Stoke City v Sunderland

Patrick van Aanholt

Patrick van Aanholt opened the scoring in Sunderland’s 2-0 win in the reverse fixture.


Jakob Haugaard could start in goal for Stoke because Shay Given is a major doubt after suffering a groin injury against Manchester City.

Erik Pieters returns following a two-match ban, and Bojan may also feature but Ibrahim Afellay is out until 2017.

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has a fully-fit squad at his disposal.

Jeremain Lens has overcome the virus that saw him miss out last week, whilst DeAndre Yedlin has shown no ill-effects after a recent ankle injury.


Guy Mowbray: “For a team nicknamed ‘The Black Cats’, Sunderland seem to have a lot of bad luck.

“They’ve arguably been the best team in the bottom half since January but haven’t been able to match performances with results that would have made them safe by now.

“Still, the majority view seems to be that they’ll stay up, and I agree – but think that this could be their toughest remaining game.

“Mark Hughes will demand a reaction to being thumped for four in three successive games, and there’s still the carrot for Stoke of a third successive best-ever Premier League season. They’ve got to win all their last three to do it.”

Twitter: @Guymowbray


Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce: ” I have known Mark (Hughes) for years and I have never known him take it easy on his players, ever.

“For us, it’s trying to achieve as many wins as we can as quickly as we can and not have to rely on the last game now, if we possibly can.”


The Black Cats have made themselves hard to beat, and have only lost one of their past seven games.

But they have only won one of their past seven too, and I think they might have to settle for another draw here.

Prediction: 1-1

Lawro’s full predictions v comedian Nathan Caton

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.



  • Sunderland have lost only one of their last nine league matches against Stoke (W5, D3).
  • All four of the Potters’ Premier League wins over the Black Cats have been at the Britannia Stadium.
  • Sunderland won 2-0 in the reverse fixture, with Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross sent off.

Stoke City

  • Stoke are on a four-game winless streak, including four-goal defeats in their last three.
  • They could lose four straight Premier League matches for the first time under Mark Hughes.
  • The Potters have 47 points after 35 games, the same as at this stage of last season.


  • Sunderland have been beaten in only one of their last seven games (W1, D5).
  • They have won only two of 18 games against the current top 10; one of those was November’s 2-0 home victory over Stoke.
  • The Black Cats have been beaten 1-0 on seven occasions this season, more than any other club in the division.
  • Sunderland have conceded 39 away goals, only Newcastle have let in more (41).
  • Jermain Defoe’s 13-goal tally is his best Premier League return since 2009-10, when he scored 18 for Tottenham.

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by Professor Ian McHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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