Their next seven fixtures includes a tyne-wear derby and Manchester City visiting Stadium of Light along with a couple of tricky away trips.
It has been nothing short of a retched start to the season for Paulo Di Canio’s Sunderland side. Rock bottom of the Premier League after four games, with only one point out of 12. With so many new players needing to gel together, a lot of sides will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing Sunderland given they have had such a poor start.
Paulo Di Canio may be a popular figure on Wearside but he is going to need to get some results pretty quickly if Sunderland fans are going keep the faith, no matter how animated or charismatic the Italian is.
So far they have suffered a shock defeat at home to Fulham, were denied a win late on at Southampton and put on a poor display in a loss to Crystal Palace before losing 3-1 to Arsenal, though against Arsenal some will argue that luck was not on their side.
One thing Sunderland will take as a positive from the Arsenal game is that the side did create chances and gave Arsenal a few things to think about, and perhaps the game could have been different if referee Martin Atkinson was not so hasty with the use of his whistle.
Here is a look at Sunderland’s next seven league fixtures to identify at this stage where Sunderland could try and kick start their season.
West Brom (A)
West Brom have only managed to score one goal this season, and that was a last minute equaliser away to Fulham to keep them off the bottom of the table. They’re struggling in front of goal so Sunderland fans will have probably earmarked this fixture as one to pick up at least a point from, if not all three.
Liverpool have had a good start to the season and if they are still in good form when heading to the Stadium of Light this could be a very tricky fixture for the Black Cats.
Manchester United (H)
It does not get any easier as they welcome the champions a week after. Especially if Manchester United get a good run of form together.
This has become a tricky fixture for the very best in the Premier League, so Sunderland on the back of any decent run would have difficulty picking up points at the Liberty Stadium, but they managed to get something from the same fixture last season.
A tyne-wear derby. A game where Di Canio will be hoping he can repeat last season’s success. It might be a different proposition for him at home though, but the pressure will be on no matter what the club’s predicament in the league table
Hull City (A)
This will be another game where Sunderland will look at and think they should have a very good chance of winning against newly promoted opposition. However, with former manager Steve Bruce at the helm, who was sacked by Sunderland not so long ago, his players may be fired up for that one, and he will have a point to prove.
Manchester City (H)
Another game that won’t be easy against the riches and the superstars of Manchester City. Though to start the season they have struggled to get going on the road, so maybe Sunderland will feel there is a chance of getting something.
Realistically what can Sunderland expect to collect from these seven fixtures? They’ll probably want to have a double figure points tally to ease some early fears. Realistic? Yes. Two of those games should be won, so they need to find at least four points from the remainder of those difficult fixtures, and with the added pressure that some of those clubs may be under, Sunderland must start to click, and quick.
Sunderland fans, do you see your side picking up many points over the course of the next seven games?
image: © Egghead06