Black Cats’ record against West Brom spells bad luck for Di Canio

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Paolo Di Canio has evidently never watched the US television series My Name Is Earl otherwise he would probably know a thing or two about bad karma.

The Italian certainly didn’t seem to be aware of how best to avoid it as he spoke to the press ahead of Sunderland’s trip to the Hawthorns this weekend, for an already crucial clash with fellow strugglers West Brom.

Di Canio’s side are priced as rank outsiders for the win at 13/5, but what could make this a particularly tasty encounter is the news that Baggies’ new boy Stephane Sessegnon is free to play against his former club after being granted a work permit.

The Benin international left Wearside under something of a cloud, having fallen out with the Italian and speaking in a press conference ahead of the game, Di Canio pulled no punches when it came to his thoughts about the playmaker.

He talked of a series of poor Sessegnon performances in which the midfielder exhibited body language that was “not of a player who wants to give his best” before adding that in his opinion “his time was finished at Sunderland.”

The words will certainly dent the ego of a player who, while clashing with managers at various points throughout his career on Wearside and previously at PSG, still racked up a credible 17 goals in 87 appearances for the Black Cats.

And Di Canio’s words could well generate the sort of bad karma that may see West Brom claim a fourth straight win over the north east club, with odds of 11/10 on a Baggies win.

Oddly enough Sessegnon was one of the few bright sparks going forwards against the Midlands team last season, with the 29-year-old scoring home and away for Sunderland against Albion.

He will certainly be fired up for this one and, following his record transfer to the club, could be in line for a start, making odds of 4/1 on Sessegnon to score and West Brom to win a tempting punt.

While there is potential for a draw at 23/10, goals look a certainty with three or more recorded in each of the last five matches played between the clubs and you can get evens on over 2.5 combined goals being scored in this clash.

If Sunderland are to get off the mark, much could depend on the form of Steven Fletcher. Prior to injury last term, the Scot was in sparkling form with 11 league strikes and having already got off the mark this season, he looks a good shout to net anytime at 2/1.

West Brom may have struggled for goals of late but with a fired-up Sessegnon pulling the strings, the likes of Victor Anichebe and Nicolas Anelka could well get off the mark, with the strikers available at 6/4 and 2/1 respectively to score at anytime.

Paolo Di Canio may not believe in bad karma, but if the Baggies boing-boing away from Sunderland at the bottom of the league, he may consider starting his own list of all the people he has wronged. It could take some time…

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

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.