Leagues Tipped:

Monday, 8pm, live on Sky Sports 1

WHAT a difference a week makes. Just nine days after Paolo di Canio followed up a famous win over local rivals Newcastle with a 1-0 defeat of Everton his Sunderland side find themselves right back in the mix for relegation after a disastrous humbling by Aston Villa.

A 6-1 defeat to Paul Lambert's resurgent young team means di Canio must remove the tails from between his players' legs post-haste and get them focused on a visit from Stoke who were themselves in trouble a few short weeks ago before wins over QPR and Norwich put some much-needed distance between them and the drop.

And what of their opponents? Stoke face something of an existential mini-crisis in the coming months as patience with Tony Pulis's free-spending and agricultural football methods starts to wear thin.

What do they want to be as a team? Are they happy to finish mid-table every single season while playing unattractive football and being portrayed as the bad-guy bully boys of the division, yet at the same time be considered an established Premier League outfit?

Or would fans prefer to twist, thank Pulis for all his work and make a move for a more interesting, progressive manager who can perhaps take them on another stage and knock on the door of European football.

The old adage is fans will tolerate a certain type of football provided it delivers results and the moment the team's performances drop off, fans will turn on the manager much quicker than if his team were knocking it about all day, a la Wigan.

Whatever way that pendulum swings Pulis still has a job to do and a trip to Sunderland is next on the agenda. Di Canio will have been horrified by his side's lacklustre, off-the-pace showing at Villa Park and knows he simply must get a reaction from his team if they are to continue to dine at the top table next year.

He will have seen plenty to suggest the Black Cats can get some sort of result on Monday and despite the two wins that have practically seen them safe Stoke have been largely woeful for quite a long time now – winning just once aside from that since Boxing Day.

There's no getting away from the Stoke are dreadful away from home, having picked up just 12 points all season. Di Canio's rhetoric and passion is likely to inspire the Mackems turn the Stadium of Light into a raging cauldron on and with Stoke all but safe and with nothing much to play for it's hard to look beyond a home win.

I'm tempted to back unders as well. Sunderland don't score many at home and Stoke have notched just 11 times away all season. It's currently trading at 1.65 which seems just about fair.

Recommended Bet

Back Sunderland to beat Stoke at 2.16
Back under 2.5 Goals at 1.65

Milesey (Betfair)

10 Comments
  1. John 8 years ago

    With Fletcher injured and Sessignon suspended, just where are the goals going to come from for Sunderland? Maybe first goal could come from the opponents?

    • Mr Fixit 8 years ago

      John, I’ll a better look in the morning but the guy I was thinking about was Seb Larsson but neither team is prolific. Stoke have netted 11 goals in 17 away matches so don’t inspire me at all. Sunderland have netted 18 in 17 home matches so it looks like an unders game.

  2. jasper 8 years ago

    mmmmm
    watch this sunderland game or
    pluck my nasal hairs with a pair of
    tweezers.
    dont know which is going to be the most painful.
    ???

    • Mr Fixit 8 years ago

      Jasper, definitely watching the game will be painful if you’re a Sunderland fan. I’m planning to do some work and listen in at the same time.

  3. Peter Brown 8 years ago

    Danny graham is yet to score since his 5million move from Swansea! He’s been getting chances just hasn’t put them away! He’s due to break his duck soon and what better way than doing in such an important game infront of the home support!

    Back Danny graham 1st goal 11/2 @bet365

  4. virtuoso 8 years ago

    to be or not to be for Sunderland today… they need 3 points badly… if they lost 3 point at home bye bye premier league.
    My predictions Sunderland to win.

  5. Lord Clegg 8 years ago

    My only worry today is everyone is tipping Sunderland. Looks more of a draw to me but I’ll leave it alone and do this lot… Shelbourne, Sigma Olomouc, Nantes, Hacken and one other tbc.

    • Mr Fixit 8 years ago

      Lord Clegg, I hope it comes across in my piece that while I’m taking Sunderland I’m not over-confident. It could easily be a draw or even a 1-0 either way. My only bet on the game might be under 2.5 but odds are poor.

    • Lord Clegg 8 years ago

      Yes, I think under 2.5 in that one is the way to go. I hope you noticed my 4 draws out of 6 on Saturday and it would have been 5 but for Leicester scoring in the 91st minute!

  6. Knottsy 8 years ago

    I agree with your tip on under 2.5. Gonna back that and also a wee touch on under 1.5.

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