WBA-MAD Preview: Albion vs Sunderland
Joseph Chapman looks forward to the visit of the Black Cats
There's not many teams that West Brom hold some form of bogey over, but Sunderland seem to be one of them.
In recent seasons, the Baggies have enjoyed a degree of success against the Black Cats, including the memorable 4-2 victory at the Stadium of Light in November. That victory took Albion to the elevated heights of third but, between then and now, they have suffered a lengthy run of poor form and now sit comfortably in ninth.
The Mackems, on the other hand, have enjoyed a low key campaign, not particularly reflected by the high profile transfers in the last couple of windows. Steven Fletcher (who is sure to receive a fiery reception on his return to the Black Country), Danny Graham and Adam Johnson have all been signed for a combined total of £31m and although Scot Fletcher is the club's top scorer, 13th place and 29 points at this stage of the season may not be considered a good enough return by the North East side's faithful following.
Both sides have had two weeks off due to being knocked out of the FA cup in the third round. Albion won their first match since Boxing Day at Anfield on the Monday night, while the Black Cats haven't won in three, including defeats in their last two. This kind of match will provide an insight as to where the Baggies have the potential to finish this season, while the away side will look to produce some consistency in an attempt to steal a top half place.
Peter Odemwingie may be welcomed back into the squad for the Mackems encounter. The striker, who has managed four goals against tomorrow's opposition in the five times he has played them, has not appeared since the end of January due to his transfer antics involving QPR. Goran Popov remains suspended, while Zoltan Gera and George Thorne are long term absentees.
Danny Graham may be handed his first start at The Hawthorns. He has been a sub in matches against Reading and Arsenal in previous games. Danny Rose is a doubt after picking up a knock against the Gunners, but Lee Cattermole and Carlos Cuellar should feature.
Match StatsThese two sides have met in the Premier League 11 times. Albion have won six, while the Black Cats have been victorious in two. There have been three draws. There are normally goals when these two meet. In the PL's 11 meetings, they have produced 36 goals. West Brom haven't kept two successive clean sheets since April 2012- the first of those two shutouts being at Anfield. Albion have scored four against the Black Cats in their last two meetings. Sunderland haven't lost three on the bounce this season, but their record against West Midlands clubs from the last 11 games reads: D4 L7.
What do you think the score will be tomorrow? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.
Source: WBA MAD
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