Sunderland v West Brom: October to wake Black Cats from slumber

Jermain Defoe has scored four of the five Sunderland Premier League goals this season
Jermain Defoe has scored four of the five Sunderland Premier League goals this season

A Jermain Defoe deadlock-breaker is a bet worth considering as Sunderland target their first win of the season against West Brom...


Recommended Bet: Jermain Defoe to score first @ 5.69/2

"The experienced goal-getter notched twice against the Eagles at home last time out."

Sunderland 2.56/4 v West Brom 3.3512/5; The Draw 3.39/4
Saturday, 15:00

Ref Watch: Stuart Attwell

The Warwickshire whistleman has already produced two reds in the same game this season, albeit there was local beef in that League One clash between Oxford and Swindon, while he didn't brandish a single card in his only top-flight assignment of 2016/17 so far (Swansea v Hull).


Sunderland

Despite David Moyes' side looking upwards at the other 19 Premier League clubs after six games, perceptions of a totally hapless Black Cats are unfounded.

Banking a single point from 18 does give genuine cause for concern yet, other than a three-goal blitz spanning just 11 minutes against Everton, Sunderland have not been badly beaten up.

A close-fought derby loss to Middlesbrough and two single-goal defeats to the current top two are far from shameless; besides, it's become a tradition to save the first win until October in the past three top-flight campaigns.

Allowing Crystal Palace off the hook when two goals in front, winding up 3-2 losers at the death, caused consternation at the Stadium of Light, so a reaction from Moyes' men should be forthcoming.

Sunderland have been rocked a little by Adnan Januzaj's ankle injury, which is due to keep the winger out for up to six weeks, while Steven Pienaar's participation against Palace only lasted 15 minutes thanks to a hamstring pull, rendering him unavailable.


West Brom

In the same way Sunderland's woes may not be as deep-rooted as their position suggests, West Brom's ostensibly solid start may mask a few cracks. Catching Crystal Palace cold on the opening day would not be as easy now for instance, given Alan Pardew has his Eagles flying, while the sheen of a 4-2 triumph over West Ham is dulled by the Hammers' troubles this term.

Holes in the midlanders' away form can easily be picked too. Firstly League One team Northampton defeated them in the EFL Cup on penalties and, if Salomon Rondon had not glanced in a last-gasp header at struggling Stoke prior to this, it would have been two successive away defeats following Bournemouth's 1-0 win over them.

West Brom should be boosted by the availability of Saido Berahino and Brendan Galloway for the trip north, with both overcoming illness.


Match Odds

Not many punters will be drawn to Sunderland's lukewarm favouritism, especially as Pulis has managed to avoid defeat in his last six meetings with the north-east outfit, albeit that tally includes a solitary win.

Moreover, the duo's unreliable form and the pair of Stadium of Light 0-0s that have preceded the latest renewal of this fixture does promote the possibility of another draw at 3.39/4. However, using October as a barometer, there is reason to believe Moyes may be celebrating a long-awaited victory.

October has seen Sunderland yield three victories from their past seven games in the month, whereas their visitors have taken 14 attempts to record the same number in the tenth month.


First Goalscorer

The experienced goal-getter must have thought that he had sealed Sunderland's first win of the campaign when he notched his second against the Eagles at home last time out.

It wasn't to be, but the four goals Defoe has fired in his first six Premier League games of the season reflect a striker in the zone.


Recommended Bet: Jermain Defoe to score first @ 5.69/2


And what do Opta say?

The last two instances of Sunderland at home to WBA have finished 0-0; only twice before has an exact PL fixture ended 0-0 in three consecutive occasions (Aston Villa at home to Coventry and Middlesbrough at home to Leeds) - another goalless draw is 9.617/2.


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