[11th-Apr-15] Match Preview: Sunderland – Crystal Palace
Sunderland will have Jack Rodwell available for selection once again but Wes Brown, Ricky Alvarez, and Emanuele Giaccherini will be out due to injury while Sebastian Larsson will serve the first of his 2 match ban for yellow card accumulation. Crystal Palace will have captain Mile Jedinak available for selection after serving a four match ban for his stamp on West Ham’s Enner Valencia while his replacement for those 4 matches, Joe Ledley is doubtful with a hip injury. Palace will also be without Marouane Chamakh, Jordon Mutch, and Frazier Campbell due to injury.
Crystal Palace’s only road win against Sunderland came back in 1979 but 5 of the 15 matches Sunderland have been home form against the Eagles have been scoreless draws, including the last 2 affairs between the squads. The 1-0 loss at Southampton is also Palace’s only loss in their last 9 away games, 6 of which were wins for the West London side. Palace are only 7 points from their club record 45 points total in the Premier League, set last season. Glenn Murray is the man to watch for the Eagles, scoring the opening goal on 4 of the Eagles’ last 6 games, with 6 in 6 in total. Palace have also scored more goals from set pieces than any other Premier League side at 20 this season.
Sunderland have netted 13 times at home, the lowest total of any of the Premier League clubs and the Black Cats have not scored in 15 of their games in the league with only Aston Villa worse. Jermaine Defoe has scored 3 of Sunderland’s last 4 goals, but the Black Cats also boast the record for most scoreless draws playing out 7 of them this season so far.
Prediction: I like Sunderland’s defense here especially with Palace missing core trio of players, but the Eagles as a much better side in terms of quality. I do still see the Eagles struggling to score however.