Can Sunderland survive? Their key fixtures left this year

New manager Gustavo Poyet has found it tough going away from home, but they have chances to pick up points on their travels before the year is out.

After a horrendous start to the campaign, home wins over bitter rival Newcastle and away day strugglers Manchester City have given Sunderland fans hope of Premier League survival. But three away defeats out of three since Poyet arrived is the worrying stat. Where can they pick up vital points before 2014 begins?

Aston Villa (A) 30th November – Poyet wasn’t around the last time these two met at Villa Park. Paolo Di Canio’s side suffered a horrendous 6-1 defeat last season and given that Poyet has lost all three of his away games in charge so far, this may be another tough trip for the Sunderland fans.

West Ham (A) 14th December – Sam Allardyce’s Hammers are struggling this season given their lack of strike power and despite the Black Cats poor away form, this offers a fantastic opportunity to get three points on the road.

Chelsea (H) 17th December – The Capital One Cup offers a release from the relegation battle and an opportunity to move one step closer to winning a trophy. It won’t be easy against Jose Mourinho’s side but they’ve played well at home under Poyet and they can cause an upset.

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Norwich (H) 21st December – The following Saturday is of crucial importance as the Canaries visit in what should be a six-pointer at the Stadium of Light. The hosts will be the favourites in this one and it’s must win for Poyet.

Cardiff (A) 28th December – After travelling to Goodison Park to face Everton on Boxing Day, it’s off to Wales for the last game of 2013 to take on last year’s Championship winners. Malky Mackay’s side are expected to be one of the sides in and around the bottom six so getting something from this game would be huge for the visitors.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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