Sunderland have earned themselves a reputation as being Premier League survival experts in recent years, but it looks like this season's task of beating the dreaded drop may be a step too far.
David Moyes will be hoping to pull off another miracle at the Stadium of Light
Sunderland are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table and are seven points adrift of safety with ten games left to play. You will be hard pressed to find many that will be backing Sunderland to avoid relegation. But before you write David Moyes' men off, it is worth noting that we have been here before.
fI any set of supporters have cause for optimism in this situation then it is the Sunderland faithful. Since their return to the Premier League in 2007, being in the midst of a relegation scrap has become second nature to them. Just in case you needed convincing that the Black Cat's nine lives are not up just yet, here's a look back at Sunderland's three greatest Premier League escapes.
3. 2014-2015 season: Final position - 16th
Sunderland managed to avoid relegation this season with just seven wins to their name. However, the Black Cats were not pushovers by any stretch of the imagination as they drew 17 of their matches.
A lack of goals were an issue once again as they only scored 31 goals in the entire campaign. Steven Fletcher and Conor Wickham shared the honour of being the team's top goal scorers in the league with just five goals each.
Amazingly, Sunderland did not find themselves in the bottom three until April and it seemed that their inability to convert draws into wins would prove costly. However a five match unbeaten run in the final six games, which included an impressive 2-0 away victory at Everton and 0-0 stalemate with Arsenal at the Emirates, was enough to keep Premier League football on Wearside.
Steven Fletcher finished the season as joint top league goalscorer with five goals
2. 2015-2016 season: Final position - 17th
The majority of Sunderland's campaign was spent in the bottom three places and even the most optimistic supporter would've been backing their side to go down at one stage. Sunderland failed to win a game in their opening nine fixtures before a 3-0 victory over Newcastle United.
In that time Sam Allardyce had replaced the departed Dick Advocaat in the dugout at the Stadium of Light. Goals were less of an issue as Jermain Defoe finished the season with an impressive 15 league goals to his name.
An impressive run of just one defeat in their final 11 league fixtures was a big factor in their unlikely escape from relegation. This included impressive wins over Everton and Chelsea at home as well as finishing unbeaten in their five away games. If achieving survival was not sweet enough, Newcastle were not so fortunate and occupied the final relegation place.
1. 2013-2014 season: Final position - 14th
This start of this campaign is frighteningly similar to the 2015-2016 season. Sunderland did not secure their first win in their first eight matches until they came up against... you guessed it, Newcastle United.
A change in the manager's position had taken place, Gus Poyet came in for Paolo Di Canio. The summer transfer window had been a busy one as 19 new signings came through the door at the Stadium of Light.
Once again the majority of the season was spent moving around the bottom three places before a well-timed five match unbeaten run between April and May helped the Black Cats live to fight another day. During this run, Sunderland won away at both Chelsea and Manchester United
In the midst of this relegation scrap, Sunderland secured a memorable trip to Wembley as they reached the League Cup final, their first major cup final in 22 years. Despite falling to a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City on the day, this season was one to remember for Sunderland supporters.
Sunderland's Fabio Borini and Vito Mannone celebrate
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