Former Arsenal forward Charlie Nicholas has told Sky Sports that Sunderland will suffer relegation from the Premier League at the end of the season.
Heading into this weekend’s round of matches in the top flight of English football, the Black Cats found themselves just three points above the bottom three.
“I think they’re going to go, I think Sunderland are ready to sink,” Nicholas told Sky Sports. “The derby was perfectly suited to them – the crowd were really supportive – but then they were absolutely smashed by Palace, and I mean smashed.
“Sunderland, with a new manager, were supposed to be the team with the momentum, but their last two games are Arsenal away and Chelsea away, so I don’t see many more points for them.”
Nicholas’s verdict on Sunderland is quite damning, but his reasoning is sound and has logic.
The way that the Black Cats went down 4-1 at home to Crystal Palace last weekend indicated a lack of drive and confidence among the players.
Sunderland have collapsed like that before - against Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light last month - and it does look tricky for them in the coming weeks.
Winning against Stoke City (away), Southampton (home) and Everton (away) in their next three matches will not be easy, but if the Black Cats are able to pick up at least three points, then they will give themselves a fighting chance of survival.