Once all is said and done after these two games we will have a much better idea of where this Sunderland team is actually headed this season.
Our home form has been naff for ages and there’s no getting away from it, and whilst the wins against Rotherham and Southampton were great, the defeats to Ipswich and Cardiff were less than ideal and perhaps a sign that we still aren’t quite over whatever barrier it is that is preventing us from looking as convincing at the SOL as we’ve been on the road.
If we manage to win both of these games it will tell me we are legitimate top two contenders this season and that we can improve on our shoddy home form, but a couple of bad results will confirm we’re still not quite ready to be in that conversation.
What would be a good return? Well, given their respective league positions, six points shouldn’t be expected but I also think that if we are a legit contender for automatic promotion that you need to win pretty much all of your home games.
I wouldn’t be too disappointed with four points but it depends what order they come in. Watford are in really poor form and look pretty beleaguered, whilst Boro have improved recently and probably won’t stay around the lower reaches. So, three points off Watford and a draw in the ‘DERBY’ would be absolutely fine I think.
But yeah... let’s take all six. We are good enough.
Malc Dugdale says...
With Watford and Middlesborough both in the bottom five, I’d like all six points but a minimum of four is a good return.
They’re both against teams who are really struggling right now, and managers fall for form like theirs. I doubt that’ll happen before Watford but it’s a real risk for the weekend.
We simply have to capitalise on this period, as things could well be very different when the return fixtures come around. You only have to look at the starts that Middlesbrough and Coventry had last season, and the fact that both teams were eventually in the mix up top.
My main concern suggesting we may not get all six points is our home form, but that said, the hurt the lads will have felt post-Cardiff will hopefully inspire them to really drive for the maximum return.
Four or six points and I’ll be very happy.
Three points and we will have missed a chance to gather comparatively easier points when it’s very doable, and two or less, and we may regret that come next May.
Tom Albrighton says...
Ideally, we’d all love six points and luckily for us, this is a real possibility.
Both Watford and Middlesbrough have had somewhat quiet starts to the season, and it’s a far reach from Sunderland and our youthful exuberance, but not taking maximum points isn’t a disaster.
These games represent both a potential banana skin and an opportunity.
A return of three points or less would be somewhat disappointing given the opposition and would likely see us having to make ground up after the international break, whereas a maximum points return would likely see our claim as promotion contenders solidified.
Without adding too much pressure, this week could prove to be a big week in our season, yet it’s likely that this week won’t define it either.
All in all, anything more than three points should be seen as a fair return when considering both the opposition and our somewhat questionable home form.