Sunderland travel to Selhurst Park on Monday night to face Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace. The Black Cats are currently 19th in the Premier League table with the London outfit in 10th.
Sunderland in a rough vain of form
Sam Allardyce’s side have lost their last two games. Sunderland endured a miserable afternoon at Goodison Park before losing to Southampton at the Stadium of Light.
The North East team have only one win this season, a derby victory over Newcastle United.
Getting the right balance between attacking and defending has been the problem for Sunderland this season. The struggling side were brilliant at times going forward against Everton but defensively it was an embarrassment.
Southampton then dictated the affair on Wearside with the hosts scared to come out of their own half. A Dustin Tadic penalty made it back-to-back defeats for Sunderland leaving the red and white army with a woeful six points from 12 games.
Palace have won their last two games against West Brom and Watford albeit the Eagles lost three successive games before this with Manchester City, Leicester City and West Ham United putting Pardew’s troops to the sword.
Jeremain Lens needs to find his form
Sunderland winger Jeremain Lens has found it tough since Allardyce’s arrival. The Dutch international hasn’t featured since victory over Newcastle.
Allardyce revealed that Lens will have an ‘opportunity’ in the coming games, claiming the former Dynamo Kiev player will have to be ‘ready’ when a chance does come his way.
Lens found himself as a regular under previous boss Dick Advocaat but the substitutes bench has been his new home in recent weeks.
The former West Ham manager revealed that Lens that the whole squad will have to up their work-rate if they want to stay in the starting 11. Allardyce was critical of his side's work-rate, insisting ‘it’s not just Jeremain’. Lens will be hoping his chance comes sooner rather than later in order to lock down a regular starting berth.
No injury concerns for Black Cats boss
Lee Cattermole is ‘available’ according to Allardyce, with the latter insisting that his side have no fresh injury concerns.
Cattermole hobbled off in the defeat to Everton but has since seen a specialist. John O’Shea featured for the Republic of Ireland against Bosnia, coming off the bench in the second half and should be fit again.
In this fixture last season..
Sunderland left Selhurst Park with all three points last campaign. Steven Fletcher put the visitors into the lead but a Wes Brown own goal levelled up proceedings.
Jordi Gomez then fired his side into the lead with a strike from outside the box before Fletcher poked in his second and Sunderland’s third.