It has been another disappointing season so far for Sunderland so far. David Moyes has failed to change the club’s fortunes as the Black Cats are languishing at rock bottom in the Premier League after six game weeks, failing to win a single game. They did take a 2-0 lead over Crystal Palace last week but the Eagles struck back from behind to win the game 3-2 heaping monumental pressure on Moyes.
Tony Pulis’ side have experienced a decent start to their season and are tenth on the table right now with eight points from six games. Sunderland will be desperate to get their first win of the season when they host West Brom at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Here are three key battles those could potentially decide the game.
Jermain Defoe Vs Jonny Evans
Age seems just like a number for Jermain Defoe who stills remains among the top strikers in the division even at the age of 33. Sunderland are heavily dependent on the Englishman for the goals and the Englishman hardly lets them down. Out of the five goals the Wearside club have scored this season, Defoe alone has scored four.
Four goals from six games at the top level at the age of 33 is really impressive. The Englishman will be looking to cause problems to the West Brom defence and it will be the job of Jonny Evans to stop the former Spurs striker.
Defoe is a mobile forward and loves to find pockets of space behind the defence especially from the right side. Evans is much younger than his central defence partner Gareth McAuley and has to take care of Defoe in order to keep a clean sheet.
Jan Kirchhoff Vs Claudio Yacob
Jan Kirchhoff proved to be an important member of the Sunderland squad under former manager Sam Allardyce since his January move from Bayern Munich. He was a pivotal player in helping the Black Cats save their Premier League status but is struggling for form this season after coming back from a lengthy injury.
The German has featured just thrice in the Premier League this season after taking some time to gain match fitness. He will battle Argentine midfield enforcer Claudio Yacob for the dominance in midfield. Yacob has been highly impressive so far this season in defensive midfield for West Brom and will be looking to sustain his form against Sunderland. Whoever has the better stats at the end of the game, could end up on the winning side.
Jose Salomon Rondon Vs Lamine Kone
Salomon Rondon had a poor debut season in the Premier League as he could only manage 10 goals throughout the last season in all competitions from 40 games as the Baggies struggled for goals. However, the Venezuela international is proving his worth this season with three goals already scored this season.
After two goals in his last two games, he will be looking to keep up his scoring run against leaky Sunderland defence. Lamine Kone needs to come up with a much better display against West Brom to stop Salomon Rondon. The Black Cats have been struggling to keep away opponents from scoring this season and Lamine Kone, the key defender at the Stadium of Light, must step up his game.