Richard Mennear analysis: Sunderland have their work cut out to avoid same fate as Aston Villa

Didier Ndong
Didier Ndong
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Aston Villa were relegated last season with just 17 points.

On current form, Sunderland have it all to do to avoid a similar fate.

Wahbi Khazri in action for Sunderland

Wahbi Khazri in action for Sunderland

After eight games, the Black Cats are without a win, have a goal difference of minus nine and are already four points adrift of the dotted line that means safety.

Over the past four years, Sunderland have proved dab hands at timing their run to safety to perfection. They have it all to do to achieve that this season.

It took until October 26 to win the first game last season.

But the chronic injury problems, lack of match-winners and poor run of form and results makes it hard to see where the first league win is coming from.

Sunderland were patched-up against Stoke City. Lamine Kone and Jason Denayer the latest casualties added to the seemingly ever-increasing injury list.

During the game, Sunderland lost Patrick van Aanholt too.

The run of bad luck is never ending. It means David Moyes is having to chop and change his team week in, week out with no consistency in team selection, never mind performances.

It all makes for an increasingly grim and depressing picture for Sunderland.

It is, of course, far too early in the campaign to give up all hope just yet. Those fans inside the bet365 Stadium certainly hadn't second half.

The players were booed off at the break after going in two-nil down but the support second half was phenomenal.

Sadly, the performances on the pitch never match the performances of the fans off it.

That has to change. Starting with West Ham United away next weekend.

Must-win game? It isn't far off. Sunderland's problems are mounting up by the week.

Getting some of the injured players back would be a start but several of them are long-term. Another week of hard work on the training ground beckons.

And they have a hell of a lot of hard work to do to avoid the same fate experienced by Aston Villa last season.