Premier League Preview and Prediction: Sunderland vs Middlesbrough

Competition: Premier League – Sunderland vs. Middlesbrough

Venue: Stadium Of Light – Sunday, August 21 – 13:30 BST (08:30 EDT)

Match Odds: Sunderland 7/5 – Draw  2/1 – Middlesbrough 21/10

Match Preview

Sunderland welcome Premier League new boys and local rivals Middlesbrough to the Stadium of Light on Sunday, looking to bounce back after a disappointing opening day loss to Manchester City.

Sunderland started life under David Moyes where Sam Allardyce left them, with long spells spent defending on the back foot. Moyes has a huge task on his hands to make this club successful but will have been encouraged by the determination of his players in that 2-1 loss last weekend.

There are an abundance of leaders within this Sunderland team and a clinical striker up front in Jermaine Defoe so it’s not all doom and gloom.

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We expect Moyes to be busy in the run up to transfer deadline day as departures are expected, however, it is key he continues to add to his squad to bolster options for the duration of the campaign.

Middlesbrough could be the dark horses of the new Premier League season after an impressive opening day draw at home to Stoke.

One thing Middlesbrough have in abundance is attacking options, and good ones at that. Players like Gaston Ramirez, Stewart Downing and Alvaro Negredo all have Premier League experience which could prove vital for Boro.

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We’re still not sure how Middlesbrough compare to other sides that are expected to finish in the bottom half, but as mentioned, they could be a surprise package and a top half finish isn’t beyond them, considering the quality of players at Aitor Karanka’s disposal.

This will be the first Tees-Wear derby since 2012. They last met in the Premier League in 2009, with the sides playing out a 1-1 draw in Middlesbrough in the most recent top flight clash. Boro have only won one of their last seven games against the Black Cats in all competitions.

Team News

Sunderland are missing as many as five key figures for this one. Lamine Kone misses out through a back injury, while Seb Larsson, Lee Cattermole and Jan Kirchhoff are long-term absentees. Billy Jones isn’t expected to shake off a hip injury, with Fabio Borini a doubt with a toe injury. Younes Kaboul has reportedly had a medical at Watford so won’t feature.

Middlesbrough have five missing as well, with Marten De Roon, James Husband, Daniel Ayala, Grant Leadbitter and Bernardo Espinoza all out until the start of September at the earliest. Alvaro Negredo is expected to start again after scoring on his debut last weekend.

Key Points

Sunderland’s form: L

Middlesbrough’s form: D

Key Stat: Middlesbrough have not beaten Sunderland in the Premier League since 2006.

Key Player: Jermaine Defoe – In a game which is expected to be cagey, Defoe can be the clinical edge that Sunderland may need to seal three points in this derby game.

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Score Prediction

Sunderland 1-0 Middlesbrough – Neither side is expected to set the league alight this season and so we expect a low-scoring affair between these rivals. However, we see Sunderland just nicking it, with home advantage and Premier League experience likely to prove vital on the day.


Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester City vs Sunderland

Competition: Premier League – Manchester City vs. Sunderland

Venue: Etihad Stadium – Saturday, August 13 – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Man City 1/4 – Draw 19/4 – Sunderland 11/1

Match Preview

Manchester City kick off their 2016/17 Premier League campaign and new era under manager Pep Guardiola at home against Sunderland on Saturday evening.

It’s certainly an exciting time to be a City fan and they will be expecting their side to get off to a winning start here. Fans will be demanding much more than last seasons finish of 4th, they scraped into a Champions League playoff place and given Guardiola’s winning mentality, that would be a complete failure this time around.

Guardiola has made some big money signings throughout the summer transfer window and he will be expecting the new additions, along with the quality in the current squad, to make a strong challenge to win the Premier League.

Manchester City have a strong home record against Sunderland. They have won 11 of the last 13 meetings between the sides in all competitions. And if previous results are anything to go by we could be in for a goal-fest here, as City have scored at least three goals against Sunderland in seven of their last eight home meetings.

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Sunderland will be looking to avoid another relegation battle this season and the club have replaced Sam Allardyce with David Moyes. It is a good appointment for the club, as despite his struggles at Manchester United, Moyes has a wealth of Premier League experience.

The Black Cats stayed up by two points at the end of last season, thanks to the guidance of Allardyce, and it is now time for them to try and push to the next level. A mid-table finish will be an achievable target if Sunderland can iron out their defensive issues that nearly cost them last season.

Moyes has just started to make some summer signings, while some long-term servants have departed the club. There is quality in the Sunderland side, but they have to build a team around a core of players to prove tougher opposition this season.

Sunderland couldn’t have had it much more difficult in their opening game. The buzz around City will be a huge task for them to deal with, but if they can take anything away from their opening weekend fixture confidence will be sky-high. This will be an interesting tie to watch.

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Team News

Manchester City have added the likes of Ilkay Gundogan (£21m), Nolito (£13.8m), Leroy Sane (£37m) and most recently John Stones (£47.5m) to their squad. Guardiola already has some selection headaches as Gundogan, Sane and captain Vincent Kompany are unlikely to feature until September through injuries. Stones has a huge task ahead of him to step up to the mark and fill in for Kompany in the heart of the City defence. We can expect Guardiola to setup with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Sergio Aguero leading the line. Nolito could make his debut out on the left flank, while David Silva is likley to start in the number ten role. Kevin De Bruyne will more than likely start on the right. So far City have only seen two players depart, goalkeeper Richard Wright and Martin Demichelis are their completed outs.

Sunderland have released Wes Brown, Steve Harper and Danny Graham ahead of this season. Their completed ins are former United players Donald Love and Paddy McNair. David Moyes must utilise Jermaine Defoe and build a team to feed their frontman. He netted 15 goals in 33 appearances last season and if they can supply him he will be able to cause opposition defenders headaches like he has done his whole career. There are some concerns about Defoe’s fitness as well as Sebastian Larsson, Jan Kirchhoff and Billy Jones, all four players will be racing to get fit for their opener.

Key Points

Manchester City’s last five: N/A

Sunderland’s last five: N/A

Key Stat: Guardiola saw his Bayern side lose just twice last season, once at home and once away, and they won 15 of their 17 home games. If that is anything to go by we could expect City to become a formidable force at home this season.

Key Player: Sergio Aguero – The obvious choice but Aguero is so integral to City. If Guardiola can get his squad playing his style, Aguero will score for fun. The Argentine goal-machine is so deadly and he will be relishing the battle to win the golden boot this season and fire City to silverware.

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Score Prediction

Manchester City 3-0 Sunderland – City to start off with a bang. This is going to be a very difficult task for Sunderland. While many people have tipped Guardiola to find the Premier League very difficult to adapt to, he will have his side ready to go here. Sunderland will be pleased to get one of the toughest places to visit out of the way so early on.