Sunderland - Watford - Predicted XI: Young Black Cats to get a run out in final fixture?

Who will be in Sam Allardyce's line-up for the final game of the season?

Sunderland - Watford - Predicted XI: Young Black Cats to get a run out in final fixture?
Allardyce can enjoy the final game of the season knowing his side are safe. | Photo: The Sun

After passionate performances produced against both Chelsea and Everton, Sunderland digging themselves out of a sticky situation has seen them successfully secure their place in the Premier League next season.

With the Black Cats already safe, Sam Allardyce may go with the same starting line-up for the eighth game in a row or he could mix it up a little bit.


Hero Vito Mannone kept Sunderland in both their last two games, especially against Chelsea, making terrific saves. He has finally established himself as number one and is seeing the credit he deserves at the closing stages of the season.

Despite this, Allardyce may keep him in goal in an attempt of another clean sheet and see out the season with a win away to Watford, however, he may also look to put in youngster Jordan Pickford who spent the first half of the season at Preston North End.

Pickford made his Premier League debut against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in January, which saw the Black Cats lose 4-1. He could potentially make his second appearance for the Lads.


It certainly took a while for Big Sam to find a defence unit that gels well to work together as a back four, although at times they have been leaking goals but towards to end of the season DeAndre Yedlin, Younes Kaboul, Lamine Kone and Patrick van Aanholt have improved, and look somewhat solid in supporting the attacking plays.

With such consistent performances, it is sort of hard to see anyone else fill in those shoes, however, last game of the season and no danger of being relegated, maybe Allardyce will try to find another set of defence to work on in-case of injuries next season.

Billy Jones or Wes Brown could come off the bench to start at Watford, although Allardyce could potentially look at the reserves and give them a run out for Sunderland, who are the future stars of football.

Weight off their shoulders | photo source: Chronicle
Weight off their shoulders. | Photo: The Chronicle


Not everyone on Wearside was sold on the idea of the three defensive midfield set-up, but no-one can argue against how well the results have turned out.

Lee Cattermole, Yann M’Vila and Jan Kirchoff playing together have seen performances improve. Cattermole has operated well going forward, which shows there is more to his game other than the known red cards and tough tackling. Meanwhile, Kirchhoff saw himself win the PFA Fan’s Player of the Month award for April due to his exploits.

M’Vila’s place in the squad has been more inconsistent that the others, but he has shown signs of his ability to play in this position undoubtedly improve over time, and it’s enough to keep his place in the team. With his season-long loan coming to an end, we may very well see Allardyce try to sign him on a permanent basis.


There are a couple of young players who are already starting to break into the team; the stand out player being Duncan Watmore in an attacking role, who adds depth to the already established starting forward trio of Fabio Borini, Wahbi Khazri and Jermain Defoe.

Sunderland won't want to think where they would be without striker Defoe, who has scored 15 league goals this season, however, with one game to go and safety already in the hands of Sunderland with no possible threat of relegation, the Black Cats can sit back and are able to rest key players like him.

Allardyce has the chance to give the youths a run in the squad ready for the summer training and to allow them to prove their worth for the pre-season games.