Saturday 4th March 2023
(9th) Sunderland v Stoke City (17th)
Stadium of Light
Tickets & Match Coverage
Tickets: Tickets are available via www.safc.com.
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage is available via www.safc.com.
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)
If we don’t pick up three points today, it will be the second time this season we’ve gone four without a win in the Championship. The previous occasion began just after we had lost Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms back in late September, as we took on Watford, Preston, Blackpool and Swansea - as we find ourselves with similar puzzles to solve five months on.
This time around, we may have lost Stewart to a new injury problem and Simms due to Everton making a mess of things, but we have a striker on the books. Gelhardt has been putting in a shift, but it’s not quite clicking and Tony Mowbray has big decisions to make on how best to shake things up following disappointing defeats away to Rotherham and Coventry.
We’re on a decent run at the Stadium of Light with an injury-time penalty against Bristol City last time out denying us a third successive home victory, which is something to use as motivation if the sight of Alex Neil in the opposition dug out isn’t making you froth at the mouth.
The presence of Neil has the potential to change the dynamics of the game if we allow it and it will be interesting to see how the sides respond to an atmosphere that is likely to have a bit of an edge to it as we look to close the gap on the play-offs after a couple of poor results.
We can’t be certain of exactly why Alex Neil jumped ship, but knowing his ambition to manage in the Premier League, it surely had something to do with the feeling he could take Stoke City there quicker than he could with Sunderland.
So far, however, Stoke are in exactly the same position in the table as when he took charge in late August, as they remain locked in 17th position. The nine-point cushion they have between themselves and the bottom three provides that much-needed breathing space and the knowledge that Huddersfield, Blackpool and Wigan just aren’t very good means there aren’t many fears that they’ll be dragged into a real scrap for survival.
Looking at their form, today’s visitors have won two of the last five but looking more specifically at their recent record on the road, they have taken maximum points in one of the last five in the league. That came in their previous game away from home in the Championship when they went to Swansea and came from behind to win 3-1.
Overall, it’s actually their form on the road that has kept them at arm's length of the bottom three as they boast the 10th-best record in the division away from home.
The bookies fancy a home win this afternoon with odds of 13/10, with Stoke priced at 21/10 to take maximum points and the draw is around 11/5.
Head to head... at Sunderland
- Sunderland wins: 46
- Draws: 19
- Stoke City wins: 10
- Sunderland goals: 141
- Stoke City goals: 52
Last time we met... at the Stadium of Light
Saturday 14th January 2017
Sunderland 1-3 Stoke City
[Defoe 40’ - Arnautovic 15’, 22’, Crouch 34’]
Sunderland: Mannone, Love, van Aanholt, Denayer, O’Shea, Djilobodji, Borini, Rodwell, Defoe, Januzaj, Larsson Substitutes not used: Domingues, Jones, Manquillo, Embleton, Honeyman, Asoro, Maja
Stoke City: Grant, Johnson, Pieters, Whelan, Shawcross, Indi, Shaqiri (Ngoy), Adam (Afellay), Crouch, Allen, Arnautovic Substitutes not used: Given, Bardsley, Muniesa, Taylor, Imbula
Played for both...
There are plenty of recent links with Stoke City and former Sunderland players but looking a little further back, Marco Gabbiadini made nine appearances for the Potters back in the 1997-98 season - which was the first year that we played at the Stadium of Light.
Gabbiadini was a revelation for Denis Smith’s Sunderland, firing us back into the top flight from the Third Division with a record that ended with 87 goals in 185 appearances before he left to join Crystal Palace following relegation in 1991.