Another week, another relegation six pointer.
After dealing with Aston Villa and Swansea this month, fate has given us another huge game in January: Bournemouth at home.
Bournemouth, coming around here with their optimism, decent football, team spirit and good location for luring players.
Forget the romance surrounding them, they make me sick.
It’s nothing really against The Cherries specifically, they’re just the latest of in a line of newly promoted clubs who’ve came up and are already competing with us.
If we were sitting comfortably in mid table I’d be enjoying their time in the sun as much as any neutral but with them being a relegation rival this season, I enjoy seeing them lose as much as Newcastle.
Well, I say I enjoy seeing them lose, they haven’t done as much of that as we would have liked lately either.
In their last 10 league games, Bournemouth have only lost against Arsenal and West Ham.
An admirable record considering Arsenal are challenging for the title and West Ham currently reside in sixth place.
It wouldn’t be too unreasonable to suggest that Eddie Howe will set his side up for a draw in this game, looking to keep possession and frustrate the Sunderland players and the supporters.
After all, it’s much more of a must win for us than them, due to us lagging behind in the table.
If the visitors do set up this way though, it could play right into our hands.
Should Sam Allardyce keep to the same system of Jeremain Lens just behind Jermain Defoe with possibilities out wide such as Adam Johnson, Duncan Watmore and the inform Patrick van Aanholt, then conceding possession to Bournemouth gives us good counter attacking options.
If we’re to play on the counter, it would be possibly be one of the biggest reasons to hand Jordan Pickford his second Premier League start.
We all saw how well the England Under 21 international performed last week against Tottenham but one thing we didn’t get chance to see is acclaimed distribution.
There’s plenty of clips of him starting breakaway’s by playing inch perfect long balls for the Under 21’s and that’s exactly what the likes of Lens and van Aanholt will be crying out for on Saturday.
The now departed Costel Pantilimon was often derided for his poor distribution so imagine how, dare I say it, exciting it could be to see Pickford pinging the ball out quickly to get us moving forward!
Sam Allardyce then has the decision of who to play in front of Pickford.
The pace of Bournemouth new boy Benik Afobe will certainly be on his mind so will that spell a rest for Wes Brown?
Brown could well be feeling the pinch of a lot of games in quick succession which could prompt Allardyce to hand Jan Kirchhoff a chance of redemption after a poor showing against Spurs.
Kirchhoff took part in a behind-closed-doors midweek friendly against a Sheffield United XI, which will have improved his fitness going into this weekend’s game but a question mark still hangs over whether it is too soon to give him his first start. Would this be the right game to do it in as well?
Should Wes Brown be unavailable then Sebastian Coates may be the safer option.
I travelled to Bournemouth for the away game earlier in the season.
A massive trip for a game that was pretty much over after nine minutes.
I’m desperate for us to get some revenge on Saturday, making Bournemouth’s latest chapter in their fairy tale a one of tragedy.