Sunderland are still in the depths of the relegation battle despite their moral boosting derby victory last weekend, sitting just three ponts above the relegation zone the black Cats simply must win on Saturday against Crystal Palace. The problem of course for Sunderland is not only are they facing a side that has won four of its last five, including a victory over the Champions Manchester City last weekend, but they are facing a Crystal Palace team that has won six of their last seven away from home a truly remarkable run of form. Sunderland did show some fight last weekend though , an appetitie for the relegation battle that they will have to continue to fight week on week. Led by captain John O'shea and Wes Brown, the black cats are one of those teams that seems to consistantly get out of the relegation battles they find themselves in year on year. This may be the most troublesome year for the northern club and they simply must pick up points at home.
Crystal Palace had a sensational win last Monday night, beating a Manchester City team that dominated possession but simply could not break down Palace's resolute defending. Alan Pardew has done a fantastic job since taking over at Palace and the team that were favourites for the drop when he took over now look likely to finish in the top half and above the Newcastle side that Pardew left to join Palace. With a solid core of talented young players Pardew has instilled a confidence that was lacking in the players. Bolasie, Puncheon, Murray, Zaha are all playing at a higher level and toghether they believe that the sum is greater than the individual parts, none more so that Glen Murray , who's goals are winning games but who's work rate and effort is inspiring those around him and the fans in the stands.
Taking both teams to score here, Sunderland have been short of goals of late but with Defoe, Wickham and Fletcher there is talent up front and with Crystal Palace bringing a talented side to the Stadium of light I am seeing both teams finding the net. If i was to pick an outcome here I think I would take the score draw as it may just be enough to move Sunderland further from the dropzone and Palace are probably due a let down game here.