Sunderland will kick-off tomorrow’s home game with fellow strugglers Cardiff bottom of the table, but the Black Cats are now back in with a fighting chance of surviving the drop from the Premier League.
Sunderland have a big opportunity to survive courtesy of their very favourable remaining games.
Gus Poyet’s side face Cardiff at the Stadium of Light, before a trip to reigning champions. However, their remaining games are at home to West Brom and Swansea.
Out of the teams fighting for their top-flight lives Sunderland have the easiest run-in on paper. The Black Cats have a game in-hand on some of their rivals and should be expecting to win all three of their remaining home fixtures.
The trip to Manchester United may be more difficult now that David Moyes has left and United have handed the reins to club stalwart Ryan Giggs, but that is the most difficult remaining fixture for the north east side.
Sunderland’s last two results have been a 2-2 draw at title challengers and an incredible 2-1 win at another title challenger Chelsea last time out. Those two results were more impressive because of the fact that the Black Cats had lost the previous five top-flight games.
It seems Gus Poyet’s side up their game against the big boys and sometimes wilts against the less glamorous opponents in the Premier League. The Black Cats now need to find their form against their bottom half rivals.
The fixtures do look encouraging for the Black Cats, but Sunderland have the worst home record in the top-flight, having claimed just three wins at the Stadium of Light in the top-flight. Poyet’s side have actually won one more game away from home this season.
Had the Black Cats home form been slightly better, then the Black Cats would probably have been safe from the threat of relegation weeks ago, but Sunderland just cannot seem to win at home.
However, this game may just be slightly different, as the Black Cats should be full of confidence after those two fantastic results at City and Chelsea. Not many people expected Sunderland to achieve such big results and it looked like they were doomed.
All of a sudden there is renewed hope in the north east that the Black Cats can now stay in the Premier League. Momentum is a vital attribute in a team being successful and Sunderland has that right now.
If Sunderland can defeat Cardiff at the Stadium of Light on Sunday, which they are odds of 10/11 to do, the Black Cats will have even more momentum going into the last few games of the season, which could be the deciding factor in the race for survival.
The Black Cats could be in for a summer of upheaval with a number of players out of contract at the end of the season and set to leave. Poyet has already stated he believes the likes of Sebastian Larsson and Jack Colback will leave the club, whether they remain in the top-flight or not.
With the season that Sunderland have endured, maybe is it for the best that some players leave and Gus Poyet can build again in the summer. Last summer saw lots of players come into the club and a lot of those players will exit the club this summer.
However, the team should be stronger next season without some of the deadwood at the club, whether they are in the Premier League or the Championship.
Sunderland now have a golden opportunity to stay in the Premier League. The Black Cats fate is very much in their own hands and they know that three wins from their last four games should be enough to keep them in the top-flight.
However, as most Sunderland fans know their team never do anything the easy way and the fight for survival will probably go down to the last few games of the season, but at least Sunderland now know there is light at the end of the tunnel in the fight for survival.
Will Sunderland survive the drop this season?
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