Sunderland and Fulham are currently languishing in 15th and 16th in the Premier League, but can either side kick-start their season with a win?
Despite Sunderland’s position in the lower reaches of the Premier League, it could be argued they have been unlucky. Despite playing Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle (who have earned the right to be feared this season), Steve Bruce’s men have not lost by more than a single goal. But their away point at Anfield on the opening day of the season certainly seems a long time ago and they need to get points on the board before the pressure really starts to mount on the manager.
Fulham, meanwhile, have alternated between frustrating and sublime. They outplayed Spurs in their last match, but somehow ended up the wrong side of the 3-1 score line. They did manage a thumping 6-0 home victory over QPR at the beginning of October, only to follow that up with three defeats on the bounce (Stoke, Wisla Krakow and Everton).
Picking a winner for this one is no easy task, and it is unlikely to be the match that features first on Match of the Day: not one for the neutrals. The bookies think Sunderland should just edge it, and the home side can be backed at best odds of 11/8 (William Hill – £25 free bets). We think the Black Cats should have enough to get the win, not least because Fulham have not travelled well for some seasons, and have managed just one win on the road this season – at bottom club Wigan.
Martin Jol’s team can be backed at 12/5 (Sky Bet), but the draw looks a more tempting prospect at 23/10 (Boylesport – £40 free betting).
Overall though we think Sunderland will win by a single goal, and the bet to go for could well be to back the draw at half time with Sunderland to win by the final whistle at best odds of 21/4 (Unibet).