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Premier League

  • 18 September 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • Referee: K. Friend
  • • Attendance: 32296

Sunderland - Stoke City Preview: Black Cats seeking first win of the season to ease pressure on boss Steve Bruce

Sunderland - Stoke City Preview: Black Cats seeking first win of the season to ease pressure on boss Steve Bruce

Potters look to improve poor record at the Stadium of Light and continue their unbeaten start to the season as the Wearsiders eye up their first home victory since April



O’Shea, Brown, Bramble, Richardson
Larsson, Cattermole, Gardner, Sessegnon Dong-Won, Bendtner


Huth, Woodgate, Shawcross, Wilson
Pennant, Delap, Palacios, Etherington
Crouch, Walters

Phil Bardsley is out for the Black Cats as he starts his four-game suspension picked up last week following his stamp on Juan Mata in the Wearsiders' 2-1 defeat by Chelsea. Fortunately for Steve Bruce, John O’Shea has returned from injury so will replace Bardsley at right-back.

Bruce may switch to 4-4-2 against the Potters after starting the season with the 4-5-1 formation. This will give an opportunity for Ji Dong-Won to start up-front alongside Nicklas Bendtner following  Asamoah Gyan's shock loan move to the United Arab Emirates, while Stephane Sessegnon will drop into midfield, replacing Jack Colback.

Following their exploits in Europe, Tony Pulis may ring the changes for Stoke. Asmir Begovic should return in goal replacing Thomas Sorensen, while Jonathan Woodgate will come into the back-four replacing Matthew Upson.

Rory Delap and Matthew Etherington should be fit for the game at the Stadium of Light while Wilson Palacios and Jermaine Pennant should be recalled after being benched against Dynamo Kiev.

Cameron Jerome should be pushing for a starting place after his goal on Thursday, but expect Pulis to stay with the partnership of Peter Crouch and Jon Walters against the Black Cats after their successful start against Liverpool.

  • Sunderland are yet to win a game this season in five attempts including the League Cup. The last time they did this was in the 2005-6 season when they were relegated from the Premier League.
  • Stoke are unbeaten this Premier League campaign, winning twice and drawing twice.
  • The Black Cats have only gained seven points at home in 2011 out of a possible 33.
  • The Potters are yet to win at the Stadium of Light in five attempts including two whilst playing in the Championship.
  • Steve Bruce (pictured right) has not seen his side keep a clean sheet at home since New Year’s Day with a 3-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers being their last.
  • Stoke have conceded just one goal in the Premier League this season with Richie de Laet being the only player to find a way through their defence.
  • Tony Pulis' side have only managed eight shots on target so far in their Premier League campaign.
  • The Black Cats have the second worst disciplinary record in the Premier League this season.
  • In the six Premier League meetings between Sunderland and Stoke the away team have failed to win, with five wins for the home side and one draw.

Players to watch

N. Bendtner

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Sunderland need a win and to get that they need goals. Without Asamoah Gyan, Steve Bruce will look to the Dane to kick-start the Black Cats' season with a good performance against the Potters.

Bendtner will be up against a strong Stoke defence that has only conceded one goal in the Premier League this season, their physical style will help them defend against his power in the air, so he will have to be at his best. The Dane must also bring his team-mates into the game so he’s not isolated like he was against Chelsea last week. If he does he could give his side an excellent chance of victory.

P. Crouch

Position: Attacker

Games: 13

  • 3
  • 0
  • 0
Stoke’s record signing would love to make an impact against the club that also craved his signature on transfer deadline day. His height and physical presence could cause the Black Cats problems if he gets the right service from his team-mates, especially as the Wearsiders struggled against the Potters' tactics when the teams met in February at the Britannia Stadium.

The striker will look to rediscover the form which made him an integral part of the England squad with Tony Pulis’ side, and if he’s anywhere near that form on Sunday he could further increase Steve Bruce’s woes on Wearside.

Editor's Prediction

Steve Bruce needs a win here for his job security; if the Black Cats fail he could be looking down the barrel. Stoke meanwhile are looking very good this season, lying in fifth place and going strong in Europe. Given that Sunderland need a win, that the Potters have a poor record on Wearside and the jaunt to Ukraine this week might have tired them, expect Steve Bruce’s side to win - but it will be a very tight affair.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head


Stoke City


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Sunderland AFC SUN
Sunderland AFC Sunderland
Stoke City FC STO
Stoke City FC Stoke City

Top 3 Predictions

Sunderland AFC SUN
2 - 1
Stoke City FC STO
Sunderland AFC SUN
1 - 1
Stoke City FC STO
Sunderland AFC SUN
0 - 1
Stoke City FC STO