After a much needed and uplifting win in the 3rd round of the EFL Cup, David Moyes’ Sunderland will face Crystal Palace at home this afternoon. Alan Pardew had a hard time beating Sunderland during his tenure at Newcastle United but currently his Crystal Palace squad is on a three-match unbeaten run in the Premier League winning their last game 4-1 against Stoke City.
Sunderland are struggling in the league having yet to take three points from a match in the Premier League this season. However, the two teams have had different fortunes in the midweek EFL Cup fixture with the Black Cats registering a rare win, progressing to the next round and the Eagles losing their tie and crashing out of the competition.
Moyes would be without the services of Vito Mannone, Seb Larsson and Fabio Borini, who are all out with long-term injuries. Apart from the above players, everybody else is fit and are ready to take part in the crucial tie.
Crystal Palace will miss out on their defender and top scorer Scott Dann for the tie with a hamstring injury. Pardew will also be without Loic Remy and Papa Souare who are suffering from a thigh and jaw/thigh injury respectively. James Tomkins, who had to be substituted at half-time with a knee injury, is doubtful for the clash.
Sunderland (4-3-2-1): Pickford; Manquillo, Kone, Djilobodji, Van Aanholt; Cattermole, Kirchhoff, N’dong; Pienaar, Januzaj; Defoe.
Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Mandanda; Ward, Tomkins, Delaney, Kelly; Zaha, McArthur, Ledley, Puncheon, Townsend; Benteke
As usual, Jermaine Defoe will be the main threat for Palace and the key player for the hosts in the game. A lot will depend though on how good a service he gets from the players in behind, the team will depend heavily on the forward to provide the breakthroughs. Another player who will be crucial for the Black Cats is their record signing Didier N’dong. The midfielder will shoulder the responsibility of shielding his backline and his performance will be very important if the hosts hope to take maximum points from the game.
Pardew’s main man would be the one up front, Christian Benteke. The big Belgian can heap pressure on the home side if he is on form and with his physicality and ability would be the biggest threat for the Black Cats defence.
A win for Sunderland is rated at 15/8 while Crystal Palace are priced at 6/4 for their win. Draw is given at 9/4 (Sky Bet)