Saturday 29th April, 2023
(6th) Sunderland v Watford (13th)
Stadium of Light
Tickets & Match Coverage
Tickets: Tickets are sold out.
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage is available via www.safc.com.
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)
Don’t forget to follow the blow-by-blow account of the game on the Roker Report Twitter feed (@RokerReport) and check out the player ratings after the full-time whistle at www.RokerReport.com!
Following our impressive victory after coming from behind at the Hawthorns last weekend, all eyes turned to other potential play-off hopefuls in midweek and the results all went in our favour. Now, our destiny is in our own hands and it’s up to us to do our part in our remaining two fixtures.
First up is the visit of Watford, in front of what is looking more and more like a full house at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.
Being at the Stadium of Light, we can once again turn the spotlight on our home form and decide how we want to view it - do we focus on the fact we have won only one in the last seven or that we are unbeaten on home soil in the last four? It could provide an indication if a person is glass half full or empty depending on which one you value as having most significance.
Our home form could also be summed up by looking at the number of goals scored at the Stadium of Light and that only six sides in the division have scored more and the goals against, where only Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic have conceded more in their own back yard.
With a full house expected this afternoon, it could be all about how both sides deal with that pressure and if Sunderland turn up and put on a show as we know they can, we could be in for an afternoon in what is another huge game at the Stadium of Light.
It’s fair to say things are never dull at Watford. With 18 managers in the last ten years and just the three managers being appointed this season alone, the revolving door at Vicarage Road doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
The latest man in charge is former Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder, following on from Slaven Bilic and Rob Edwards who kicked off the season at the helm. This all followed on from Roy Hodgson ultimately failing to keep the Hornets in the Premier League last season, which may account for the levels of expectation.
The attempt to immediately bounce back to the top flight has been up and down, where at times it appeared they would be well in the mix come the end of the season. At the halfway point of the season, they sat 4th in the table - only seven points behind the automatic spots and three clear of Preston North End in 7th. Since the turn of the year, things haven’t quite gone to plan and it’s no coincidence that we need to go back to the 3rd January for Watford’s last win on the road.
Looking at our recent record at the Stadium of Light against Watford, we’ve won five out of the six games we’ve faced today’s opposition since we moved into our new home, including our first Premier League win back in August 1999. Hopefully we can continue that good record against Watford this afternoon.
The bookies fancy the Lads to claim all three points this afternoon with odds of 5/6, with a Watford win priced at 16/5 and the draw is around 5/2.
Head to head... at Sunderland
- Sunderland wins: 13
- Draws: 5
- Watford wins: 4
- Sunderland goals: 47
- Watford goals: 19
Last time we met... at the Stadium of Light
Saturday 17th December, 2016
Sunderland 1-0 Watford
[van Aanholt 49’]
Sunderland: Pickford, Love (Larsson), Denayer, Knoe, Djilobodji, Ndong, Januzaj (O’Shea), Borini (Khazri), Defoe, Anichebe Substitutes not used: Mannone, Robson, Honeyman, Asoro
Watford: Gomes, Kaboul (Janmaat), Holebas, Behrami, Prodl (Kabasele, Britos, Amrabat, Capoue, Deeney, Ighalo, Zuniga (Success) Substitutes not used: Pantilimon, Cathcart, Guedioura, Sinclair
Played for both...
Kevin Phillips moved to Watford when they signed him from Baldock Town and after three years at Vicarage Road, Peter Reid swooped to sign him for a reported initial fee of £325,000 with add-ons that I’m fairly certain that would have been paid out in full.
Six years, 235 appearances and 130 goals later, Phillips was a club legend. The partnership with Niall Quinn was a joy to watch on a weekly basis in Division One and the Premier League.
In the end, he maybe stayed too long for his own good and moved to Southampton in 2003, before having spells at Aston Villa, West Brom, Birmingham City, Blackpool, Crystal Palace and Leicester City.
Wallsend-born Colin West came through the ranks at Roker to make his debut under Alan Durban in 1981. On four years, West scored 28 goals in 122 appearances, with one of his most infamous goals coming in the League Cup semi-final at Chelsea.
Following relegation in 1984-85, and missing out on a cup final appearance, West made the move to Vicarage Road where a successful season led to a move to Glasgow Rangers that would last a year.
Spells at Sheffield Wednesday, West Bromwich Albion, Swansea City, Leyton Orient followed before hanging up his boots and moving into a coaching career.