Sunderland v Crystal Palace

29 Feb

Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe


Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe scored the winner in the reverse fixture

TEAM NEWS

Sunderland have no fresh injuries following their weekend defeat at West Ham United.

Jeremain Lens and Duncan Watmore remain sidelined by respective hernia and ankle ligament injuries.

Fit-again Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie is likely to make his first start since December after impressing as a substitute against West Brom.

Jason Puncheon and James McArthur remain out but Bakary Sako may return from a hamstring problem.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

John Murray: “Sam Allardyce’s immediate assessment after Sunderland’s narrow defeat at West Ham on Saturday was to declare that his team need to take a minimum of four points from the two matches they play this week.

“The bottom seven clubs weren’t able to muster a single win between them over the weekend. That includes Crystal Palace, whose bleak recent run has now become one point from a possible 24.

“Their manager Alan Pardew lost his last four matches against Sunderland while in charge at Newcastle but exorcised that with a handsome 4-1 victory in his first visit with Palace last season.

“Any sort of win would do for them just now.”

Twitter: @bbcjohnmurray

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce: “We have got 11 games (left) and we have got to have our best run of the season.

“We have got to pick up five victories if we can, and that’s 38 points – then hope that 38 points is going to be enough again this year.”

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew: “Are we in a relegation fight? Yes, of course we are. We keep losing.”

“There is no talk of Europe at this club. We are focused now on what Crystal Palace need to deliver over the next 10 games.

“We’ve got a fantastic opportunity in the FA Cup but the league form hasn’t been good enough and we need to put it right, straight away.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

I think Palace will turn it round at some stage but it will not happen at the Stadium of Light – Sunderland’s home form is hugely important to their survival hopes and it has improved of late.

Prediction: 2-1

Lawro’s full predictions v The Coral Frontman James Skelly

  • 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.
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MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Sunderland have won two of the last three meetings.
  • The Black Cats are looking to complete a first league double over the Eagles since 1995-96, when both clubs were in the second tier.
  • Palace are unbeaten in three away matches against Sunderland and won 4-1 at the Stadium of Light last season.

Sunderland

  • Victory would give the Black Cats back-to-back league wins at home for the first time since May 2014.
  • They have taken seven points from a possible 12 in their last four home league fixtures (W2, D1, L1).
  • Four of their six wins this season have come against sides in the bottom seven of the league table.
  • Sunderland have not kept a clean sheet in 13 league matches and have conceded 25 goals in the process.
  • They have conceded a league-high nine goals in the opening 15 minutes of matches.

Crystal Palace

  • Palace are winless in 10 games, the longest current such run in the division (D3, L7).
  • They were fifth in the league table prior to their winless spell. They are now 14th.
  • The Eagles have not kept a clean sheet in eight league matches in 2016, conceding 19 goals in the process.
  • Fifteen of Palace’s 29 goals this season have come from set-pieces.

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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