Sunderland have been a changed side in the last two games and David Moyes’ men are looking to escape the relegation zone after spending the whole season there so far. The team is tied on points with 19th-placed Crystal Palace with just goal difference separating them and given the Eagles’ current from, the next win could well take the Black Cats above them.
Southampton, on the hand, have been struggling immensely, losing five of their last six games and have dropped to the 13th position in the league table. They haven’t won in the league since January 22nd, whilst their only win in their last four games has come against Liverpool in the EFL Cup. Although they are seven points above the bottom three, the threat of relegation will be a slight concern.
Sunderland – Papy Djilobodji is still suspended for two matches. Moyes is finding it difficult to change gear without a beefed back line. Jordan Pickford is back in training and could be in contention. On-loan winger Adnan Januzaj, who starred in the Palace win is a major doubt with a hip injury. The experienced John O’Shea is also a major doubt after he was seen limping off against Palace with a hamstring injury. Jack Rodwell will also be a doubt with a thigh injury, further thinning Sunderland’s midfield.
Southampton – Among the short-term injuries, the Saints’ star defender Virgil van Dijk is still out with an ankle injury. Their playmaker Sofiane Boufal will be a doubt with an ankle injury.
Sunderland (3-5-1-1 formation): Mannone; Koné, O’Shea, Denayer; Jones, N’Dong, Rodwell, Larsson, Oviedo; Januzaj; Defoe
Southampton (4-3-3 formation): Forster; Soares, Stephens, Yoshida, Bertrand; Davis, Romeu, Ward-Prowse; Boufal, Gabbiadini, Rodriguez
Sunderland – Adnan Januzaj will have to play a significant role for Moyes if Sunderland survive relegation this season. The Manchester United loanee, although a doubt with a hip injury for the game, has looked quite sharp of late and was quite incisive in Sunderland’s emphatic win over relegation rivals Crystal Palace. He has created 22 chances this season, which is the most of any Sunderland player. Moyes will be desperate to have him fit.
Apart from him, Jermain Defoe will once again have the huge responsibility of drawing the first blood in the must-win game. Lamine Kone will be another quintessential player for Sunderland. He had played a huge role in helping Sunderland survive relegation last season and Moyes expects the same of him this time too.
Southampton – New recruit Manolo Gabbiadini has started his Premier League campaign in the best way possible. The former Napoli man scored a stunner from an acute angle against West Ham United last week before the Hammers took charge of the game. Scoring has been a problem for the Saints and it is time Puel deploys a two-forward setup with Long alongside Gabbiadini.
Sunderland – 3.90
Southampton – 2.10
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