West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland: Five players under the spotlight

West Brom - The Hawthorns

This matchup sees two teams who have had poor starts to the seasons go head to head at the Hawthorns.

Baggies manager Steve Clarke will believe his side has the quality to overcome the Black Cats but Paolo Di Canio’s side will be out to prove a point.

I could see this one ending in a draw as neither side will have the confidence to go for the win because of the risk of leaving their defense exposed and potentially losing the game.

It may not be a thriller but it will be a tight tense affair, not one for the neutral.

Odds: West Brom 11/10, Draw 5/2, Sunderland 29/10

Last meeting:

West Brom 2-1 Sunderland – 23rd February 2013, The Hawthorns

Two goals from on loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku powered the home side to victory despite a late strike from Stéphane Sessègnon that made it 2-1. At the time it sent Sunderland further into relegation trouble as they a poor run of form saw them clinging on to their Premier League status, West Brom on the other hand were on their way to a Premier League best finish for the club.

Five players to watch on Saturday:

Stéphane Sessègnon

He impressed for Sunderland when he first signed but he fell out of favour over the summer and was eventually sold to West Brom. He can certainly bring some quality to the Baggies’ midfield. In the past he has shown the ability to change games with his goals and assists. He didn’t feature last week against Fulham because of his work permit but he is now available for selection against his old team/

Victor Anichebe

The Nigerian striker never really got an extended run in the Everton side, when he did play he couldn’t quite score the number of goals required to be a success as a striker, his finishing often let him down. He may make his West Brom debut after joining the club on deadline day; he will be hoping that a fresh start will give him a new lease of life. He certainly offers something different for West Brom.

Steven Fletcher

Paolo Di Canio stated this week that he could be Sunderland’s saviour this season, the Scot has scored one goal in the Premier League this season and he will be looking to add to that tally against West Brom with his side in desperate need of a win. If they do get the three points then they could see themselves climb off the foot of the table.

Lee Cattermole

There were reports the former captain would be sold in the summer with the player himself wanting to leave but no deal was completed. Di Canio has made it clear that he will use Cattermole this season and if he can regain his fitness he can play a big role at the Hawthorns and for the rest of the season.

John O’Shea

The club’s captain returns to the Sunderland defence after suspension kept him out of the loss to Arsenal. He’s one of the clubs most experienced players and his presence will help the team get over their poor start. Di Canio stressed that he would go straight back into the side despite a poor challenge that received a red card against Crystal Palace.

image: © Tony Hisgett

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