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Match Preview: West Brom (A) - Today's matchup is the definition of a must-win game!

Two disheartening defeats within a matter of days has left fans feeling as low as I can remember. The insipid performances against both Stoke and Burnley have lacked basic levels of competence and fight; the players look lost, and seemingly have little stomach for the fight that lays ahead. Pitiful.

Sunderland v Stoke City - Premier League Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

David Moyes takes his squad to the West Midlands this weekend as they face the impressive West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns. Tony Pulis’ men have undergone something of a renaissance this season, and under the Welshman’s staunch tutelage they find themselves in 8th position - 13 points clear of the relegation zone.

West Brom’s success certainly deserves some form of credit; Tony Pulis had been labelled a one dimensional dinosaur in the past, but West Brom’s play this season has rubbished those claims. The form of Matt Phillips, Darren Fletcher, Jonny Evans, and Salomon Rondon has been a real bonus for the Baggies who will look to add several reinforcements for the second half of the campaign, including a potential £10 million deal for Hull’s Jake Livermore.

Tottenham Hotspur v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
Once labelled a dinosaur Tony Pulis is proving doubters wrong this season.
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Supporters expecting a win this weekend can be found few and far between, but is the situation really that hopeless? Football in general often likes to spring a surprise, and fans will certainly be hoping that this weekend’s fixture will see Sunderland emerge with a precious three points.

As already noted, Tony Pulis’ men have had a great start to the season, and find themselves sitting comfortably in mid-table; Sunderland will need to be at their best in order to secure a good result.

If there is one thing David Moyes must ensure his players understand - it is that recent levels of desire and grit have been severely lacking. Passion and commitment are the minimal requirements of being a professional football player. If players like Adnan Januzaj and Fabio Borini want to sulk around the pitch like a hormonal, prepubescent teenager - they should be removed and replaced with someone wanting to prove their worth.

Burnley v Sunderland - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay
Borini has been lacklustre to say the least; his desire and passion must improve at the very least.
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Not only must the players reflect on their vapid displays of late, but David Moyes must also analyze his own decision making in recent weeks. To say that the gaffer has been uninspiring would be an understatement. The manager’s primary duty is to pick a team and prepare them for upcoming games; quite frankly the lads have looked clueless on the pitch. Moyes must take control and put some fire into his player’s stomachs if we are to mount a serious challenge for survival.

Injuries haven’t helped and we are all more than aware of the club’s financial position, those two factors have undoubtedly played a crucial role in our poor form. However, to simply pin our woes on fate and financial woe isn’t good enough. It’s time for Moyes and his men to stand up and fight.

Team News

Sadly, it would seem that this game will come too soon for Victor Anichebe, who is not expected to be fit until we face Tottenham Hotspur at the Stadium of Light next Tuesday evening.

David Moyes is expected to have the same squad of players to select from again this weekend except for Javier Manquillo, who is nursing a calf injury.

Predictions

Predicted XI: Mannone, PVA, Djilobodji, Denayer, Jones, Larsson, Love, Rodwell, Borini, Defoe, Januzaj.

Score Prediction: It's difficult to see where a positive result will come from over the course of the next several weeks. Moyes needs to get more out of his available players because as of right now their performance levels just haven't been good enough - a spirited 1-1 draw would be a good result in my books, but I can't see past West Brom; I'm going for them two win 2-0.