David Moyes is yet to secure his first point at Sunderland as the Black Cats prepare for their third game of the Premier League. The Wearsiders will travel to the South Coast on Saturday to face Claude Puel’s Southampton who also started their life slowly under a new setup. The Saints are coming off a 0-2 crushing in the hands of the new-and-improved Manchester United last weekend after they salvaged one point against Watford on the opening day.
Sunderland started their season with a 2-1 defeat against might Manchester City who lined up for the first time under new manager Pep Guardiola. The result came with plenty of positives for the Wearsiders and if not for a very late own goal by Paddy McNair, Moyes could have started with an impressive one point. However, Sunderland’s 2-1 loss against Premier League new boys Boro last weekend in the Tees-Wear Derby was a result that would make the fans feel that another long hard season could be awaiting them.
An ongoing injury crisis at the Stadium of Light has made things worse for Moyes and the Black Cats will be termed as underdogs when they travel to the St. Mary’s on Saturday. Here is the predicted Sunderland lineup against Southampton-
Vito Mannone is doubtful for the game with an arm injury which means young Jordan Pickford will be on duty between the sticks. With skipper John O’Shea injured, summer recruit Paddy McNair is likely to start at the heart of the defence alongside fellow summer signing Papy Djilobodji. Donald Love, Sunderland’s summer recruit from Manchester United, will start in the right-back position while Patrick van Aanholt will keep his place in the opposite full-back position.
Jack Rodwell will start in midfield alongside youngster Lynden Gooch. With Kirchhoff, Larsson and Cattermole all injured, Moyes does not have too many options anyway. Wahbi Khazri was one of the best Sunderland players in the second half of the season and played a key role in helping the club retain their Premier League status. However, the 25-year-old is struggling to get his chance under Moyes but the Scot could turn towards the fleet-footed winger against the Saints. We expect Khazri to start on the left flank while Adnan Januzaj is expected to start on the right and Duncan Watmore is likely to start as the number ten.
You do not need to be a football pundit to predict that Jermain Defoe will be the undisputed choice up front.