Sunderland Great Escape – The Sequel’s Sequel: Can Moyes do it?
Déjà vu – a feeling of having already experienced the present situation. Often linked with Sunderland A.F.C.
At least that’s how the dictionary should define the term, as once again it looks as though Sunderland find themselves in a relegation scrap. But at 13/8, our traders reckon this may be the year the Black Cats’ luck may just have run out.
Ladbrokes News takes a look at how David Moyes’ side fares heading into the final 18 games of the season. And we begin with his most important asset…
What’s more important – a boost to your transfer budget or your Premier League status? That’s a position the Sunderland board find themselves in right now, with their main striker Defoe being linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light.
To put it simply, Sunderland wouldn’t even be in the top-flight right now had it not been for Defoe’s contribution last season. And he’s scored a staggering 38.8 per cent of their league goals since the 2015-16 campaign began.
Already with 11 goals to his name this time out, he’s currently the top English scorer in the division.
He’s almost guaranteed to play a huge part in Sunderland’s push for survival. But, with Defoe turning 35 this year, it’ll be a sad day in the north-east when the former England international calls time on his career.
Good luck replacing him, that’s all we can say.
A generous run-in
Supporters will be hoping Moyes can pull his side clear of the relegation zone before the final day of the season – as Sunderland will travel to Chelsea, who may still be in a title race at that point.
But aside than that fixture, the only other away game in which supporters won’t be feeling confident of nicking at least a point in comes against Arsenal.
Having faced Manchester City at the Etihad at the start of the season, the Black Cats have since had to travel to the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham Liverpool, and have struggled for consistency on the road.
They’ll face Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace in three of their next four games, while two of their final three games of the season are against Hull City and Swansea City.
Winnable? Certainly. Enough to keep them from going down? Time will tell…
They’ve been here before
This is where Sunderland hold a huge advantage over most of their rivals at the bottom. This is their tenth consecutive season in the top-flight, something which no other side from West Brom in eighth downwards can say.
But not only that, this is a position Sunderland have found themselves in several times before.
Of the current bottom three, you’d have to say that the Black Cats are a stronger outfit than Hull and Swansea.
The rest is down to bottle.
Though Sam Allardyce has never faced relegation, the Crystal Palace boss has it all to do if he’s to maintain that record this year.
Middlesbrough have failed to live up to expectation as of yet, despite signing a whole host of big names in the summer. And you can whisper it as quietly as you like, but Leicester City are by no means safe.
In fact, as value goes in the To Stay Up market, you’d have to say that the best bet may well be the 13/8 on offer for Sunderland.
Whatever happens, this looks set to be the most exciting conclusion to a season we’ve seen in years.
But what do you think? Can Sunderland avoid the drop, or have they finally run out of luck?
Have your say in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing