Kick off – 3pm Saturday 15th October
Venue – Bet365 Stadium
Referee – Mike Jones
Last time – 1-1 (Arnautovic 50, Defoe 94)
Stoke City and Sunderland meet at the Bet365 Stadium this weekend in a clash of the Premier Leagues bottom two clubs. Both sides are without a win so far this season and both will be looking at this fixture as their chance to kick start their season.
Stoke City vs Sunderland: Bottom Two Prepare for Premier League Battle
In recent seasons the Black Cats have been used to situations like this. However, it does not make getting that first win any easier. If they want to survive again that elusive first win must come very soon. Stoke have had problems all year. The Potters have picked up only 25 points this calendar year. The third worst in the league.
Stoke picked up an excellent point at Manchester United last time out. It extended their unbeaten run to two games which has given boss Mark Hughes encouragement that his side are turning a corner. However, they are still without a win this season and Hughes will see this game as perfect opportunity to get their first three points.
Sunderland, like their hosts are currently winless in the league. Once again the men from Wearside have had a poor start and once again, like last season, they have picked up just two points from seven games.
The Black Cats come off the back of two successive home games. Unfortunately for them only one point was gained. In the first against Crystal Palace, they let slip a two-goal lead to lose 3-2. In the second game, they came from behind to earn a point against West Bromwich Albion.
Stoke team news
Midfielder Joe Allen is a doubt after picking up a hamstring injury which he picked up on international duty with Wales. Glen Johnson, who had to withdraw from England duty, has been ruled out for three to four weeks with a thigh injury.
Sunderland Team news
Sunderland could be down to the bare bones of their squad for this game. Lamine Konè, Jason Denayer are both doubtful. Lee Cattermole and Steven Pienaar have been added to the ever growing injury list. They join the likes of Vito Mannone, Fabio Borini, Adnan Januzaj, Seb Larsson and Jan Kirchhoff.
City boss Mark Hughes feels he has reasons to be confident heading into this match. After suffering four straight defeats, two draws followed. Hughes believes his side are now getting back to playing they way they can. This home game is one in which he will feel his side need to win and can win but it will not be easy against a side battling desperately for points also.
Defoe’s rallying cry
Striker Jermain Defoe, one of only two players to have scored for the Black Cats this season is remaining positive. He has called for his team to stick together and keep the good spirit that is within the squad, intact. “It is important that the whole team sticks together, like we did last season towards then end, then you’ll be fine”. Fans will have everything crossed that once again all will once again be fine.
The last word
A win for Sunderland would see them leapfrog over their opponents and possibly out of the bottom three. However, even with the injuries they have, they must help out striker Defoe. The Black Cats rely heavily on the former England international but without help, Sunderland will continue to struggle. Stoke, being at home, will be expected to be positive in front of their home fans and take the game to the visitors. This will be a tough game for both sides and it could go either way. This is expected to be a nervy encounter for the leagues bottom two and their fans.