Sunderland face Fulham this weekend in what is likely to be a crucial piece in the relegation puzzle, come the end of the season. The Black Cats emerged from the midweek fixtures buoyed by a victory over Premier League champions Manchester United. The result, which heaps more pressure on United boss David Moyes, is Sunderland’s fifth win in the Capital One Cup, but they have only mustered three league victories.
Gus Poyet will see travelling to the capital to face the leakiest defence in the league as a great opportunity for his team to rectify that win ratio. A win for the Black Cats could see them climb off the foot of the table for the first time in over a month.
The Cottagers meanwhile are still having nightmares about the last time they faced a team from the north east. Fulham suffered a dismal 6-0 defeat to Hull City, the Tiger’s largest ever victory margin in the Premier League.
New boss Rene Meulensteen’s side are on the up though, recording seven points from a possible twelve, pushing them out of the relegation zone. Their spirits will be lifted further by the possible league return of American favourite Clint Dempsey, who has returned on a two month loan spell from Seattle Sounders.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Sunderland 0 Fulham 1 (Kasami), Premier League, August 2013
Sunderland 2 (Gardner, Sessegnon) Fulham 2 (Berbatov, Riether), Premier League, March 2013
Fulham 1 (Petric) Sunderland (Fletcher, Cuellar, Sessegnon), Premier League, November 2012
Sunderland have five players tied for top scorer, all on 3.
Phil Bardsley, along with Martin Skrtel, has score the most own goals in the league with two.
Fulham have conceded the most goals in the division (42)
Both clubs were founded in the same year, 1879.
Fulham to win: 2.15
Sunderland to win: 3.5
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm.