Sunderland vs. Swansea City Preview

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Published: 15/01/2012

Martin O’ Neill’s rejuvenated Sunderland side will be looking to continue their impressive form when they take on Swansea City at the Stadium of Light on January 21.

Despite enduring the set back of a narrow loss at Chelsea on their most recent outing, Sunderland acquitted themselves extremely well and gave Andre Villas Boas’ men a real battle.

The manner of that defeat is unlikely to halt the Black Cats swift progress in the long run and they will be strong favourites to get back to winning ways against Swansea and add to the fourteen points which O’Neill has already racked up since taking over the reins.

The former Aston Villa, Celtic and Leicester City boss has evidently instilled a strong work ethic in and amongst his squad which was suffering real decline prior to Christmas.

And it will be interesting to see just how well Sunderland can respond against a Swansea side who have fought and battled well so far this season.

Brendan Rogers’ men are a tough unit to break down and have shown on many occasions that they are no pushovers based purely on the fact that they work hard for ninety minutes and do not roll over against clubs who possess a significant advantage in terms of quality.

But crucially, the Welsh outfit have, despite their efforts, fallen short on the road and with just one win from ten matches away from the Liberty Stadium, it seems unlikely that they can stop a team who are near the top of the league on recent form figures.

In contrast to their water tight defence at home, Swansea have leaked 19 goals on the road and that tally is in danger of growing further in this fixture.

When in decent form, Sunderland have always provided a major test for even the best Premier League sides at the Stadium of Light and O’Neill will now want his team to kick on at home in order to at least consolidate a mid-table finish and lay the foundations for a successful season next time around.

Sebastian Larsson is really beginning to show his worth and the Swedish striker can lead his team towards a cosy success against the Swans.

His goals against Peterborough United in the F.A Cup demonstrated that there is huge potential just waiting to come through and he looks like being capable of filling the void up front on a long term basis following the high profile departures of prolific hitmen Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan.

With the likes of Lee Cattermole and Kieran Richardson also in their ranks, Sunderland have the promise to be a top notch outfit and they should now be expected to cruise past teams of Swansea’s nature at home.

Odds of 3/4 look fairly generous for a Sunderland victory – nonetheless it may pay to be a little more adventurous and back the Black Cats on a -1 handicap at around 4/1 as Swansea may struggle to keep pace and their heads above water if the home side can make an early breakthrough.


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