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Premier League

  • 30 April 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 39576

Sunderland - Fulham Preview: Cottagers out to improve poor away record and strengthen top 10 place

Sunderland - Fulham Preview: Cottagers out to improve poor away record and strengthen top 10 place

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Black Cats hope for first shut out in five games against one of the Premier League's worst attacking sides away from home

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Sunderland (4-4-1-1)
Mignolet; Elmohamady, Onuoha, Turner, Bardsley; Henderson, Colback, Cattermole, Muntari; Malbranque; Sessegnon.

Injuries have hit the Black Cats hard this season, which means they are down to bare bones. Last week’s win over Wigan Athletic came at a cost with strikers Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck being ruled out for the season. With no other forwards available, manager Steve Bruce will be forced to play Stephane Sessegnon up front with Steed Malbranque just behind him. Sulley Muntari will be drafted into left midfield.

Fulham (4-4-2)
Schwarzer; Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Salcido; Davies, Murphy, Sidwell, Dempsey; Dembele, Zamora.

Mark Hughes will be tempted to stick with the same side that beat Bolton Wanderers so convincingly. But Sunderland have struggled against the more physical teams in the division this season, so he may bring in Bobby Zamora to trouble the Black Cats back line.


  • Twelve of Sunderland’s 39 league goals have come from players other than strikers this season.
  • The Black Cats have the better record when the two sides have met, winning 22 of the 53 games played between them.
  • Steve Bruce’s side have gone five games without keeping a clean sheet.
  • Sunderland have the 12th best home record in the division with 26 of their 41 points coming at the Stadium of Light. However, they have won just twice at home in 2011.
  • Lee Cattermole has the most red cards in the Premier League this season with two sending offs.
  • The visiting team have not scored a goal in the last five fixtures between the clubs.
  • Clint Dempsey (pictured right) has found the net 12 times for Fulham this season, which puts him in tied sixth in the top goalscoring charts in the Premier League this season.
  • Fulham have won just one game away from home this season, which is the fewest in the top flight.
  • The Cottagers have scored just 14 goals away from home this season, which is the third fewest in the Premier League. Only Wolves (12) and Newcastle (13) have scored lesser.
  • Mark Hughes' side have drawn nine away games this season. It is the joint highest in the division along with Manchester United.


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Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
22Simon MignoletGoalkeeper
6Michael TurnerDefender
15Nedum OnuohaDefender
2Phil BardsleyDefender
27Ahmed El MohamadyMidfielder
14Jordan HendersonMidfielder
33Lee CattermoleMidfielder
14Jack ColbackMidfielder
4Sulley MuntariMidfielder
17Steed MalbranqueMidfielder
28Stéphane SessegnonMidfielder
24Trevor CarsonGoalkeeper
5John MensahDefender
-Anton FerdinandDefender
34Blair Adams Defender
7Boudewijn ZendenMidfielder
16C. RiverosMidfielder
38Craig LynchStriker
23Mark SchwarzerGoalkeeper
3C. SalcidoDefender
14Philippe SenderosDefender
18Aaron HughesDefender
6Chris BairdDefender
44Gäel KakutaMidfielder
13Danny MurphyMidfielder
4Steve SidwellMidfielder
29Simon DaviesMidfielder
25B. ZamoraStriker
7Eidur Smari Gudjohnsen Striker
-David StockdaleGoalkeeper
2Stephen KellyDefender
20Dickson EtuhuMidfielder
27Jonathan GreeningMidfielder
30Mousa DembeleStriker
8Andy JohnsonStriker
-Danny HoesenStriker
Players to Watch
Stéphane Sessegnon
Stéphane Sessegnon
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 28
Games Goals YC RC
4 0 1 0
The Benin International was a revelation last week for the Black Cats, helping them tear the Wigan defence to shreds. He led the line well after Gyan went off injured, so Steve Bruce will want a similar performance from him this week.

Sessegnon will be in mismatch situation this week with Brede Hangeland, so it will be interesting to see how Sunderland get round that situation. His quick feet and skill should give the Fulham defence all sorts of problems, he should also be full of confidence after his previous performance.
Clint Dempsey
Clint Dempsey
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 2
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The American has proved this season that he is an invaluable player to the Cottagers. His movement and finishing ability have been such an asset to manager Mark Hughes this campaign, particularly in the absence of Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora.

Expect him to start on the left against one of the weaker defenders, Ahmed Elmohamady, who may struggle.A performance similar to the one he put in against Bolton in midweek can be expected, if the Black Cats are not able to handle him.
Sunderland are out of strikers and their midfield does not score too many, with last week being the exception. Expect a low scoring affair in this one.

Fulham have a poor away record, but they should be able to get a point out of this one.
Editor's Prediction
Fulham 1

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