Southampton has started of this season on a dream run and are on the top three in the rankings as of now. They are going strong and will be looking to take this match away from the black cats for another few points to add to their already impressive table. Sunderland, on the other hand will be looking to continue their unbeaten streak against the Saints. Head to head, Sunderland have not been defeated by Southampton since last year, and have drawn every match that they faced. This year as well, in spite of winning only one match so far, have also lost only one, they have also not been defeated at home. The team has gained a reputation of being tough to beat. The last time these two met in the Saints’ home, they took the game with a 2-1, but this was way back in 2002.
The two teams have, so far faced each other 50 times in the premier league. Southampton has the statistics on their side with 21 wins and 13 matches drawn. Apart from the EPL, in the last eight times that they have met, they have been unable to decisively beat Sunderland.
Southampton have had a great season so far, with 13 points, they are placed third; the team has not seen that rank since the 1980’s. They are walking into this match after only their second defeat this season, both away. Their fortress, St. Mary’s is yet to be breached this year, in fact they have let only one goal through the year, while scoring six.
Sunderland, on the other hand are coming into this game after their first victory this season. They are at the 13th place, with only eight points.
The International break can work to the advantage of Southampton, there are no new injuries reported with Mayuka and Mane returning from their national teams today. Fletcher and Wickham, who played for the first time together have found a rhythm and have both scored in the last few games. The manager, Gus Poyet is very happy with the pairing, but also reminded the team that they can be organised, but it will account to nothing if they don’t get the ball through the opponent’s nets. Their defence has also been top-notch, the best in this tournament so far.
Sunderland, will look to wound if not maim the Saints as they are running on only one defeat this season. Their star Steven Fletcher will lead the pack, and their defender Billy Jones will sit this one out owing to an injury. The others who will join him in the sidelines are midfielders Emanuele Giaccherini and Ricky Alvarez with ankle ad knee injuries, along with Sebastian Coates, defender, who has a thigh injury.
This match may not be as open shut as it seems – as both teams have a lot hanging on the balance. It is a home advantage for the Saints, so that may be a contributing factor. There are chances of a victory, but again, the black cats have become a team that is increasingly difficult to defeat.