Southampton - Sunderland Preview: Black Cats looking for rare away win

Sam Allardyce leads his men into battle this weekend against a solid Southampton side.

Southampton - Sunderland Preview: Black Cats looking for rare away win
Image credit: GOAL.com

Sunderland once again find themselves in desperate need of a win to boost their chances of staying in the top flight. This weekend they face a solid Southampton side.

Ronald Koeman's side have had another fantastic season and have been great at home this term.

The statistics

The stats don't make good reading for Sunderland fans this weekend.

When these two sides met last season Sunderland suffered their biggest ever Premier League defeat when Southampton smashed eight past a helpless Black Cats defence. To make matters worse, Sunderland have only won one of their last six games with Southampton in the league.

Sunderland are currently without a clean sheet in 14 games, which is a longest run of any team this season. They'll have to watch out for opposition strikers trying to get their head on the ball, as the Saints have scored more headed goals than any other team in the league this season (11). On the other hand, Sunderland have only scored two goals from headers, which is the lowest in the league.

However, one positive for Sunderland is the fact that Koeman's men have lost three games this season from a winning position and they haven't won any of their last 11 games in which the opposition has scored. An early goal for Sunderland would be a huge bonus.

Sunderland have faced 166 shots on their goal this season, which is yet another league record. 

Can Sunderland get the better of Southampton this time round? | Image source: Stu Forster/Getty Images Sport
Can Sunderland get the better of Southampton this time round? | Image source: Stu Forster/Getty Images Sport

The team selection

Sunderland have been helped by the news that Charlie Austin will be out for a few weeks and Shane Long is likely to miss this weekend's game. Victor Wanyama is currently suspended.

Lee Cattermole is ruled out for the Wearsiders whilst Jan Kirchhoff and John O'Shea may be fit in time to feature at some point.

Jeremain Lens is still recovering from hernia surgery.

What a win means

Sunderland's relegation rivals all face each other this weekend meaning it is crucial they pick up some points at St. Mary's this Saturday. A win could potentially move the side three points clear of their relegation rivals Newcastle United and Norwich City. With ten games remaining Sunderland need to start turning their promising performances into points on the board.

A defeat would see Southampton lose three games in a row for the first time this season but a win could potentially lift them to seventh place. Leaving them just three points off a European spot.