Premier League Half-Term Reports: Sunderland need goals to improve

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Team Name: Sunderland

Current Premier League position: 13th

Giddy highs: While wins have been hard to come by for Sunderland this campaign the Mackems have proved very hard to beat.

Five draws, including a 1-1 scoreline with Manchester United, have been encouraging for the Stadium of Light faithful but they finally had reason to cheer after the 3-1 win over Stoke last time out.

Connor Wickham sent Sunderland on their way with the opener while a brace from the recalled Steven Fletcher gave the club their first three points of the season.

Crushing lows: If there was one game Gus Poyet would have been lining up all three points from it would have been their clash with relegation candidates QPR.

But things did not go quite to plan for Sunderland with Charlie Austin scoring the winning goal in the Black Cats’ only Premier League defeat to date this season.

Shining Star: Jack Rodwell

Sunderland did not hesitate when splashing the cash to bring Rodwell to the Stadium of Light and there’s no denying it was a gamble on a player who has been plagued by injuries in recent years.

But Poyet has been rewarded with a series of excellent displays in the middle of the park and more importantly no injuries!

If he can keep it that way then Sunderland fans will certainly feel the benefit with even more to come from Rodwell, who has one goal to his name this season, as he pulls the string in the midfield.

Biggest Disappointment: Injuries to Ricky Alvarez, Sebastian Coates and Emanuele Giaccherini

Both Alvarez and Coates were settling in nicely at the Stadium of Light after summer moves from Inter Milan and Liverpool respectively but the pair are now set to miss all of Sunderland’s games in October.

Throw in the fact that Giaccherini, a summer 2013 buy, is also set to miss a month’s action and the cupboard is starting to look bare for Poyet!

Best Bet: Top 10 Finish @ 7/2

Grade: C+

Final Thoughts: Sunderland have proved to be a tough nut to crack. And if Connor Wickham and Steven Fletcher can stay fit and continue the goal scoring form they showed against Stoke then last season’s Capital One Cup finalists could be set for a top half finish in the league!

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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