Sunderland will be involved in an all-Premier League clash in the 3rd round of the FA Cup as they will look to build on their momentum gathered from the 2-2 draw against 2nd placed Liverpool.
Sunderland have been extremely unfortunate this season with injuries and suspensions hitting the team which was already short on numbers and depth. One does feel bad for David Moyes who would have hoped for a more settled project after the Manchester United and Real Sociedad debacles.
With the finances in disarray, there are question marks whether they can make any meaningful additions to the squad which might help them in their survival struggle. The Black Cats have been solely reliant on Jermain Defoe’s goals and with murmurs of an impending bid from West Ham and Crystal Palace for the prolific marksman, things are not the rosiest for the folks over at the Stadium of Light.
While Premier League survival is the main priority, many a times cup runs add to the momentum which translates into a good display in the league. But with the player crunch at the club, Moyes might not be able to make too many changes to preserve his best players.
With the clear lack of options, we have to see how the selection pans out.
Predicted 4-2-3-1 Sunderland Lineup Vs Burnley
Vito Mannone is likely to start in goal and having come back into the starting XI after the unfortunate injury to Pickford, will be looking to get some valuable minutes under his belt with sterner tests yet to come. Manquillo might get a look in after falling out of favour within weeks of the season starting. He will look to put in a strong display and impress the manager.
With Kone unavailable, Djilobodji and O’Shea can line-up at centre-back. They need to literally lead the team from the back and make sure that Sunderland can keep a clean sheet. Van Aanholt might keep his place at left-back and will look to give Burnley all sorts of problems at the other end.
A double pivot might be an option with all the injuries making things difficult for Moyes. Rodwell and Larsson can form a partnership in midfield. One of them will have to curb their attacking instincts and Rodwell might have to sit back and screen the back four. Steven Pienaar might play off the striker in the No.10 role.
Fabio Borini is likely to line up on the left-flank with Januzaj on the opposite wing. Severe lack of options will likely see Defoe having to start up top once more.
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