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Roker Ramble: Inconsistent Baggies There For The Taking, Which Worries Me

A home game against a poor side that are already safe - we can't balls that up, can we?

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

When you look at which sides we have left to play, and where you think our points are going to come from if we are to stay up this season, I'm pretty sure 99.9% of our supporters would agree that we really need to beat West Brom on Saturday.

With the amount of games we have left to play dwindling, our survival chances are seriously hanging in the balance. Draws, especially in our home games, are no longer good enough - to make up the distance on the teams above us, we need to put together a run of wins. Sam said it himself.

Luckily for us, we face one of the worst footballing sides in the division, a team that are already safe in my eyes and one that have only won one of their last nine away games. It's a pretty safe bet that we'll take SOMETHING, right?

Well, erm, no. We're Sunderland, afterall.

A closer look at West Brom's form shows they don't lose many away games - to be expected when it comes to any Tony Pulis team, really. His brand of anti-football has seen many of his teams scrape by over the years and I'm not one of these football supporters that see it as a stick to beat him with - you do anything you can to stay up, and Pulis knows exactly how to do just that. Credit where credit is due.

Bar a battering away at Southampton in January, West Brom have been pretty hard to beat away from home since November. They're tough to break down and they set up to sit deep and defend. That said, they aren't unbeatable. We score goals with relative ease and though our last three results have been disappointing, we are also a side that are difficult to beat - certainly recently, anyways.

West Brom are a massively inconsistent team, and that worries me. I had the same feeling of dread leading up to the Crystal Palace game, because I knew that winning against a side that could barely pick up a point should be a formality if you're going to stay up, and being Sunderland we didn't deal with our opponents in a comfortable manner at all, needing a last minute screamer to scrape a point.

Generally speaking, Sunderland never take the easy route.

I fully believe we're a far better side than West Brom are. Play them ten times and I bet we win more than they do. We're a decent side that are suffering because of the awful start we made - our form since January, since bringing in players that have added immense quality to our squad, we've looked a far stronger side and had we had these players and Sam Allardyce last summer, I have no doubt that we'd be sitting around the middle of the pack, looking down on the rest as the battle it out to stay up.

The reality of the situation though is that isn't the case, and relegation is still very much a strong possibility. We NEED to win on Saturday.

With Norwich and Newcastle going head-to-head at three o'clock on Saturday it's important we focus on winning, and nothing more. Although I'm hoping for a draw in the match at Carrow Road, beating West Brom has to be our sole focus throughout the ninety minutes on Saturday, and not what is going on at Norwich. For what it's worth, I think Norwich might win - a result that drags another side, Crystal Palace, right into the shit if they fail to win away at West Ham.

What will be will be - if we survive it will be because of our own success, and winning a game at home against a side who are probably already on the beach is about the best way to kick-start our stuttering survival campaign.

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