Defeat today at Bournemouth would have all-but confirmed David Moyes’ early departure from Sunderland, following a dreadful start to this Premier League campaign. But Jermain Defoe, the man who has so often come to his side’s rescue in the last 12 months, looks to have given his manager another chance.
The striker netted the winner at his old stomping ground Bournemouth, who took the lead through a Dan Gosling goal in the 11th minute.
But a Victor Anichebe strike levelled things after just 33 minutes before a Defoe penalty secured the win.
And those vital three points put Sunderland on five for the season, just five away from safety, although three of the bottom four are yet to play this weekend.
In truth, the Black Cats have been incredibly unlucky this season at times, but their fortunes may finally be about to change with a generous run of fixtures in the next few weeks.
Up next for Moyes’ men is the visit of fellow strugglers Hull City, which will undoubtedly be their biggest fixture of the season so far.
Granted, after that they’ll have to travel to Premier League high-fliers Liverpool. But the Reds have failed to beat Sunderland at Anfield in the last two seasons, and the visitors could well be heading into that game off the back of two consecutive wins.
After that they welcome reigning Premier League champions Leicester City to the Stadium of Light, but the North East outfit will have one eye on their following game, away at Swansea City, who are still winless under new manager Bob Bradley.
So where does that leave Sunderland this season?
Well, there’s every chance they could be out of the relegation zone by Christmas, just in time for Moyes to add to his team in January.
Right now we’re offering odds of 7/4 for Sunderland to avoid the drop this season. But you can expect those odds to drop over the coming weeks. Isn’t it amazing what 90 minutes of football can do?
So what do fans think? Can Sunderland avoid the drop yet again? And will Moyes be around to potentially see them do it? Have your say in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing