to the season, with Jefferson Montero featuring prominently with two SCFC2 man of the match awards already under his belt. For me, the Swans already appear to be a far more energetic and aggressive side than last season and the days of them being ‘bullied’ by the so-called Premier League stalwarts seem to be over. A lot of hard work has obviously been done during the summer break.
As for the match day team, expect Ki to come back into the squad and possibly the starting XI – for the unfortunate Jack Cork – if he’s fully recovered from his hamstring injury and has trained well, as implied by Garry Monk is his interview yesterday.
Few Premier League defenders will fancy facing up to our Ecuadorian flyer at the moment or indeed Andre Ayew for that matter, so it is hard to see how a defence that has already conceded 7 goals this season will cope. Sunderland full-back Billy Jones or his understudy at the Stadium of Light, former Cardiff City man Adam Matthews, are likely to have the dubious pleasure of marking Montero.
Manager Dick Advocaat may well shuffle his defensive pack, but Patrick van Aanholt, Sebastian Coates and Younes Kaboul are sure to be in for a tough afternoon regardless, as is experienced skipper John O’Shea if he is recalled to the starting line up.
At the other end of the field, the Swans are well aware of the threat posed by Jermain Defoe – having seen the striker score at the Liberty last season in his side’s 1-1 draw with the Swans. It also meant that Defoe wrote his name into the history books as the first player to have scored against all 20 current Premier League sides (at that time). Scot Steven Fletcher always poses an aerial threat and has caused us problems in the past, so he is another whom will be closely marked.
Much as I hope the Black Cats run of bad luck continues against the Swans, there is bound to be some form of response or backlash to the season’s poor start and with a 2nd home game in succession, I expect the Swans to find getting a result much harder than it looks on paper.
Alan Shearer (unsurprisingly) was far more confident on the outcome of the game, if his column in the Sun was anything to go by!
Having seen the way Jefferson Montero went about leading the destruction of Newcastle at the weekend, and the way Sunderland are defending, I would suggest the Aussies’ total in the fourth Ashes Test could be in danger.
In fact he event went on to proclaim that “Already Sunderland looked doomed” – a view shared by many Premier League clubs no doubt, not just Geordies, but at this stage of the season such talk really is nonsense.
Last result at the Stadium of Light
27th September 2014: Sunderland 0 Swans 0
Current League Form
Predicted Swans Starting XI:
Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams (Capt), Taylor, Ki, Shelvey, Ayew, Sigurdsson, Montero, Gomis.
Sunderland 1 Swans 2
At the Bookies
Those of you who fancy a flutter might want to check out the odds being offered on the game at the moment.
Unsurprisingly the bookies are backing the early season form with Paddy Power are giving the Swans to win at 21/20 and win a 1-0 win at 11/2.
If you’re making the trip to the Stadium of Light don’t forget to have a read of our Travelling Jacks guide to Sunderland.