Wise Men Say: With Sunderland’s confidence so high, Stoke must be there for the taking

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Wise Men Say

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I don’t want to come across as arrogant, but I feel so confident about a win tomorrow that anything less will leave me feeling devastated.

We’re playing well, we’re out of the bottom three and on current form (the last six games) we’re tenth in the table.

However, Stoke City are looking forlorn and threadbare as their season goes out with a mid-table whimper.

After a dreadful run of games, they’re 17th in the form table and we must take advantage of that to take a big step towards survival.

Stoke are shipping goals for fun at the moment, conceding 14 in their last four matches.

Compare that to our stronger looking defence, who have conceded only two in four and kept three clean sheets. Polar opposites.

When you add in us scoring three goals in our last away game and looking a better attacking proposition than Arsenal did last week, then you really have to fancy our chances.

Hopefully, Sam Allardyce isn’t forced into any changes at the Britannia Stadium.

With the defence playing well and looking settled, it’d be a blow if anyone was ruled out.

Younes Kaboul and Lamine Kone’s displays of making Premier League defending look easy has allowed Vito Mannone to regain his confidence and given Patrick van Aanholt and DeAndre Yedlin the opportunity to express themselves.

There may be some good attacking threats in the Stoke side, with the likes of Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri, but if our defenders play like they did against Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, then another clean sheet could be on the horizon.

Criticisms of the Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole and Yann M’Vila partnership of being too defensive have subsided too.

Kirchhoff and Cattermole fed Jermain Defoe the kind of balls he dreams of against Arsenal and more of the same against a leaky City defence should see the striker get on the scoresheet.

Hopefully, M’Vila will continue from where he left off last Sunday after a second-half performance of high pressing and clever tackling, which was as good as he’s been all season.

If any of the Stoke defenders watched the way Wahbi Khazri terrorised the Arsenal defence, he may have haunted the dreams of Ryan Shawcross and Co.

If Khazri shows the same level of high intensity, dribbling and skill, he alone could make it a long afternoon for Mark Hughes’ men.

The confidence of the Stoke players aren’t exactly high at the moment so an early warning could see them on the back foot.

It’s still tight down there despite us climbing out of the relegation zone.

A win tomorrow would put us on 34 points and regardless of other results, will have us in touching distance of safety.

If Sunderland keep up what they’ve been doing, against an opposition that are like a registered charity of giving points away, there’s nothing to worry about.

Come on lads, show that my confidence isn’t misplaced.

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