Albion return to action after another two week holiday with a trip to Wearside to take on Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland. The Black Cats are fighting against relegation and, despite improved performances since the Dudley-born Big Sam took control, they have only won one of their last nine games and sit just inside the relegation zone following Norwich’s win at the Hawthorns before the international break.
Albion’s home defeat to the Canaries ended a four-match unbeaten league run in which they had taken ten points from a possible twelve to pull away from the relegation battle, although they remain a point short of the magical 40-point mark.
The Baggies have only beaten Norwich once at the Hawthorns in the Premier League, a record which contrasts with that against Sunderland. Albion have taken more points off Sunderland than any other Premier League team having won nine and lost just three of the seventeen games between the sides including three victories at the Stadium of Light.
However, Albion have failed to score on their last two visits to Wearside but won 4-2 back in 2012 when the last two goals were both scored by Sunderland players who have since moved to the Hawthorns. Goals from Long, Gera and Lukaku had put Albion 3-1 up before Stéphane Sessègnon scored for the hosts with three minutes left. An own goal from Craig Gardner in stoppage time restored the visitors’ two-goal lead.
That was Albion’s biggest win at the Stadium of Light, but at Roker Park on New Year’s Day fifty years ago, Tony Brown (2), Bobby Hope, John Kaye and Ray Crawford all found the net in a 5-1 win. The Wearsiders’ record win was a somewhat more impressive 8-1 win in October 1892.
McManaman, Morrison and Brunt remain sidelined for the Baggies. Albion’s former right-back, Billy Jones could return from injury for the Black Cats, while Younis Kaboul, Lamine Kone and Wahbi Khazri are all expected to be available despite recent issues. Duncan Watmore, however, will miss out.
Sunderland need the points far more than Albion, but Tony Pulis is unlikely to make it easy for Allardyce’s men. The Black Cats have drawn their last three games and I think the points will be shared again on Saturday.
All competitions; most recent game on the right
17 Oct 2015 – Premier League
West Brom 1 (Berahino)
Last meeting at Sunderland
21 Feb 2015 – Premier League
West Brom 0
Last win at Sunderland
25 Nov 2012 – Premier League
Sunderland 2 (Gardner, Sessègnon)
West Brom 4 (Gera, Long, Lukaku (pen), Gardner (o.g.))
Albion’s Record against Sunderland
|Premier League Record|