Thanks to similarly woeful starts, bottom-two residents Stoke and Sunderland are set to contest arguably the first genuine “six-pointer” of a Premier League campaign that’s just seven games deep.
With neither club posting a win thus far, the shot in the arm three points would give to either’s standing in the table and general morale levels moving forward cannot be underestimated.
Mark Hughes’ hosts are evens favourites to shake the winning monkey off their back, while it’s 3/1 on David Moyes achieving his maiden league victory as Black Cats boss, bookending 5/2 about the draw.
Having earned a point at Old Trafford prior to the break, many will be tempted by Stoke’s price to prevail, yet, on closer inspection there’s plenty of scope for Sunderland to come away with the precious Potteries loot.
Hughes has struggled against Sunderland as Stoke boss
Although Sparky oversaw a 2-0 home win in his first tussle against Sunderland as Potters chief, five more Premier League games have been logged without tasting victory. Three of those next five have resulted in losses.
Stoke’s defence is more suspect, especially their left side
Only Hull and Swansea have given up more shots from within their own penalty area which is a pretty damning defensive statistic, while the Tigers and Watford are the only two clubs to have conceded more crosses from their left flank.
If Moyes has done his homework it will pay to get Duncan Watmore running at Erik Pieters.
Sunderland carry the greater goal threat
Given this defensive frailty, the Potters could hardly do with the top tier’s joint-bluntest attack.
Although they’ve scored just one goal fewer than their guests, Sunderland have scored all six from theirs from inside the box whereas Stoke have relied on two shots from outside the penalty are for their measly returns.
In seven games apiece this season, Moyes’ men have created 13 clear cut chances to Stoke’s seven and in Jermain Defoe, who is responsible for four of his side’s goals alone, the visitors are blessed with by far the more reliable scorer.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing