Well the games against Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion can only be described as pretty pathetic. I don't think they were quite as bad as is being made out by some, but nonetheless the performances were toothless.
Swansea City are still searching for their first win in the Premier League too, and historically we're a club that like to dish out things like first wins, or goals to strikers who haven't scored in X amount of weeks.
On an optimistic note, Sunderland do have the ability to shock, and hopefully with the fans recent outbursts still rattling round the players and management's ears, we can come away with a decent result.
But how are we going to do that, and who's going to play? Here's the scoop with our preview...
Sunderland Team News
Steve Bruce made a change midweek in goal, with new signing Kieren Westwood coming in for Simon Mignolet following the Belgian's hapless performance against Newcastle United. Westwood was alright down at Brighton, and will no doubt be given the gloves until something awful happens.
Changes look set to be made in defence too, as it looks as though John O'Shea will make his long awaited debut. Earlier this summer Brucey said O'Shea was signed to play right back - a position currently held by Phil Bardsley, so there's a decision to be made there. O'Shea's impending return, and versatility means Bardsley, Ferdinand & Richardson's positions are all up for grabs. From a personal standpoint, I think Ferdinand is the most expendable here. He's done little wrong, but Bruce does seem to have a soft spot for Bardsley & Richardson, as well as a fondness for playing people out of position.
The midfield was changed against Brighton too, with Craig Gardner coming in, and I think he will get a start in midfield this week with Ahmed Elmohamady the man to miss out. This would mean Gardner lines up on the right, Sebastian Larsson on the left with Jack Colback & Lee Cattermole in the middle. David Vaughan also came in against Brighton and looked good, and there's an outside chance he could break up the Cattermole/Colback axis. If he did, I'd imagine Colback would shirt out left as he did in pre-season, with Larsson on the right to accomodate Vaughan alongside Catts.
Up front, it's no doubt going to be Stephane Sessegnon as our main threat, with other hopes pinned on an out of sorts Asamoah Gyan looking to recapture his form of last season.
Swansea City Team News
Swansea were heavily changed for their midweek Carling Cup game, and will be restoring many names to the starting line-up against ourselves.
The Swans tend to go with an attacking and fluid 4-3-3 formation (I'd love us to try that) with an emphasis on keeping the ball and passing opposing teams to death, a mini Barcelona if you will. It's a system brought in by manager Brendan Rodgers from his time at Chelsea, so it's fairly obvious what we're getting.
Our midfield four will need to be sharp and combative to keep the likes of Scott Sinclair, Nathan Dyer and Danny Graham in check, whilst Wayne Routledge could also cause problems.
It's certainly going to be a tricky task, but we have been noticeably defending from the front foot of late, with Cattermole in particular chasing down balls high up the pitch. Hopefully this week, we'll have more success with that. Swansea enjoy possession football, and we'll need to simply not allow them to do that and act as spoilers.
Not many injury problems at Swansea, as only Garry Monk looks set to miss the game.
Westwood; Bardsley, Brown, O'Shea, Richardson; Colback, Cattermole, Vaughan, Larsson; Sessegnon; Gyan
This week's classic encounter goes all the way back to the 1961/62 season, where in front of over 27,000 people at Roker Park, Sunderland stuffed the Swans 7-2. The game saw hattricks for both Ambrose Fogarty and the legendary Brian Clough. midfield man Harry Hooper also got on the scoresheet for the lads, who were only 2-1 up at half-time. What I'd give for a 7-2 win this weekend... or even just a 2-1 lead.
Get Rich Quick
Wrong again last week in Get Rich Quick, but as ever we're hopeful of turning things round this week. The one bet which is staring me straight in the face as I write this, almost bent over begging for me to abuse, is backing Stephane Sessegnon for first goal at 8/1 (BetFred). Sess has been our only likely source of a goal recently, and if he takes that good form to the Liberty Stadium, there's a damn good chance he'll open his account for the season. That's where our money is, good luck with whatever you're backing.
Song For Whoever
This week's song for whoever comes from two folks who suggested exactly the same tune within seconds of each other, so both of them get the credit here. @AsamoahDan nipped in first saying it "Sums up the life of a Sunderland supporter" whilst seconds later @JanekPodhajecki nipped in to say "SAFC constantly getting p*ssed on"... That's right everyone, it's Travis with their fitting tune, Why Does It Always Rain On Me?...
Many thanks to Dan & Janek. Why not get them followed, they seem decent enough people.
And as always you can suggest one yourself, just hit us up on Twitter - @RokerReport - we're always looking for your suggestions.
Well I can't say the last two games have filled me with confidence, and my prediction is the same as what I said on this week's Roker Report Podcast, a 1-1 draw, and our wait for a win goes on. The most consolation I can offer here is my predictions tend to be wrong, here's hoping I am this week, and we get a much needed win.
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