They have so far struggled in the league this season, and it looks as if a substantial gap is being built even after eight games, with 30 games to go, is it time to start writing their Premier League obituaries?
It may only be eight games into the Premier League season, but there already seems an air of inevitability surrounding two of the sides in the top flight this season.
Sunderland have picked up one point in their opening eight games and are firmly rooted to the foot of the table. They have changed their manager and if Gus Poyet’s first game as the Black Cats’ manager is anything to go by then he has a lot of work to do – especially from set pieces where Sunderland have in particular looked poor so far this season.
The other is Crystal Palace, and last night summed up a lot of what Palace are about. They’re enthusiastic and give everything a good go, and were rewarded early on in their game against Fulham. But when they seemed to be on top, they were hit by a sucker punch of a goal from Pajtim Kasani – something that is widely forgotten given how good the goal was – then you have the added factor that another great strike, this time from Steve Sidwell, meant they went into the interval trailing.
But at such an early stage of the season, both sides look as if they wonder what they have to do to just to get something going. Confidence seems drained, Palace in their defence have had a shocking injury list whilst at Sunderland the massive overhaul of the playing staff can’t have helped a great deal.
But Poyet sounded like a beaten man after the Swansea, and there seems to be continued speculation over the future of Ian Holloway at Selhurst Park.
They are showing all of the signs have two sides who will unfortunately for them not be gracing the League with their presence next season, and looks increasingly likely that the relegation scrap will just be over 18th place if they continue to drift away from the rest of the pack.
If they prove me wrong, I’ll hold my hands up and not even consider the career of a fortune teller, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see either of these sides staying in the top flight.
image: © Tom Brogan