David Moyes' rock-bottom Sunderland face a tough looking trip to the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, where the Black Cats will take on Eddie Howe's impressive Bournemouth, as they look to get their first win of the season.
Bournemouth, who dwindled off their impressive run of four unbeaten games following a 2-0 disappointment at the hands of newly promoted Middlesbrough, will have the opportunity to get back on track with a victory.
And the Cherries are unbeaten against Sunderland in the Premier League, as the previous two outings last season resulted in a 2-0 win to Bournemouth and a 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light. And Sunderland, who have been hopeless this season, to say the least, will look to pull off what can well be termed as an 'upset'.
An impressive season for Bournemouth
Bournemouth have, quite silently and discreetly, done impressively well this season, acting as one of the surprises of the campaign already. Eddie Howe's system of playing the high-pressing system and adopting the high-tempo football is working effeciently well, with a number of players flourishing in the system already.
They've scored 14 goals in the Premier League this season, with six of them coming during their 6-1 hammering of Hull City around a month ago. Junior Stanislas' three goals and tally of two assists in just five appearances, apart from the former Burnley man's general play has played a vital role in all of that. Norway International Joshua King too, has scored twice is nine appearances has contributed a decent bit too.
The showings of Harry Arter and defender Steve Cook have been rather standout, but under-credited by Premier League fans and experts alike. Arter's work-rate and Cook's determination at the back, when playing alongside skipper Simon Francis, have been more important than many have realized.
Defensively, the Cherries have conceded just as many as they have scored, leaking a total of seven goals in games against Manchester United and Manchester City. Apart from in their games against the Manchester sides, Bournemouth have not conceded more than two goals in a game, keeping clean-sheets against Everton and Tottenham. The win over the Toffees and a draw against Mauricio Pochettino's men shows that Eddie Howe's men from the South Coast are capable of holding their own against the more able sides of the division.
Their encouraging home form would act as a propellant going into the game, as they have lost only one home game in the Premier League this season, that too against Manchester United.
Sword of axing hanging over Moyes
There isn't a manager in the Premier League right now, who would be more under the cosh than David Moyes right now. With the side heading into its 11th attempt at winning a game, the troubles are quite evident as the Black Cats sit at the 20th position on the table, with just two points in the bag.
Well on course to replicate the Derby County side of the 2007-08 season when the Rams won only a single game throughout the whole campaign, Sunderland are being touted to equal Derby's record of accumulating the least amount of points this season- 11.
The men from Wearside have conceded the second-most number of goals this season, letting in 20 goals, making them one of the loved sides to score against for the opposition sides. And the 4-5-1 formation, which is usually used by defensively frail sides, isn't the one to be blamed as individual errors have come as a death-knell for them.
In terms of goals scored, Jermaine Defoe has scored five of the seven goals that they've managed to rack up, with a striker crisis acting as the most torturous issue to get rid of for the former Manchester United and Everton boss. Young Joel Asoro and the flailing Victor Anichebe have failed to deliver, making sure that a massive burden falls on the former Tottenham star.
Injuries add to Sunderland's woes
Apart from struggling with numerous issues on the pitch, Sunderland have been forced to deal with problems pertaining to injuries too. Defender Jason Denayer, who started against Spurs, is a doubt for the game due to groin problem, while the duo of Jan Kirchhoff and John O'Shea will miss the trip to Dean Court due to hamstring injuries. Fabio Borini and Sebastian Larsson are set to miss the game, along with skipper Lee Cattermole, who still isn't fit enough to feature.
Bournemouth, on the other hand, will be without summer signings Lewis Cook and Brad Smith for the game, with Andrew Surman and Stanislas doubts for the game.
AFC Bournemouth: Boruc; Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels; Surman, Arter; Ibe, Wilshere, King; Wilson
Sunderland: Pickford; Jones, Kone, Djilobodji, van Aanholt; Gooch, Rodwell, Ndong; Watmore, Defoe, Januzaj