Premier League Preview for Sunderland v Stoke City along with Predictions for the matches on week 36 of the EPL. Follow up each match with results and video highlights posted later in the week. You can also check out the weekly EPL TV Schedule.
Despite winning back to back matches Sunderland seemed to implode against Aston Villa on Monday in their 6-1 loss. Stoke, on the other hand, seems to have gotten a lift recently with their back to back wins.
What I do think Paulo Di Canio has done with this Sunderland side is started to build their confidence. After the 6-1 defeat he still made their players go out to the supporters and applaud them, while doing the same right alongside them. I think this is just one of those things that he is able to do to show he is in it with the players. This is the sort of manager that a team like Sunderland seem to really need. He seems to be the kind of manager who will be right in there with them, even when they lose.
As for Stoke, they should be safe at this point having reached the “magical” 40 point mark. While this may be true, I would say that Tony Pulis still isn’t safe from the sack. They also don’t have quite so much to worry about now, unlike Sunderland.
Sunderland are still well and truly in the relegation battle. They may be in 15th place, but that is only on goal difference, since they are level on points (37) with Aston Villa and Newcastle. This is also only five points more than Wigan, who sit in the last remaining relegation position.
My prediction is that Sunderland will bounce back with a hard fought win. They will certainly need to play better and with more spirit than on Monday, but they have the better part of a week to do prepare. Stoke may not get complacent, but they are coming up against a team that needs to get a win more than them.
Sunderland (D, L, L, W, W, L) 2 – 1 Stoke (D, L, L, L, W, W)
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