Sunderland will be given a chance to slowly begin edging their way out of a nightmare start to the season when they host Crystal Palace on Saturday. The eternal relegation survival specialists had hoped to bequeath this unwanted tag this season as they were determined to set things in order with Sam Allardyce getting a free hand in building a squad to his liking. But all came to a naught as Big Sam trundled off to manage the likes of Rooney and Harry Kane in English colours leaving the club in doldrums.
They acted fast enough and recruited the perennially under pressure David Moyes as their manager. He said all the right things after being unveiled as their likely saviour but did absolutely zilch in the transfer market. He is now in charge of a squad with absolutely no depth and he has to manage till January before they make some panic buys in a bid to salvage another year in the Premier League. But things will not be easy as the Premier League has reached new heights as far as the level of competition is concerned and Moyes has to bring back the pragmatism from his Everton days and hope for injuries to stay away from the first team.
Despite the adverse start to the season, Moyes will back his tactics to succeed against Crystal Palace especially at home.
T40’S PREDICTED SUNDERLAND LINE-UP VS CRYSTAL PALACE (4-1-4-1)
Pickford is expected to start in goal with Mannone still out injured. He looks like a bright prospect and gave an impressive account of himself against Tottenham last weekend. Manquillo will start at right-back while the centre back pairing of Lamine Kone and Papy Djilobodji will be expected to keep the likes of Benteke at bay. They have understandably taken time to settle down but with a handful of matches under their belt will look to shore up the defence. McNair provides an alternative having scored 2 goals against QPR in midweek. Van Aanholt is expected to play at left-back.
Kirchhoff or Cattermole is likely to sit in front of the defence. And the two slightly advanced midfielders can be Didier N’Dong and one out of Rodwell or Cattermole. Moyes traditionally set up a compact midfield at Everton who were hard to breach and with the personnel at his disposal he should look to do the same.
Wahbi Khazri or Steven Pienaar will be at left-wing with Adnan Januzaj on the opposite flank. Jermaine Defoe picked up a knock but is expected to be fit for the showdown.