Sunderland are currently 16th in the Premier League, four points from the drop zone. You might think that four points should be enough by itself to keep them safe, but you’d be wrong. Though I think they are the least likely of the bottom five to go down, there’s always a chance.
They play Aston Villa at the weekend which will be a huge marker to show where each team stands in staying the league. Let’s just argue for a second that they lose this game against Villa, then they’re down to 17th and possibly only one point from safety (If either QPR beat Crystal Palace or Burnley beat Man City). If that happens then the confident Sunderland fans and football critics will have to rethink their point of view going in to the business end of the season.
Some things that are going against their team right now:
1- Their manager Gus Poyet is facing a charge from the FA for improper conduct following a touchline altercation with Hull manager Steve Bruce.
2- Star winger Adam Johnson has been suspended after being arrested for allegedly engaging in sexual acts with a fifteen year old.
3- Manager Gus Poyet seems to say the wrong thing every week, blaming everyone other than himself. He isn’t the most popular manager in the world after placing blame on the players and on the fans…That’s right, he blamed his own fans for one of their recent disappointing results. That’s a sure fire way of getting the masses back on your side alright.
4- They have only won one of their last ten games and none of their last five. They’ve only managed seven goals in the last ten games, a strike rate that’s clearly not good enough going in to this crucial end of the season.
The above predicaments aren’t ideal when you are involved in a fight to stay in the league, and it will definitely add to the pressure the club are feeling right now. In saying that, I do think they will have what it takes to stay in the league. Just because the teams below them have tougher games, less points and a few problems of their own.
Sunderland’s remaining fixtures are:
Aston Villa, West Ham, Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Stoke, Southampton, Everton Leicester and Chelsea.
If they are still involved in the battle for safety at the end of the season, you might think that Chelsea are a nightmare of a last game but in reality Chelsea will have already won the league so they’ll probably play fringe players or be less than 100% motivated. Not an ideal final fixture, but it’s not as bad as first glance would have you believe.
Anything can happen, but Sunderland should be playing Premier League football again next season.
Next: No.4: Aston Villa