Sunderland v Leicester – Premier League

Sunderland v Leicester

Sunderland could opt for an unchanged starting 11 as they have no new injury or suspension concerns. Djilobodji and Kirchhoff will be back in the squad, with the former having better chances to start, though O’Shea is set to continue at centre back to provide continuity. Cattermole and Borini continue to miss out which weakens, but the squad have adapted well and are settled at present. They’ve dropped to the foot of the table again, so confidence won’t be great, but they can take heart from recent performances, where they’ve improved. They’ll play to win at home and will be more adventurous than in their previous game, but a fairly cautious, safety first mentality will remain, with a draw not a poor result, even as the home side sitting bottom of the league. They will invite Leicester onto them before hitting at pace on the break, though at home they will try and play with a bit more possession. They’d prefer to keep the game scrappy and low scoring, as an open game suits Leicester more. If they get ahead they’d sit on a single goal lead. However should they trail they will be more direct and risk taking, as they can’t afford to lose.

Leicester can welcome back Mendy and Chilwell from injury, but remain without key figures Schmeichel and Drinkwater, who leave the spine of the team weakened. Zieler and Amartey fill in respectively, but the absent pair are being missed. Slimani could replace Okazaki in a tactical change, but major rotations aren’t likely from their last gasp draw with Middlesbrough. They’ve found away games tough this season so won’t be overly confident ahead of their trip to Sunderland. Ranieri has asked his players to draw on their relegation battle mentality to get out of their current slump, and they’ll only be truly happy with a win. They’ll feel they are better than Sunderland, but they have to back it up with a performance, with a draw not really satisfying. Getting the opening goal will mean a lot to Leicester for this game, so they’ll look to start well, get ahead and force Sunderland out, playing into their counter attacking style. Chasing the game would require a lot of patience against a stubborn Sunderland who will dig in. If they get ahead, they’ll have a good chance of a win, but going behind a draw wouldn’t be a disaster.

Verdict & Prediction

Even with defeat to Liverpool last time out the mood around Sunderland won’t be too negative, though they did slip back to the bottom of the table. In a tricky game with Leicester they’ll fancy their chances of a third win in four, but if they were to take a draw it would satisfy. At home the support will be positive, looking to give the players a lift as they try and climb off the foot of the table again. A win may even see them move out the bottom three, so there are plenty of reasons to be motivated, even if they come into the game as slight underdogs.

Prediction: Sunderland +0.25 AH
Odds: 2.03 Pinnacle