Sunderland v Bournemouth

Sunderland will be looking to bounce back from a heavy defeat when they welcome Bournemouth to the Stadium of Light in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Black Cats looked destined for the drop at the start of 2016, but two consecutive league wins over fellow strugglers Aston Villa and Swansea provided a ray of hope for the north east outfit.

However, they came crashing back down to earth via a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur in north London last weekend.

Losses against the league's top sides will not be as impactful as long as they can continue to pick up results against the teams around them in the table, which makes the game against Bournemouth all the more important.

Manager Sam Allardyce's plan to shore up the weakest defence in the league with the acquisition of Jan Kirchhoff from Bayern Munich hasn't gone exactly to script so far, with the 25-year-old conceding a penalty and deflecting a ball into his own net against Spurs and will be expecting more from his new man this weekend.

Younes Kaboul could make a return from his hamstring strain but has been rated as 50/50 ahead of the match, while Adam Matthews will definitely miss out.

Bournemouth picked up an impressive 3-0 win over Norwich City last time out to move three points clear of the relegation zone, so will be feeling a bit more comfortable than their hosts going into the fixture.

Manager Eddie Howe will not want his players resting on their laurels however and will surely see this weekend's match as a must-win for his side in light of the following three games against Crystal Palace, Arsenal and Stoke, all of whom are in the top eight of the Premier League.

Despite already signing two strikers in the January transfer window, Howe could find himself short of options up front with new boys Benik Afobe (knee) and Lewis Graham (illness) rated as doubtful.

Josh King and Tommy Elphick are close to a return to full fitness but will not be back in time for Saturday, while Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings are still long-term injury concerns.

Comments