It has been a long time since we have heard the Black Cats roar in the Premier League with just one top ten finish in the Premier League since the 2000/01 season and with two relegations as well as a number of near misses on top of this they are playing more like kittens than cats in recent years. Can their saviour from last season in manager Dick Advocaat see his side land on their feet in this season’s Premier League campaign?
The 2014/15 EPL season was another one to forget for Sunderland and their fans as they survived at the death by three points thanks to the work of Advocaat. The Dutch football manager took over the club with just two months left in the season following the departure of Gus Poyet with the club one place and one point above the drop zone after winning just two of their previous 19 Premier League games but three wins and three draws in the final nine matches of the season saw the Black Cats retain their EPL status for a ninth successive season and, after a change of heart following a decision to retire, it will be the 67 year old that leads them into battle. Can they beat the drop this season?
2015/16 EPL Preview:
Goals, as they say, win games and this is an area where Sunderland have struggled for a number of seasons and their joint second lowest in the league amount of 31 in 38 games last season was a big contributor in their issues during the last campaign. Three of the last five seasons have seen their top Premier League goalscorer bag a single figure total, while 11 goals was the highest amount in any of the five. This is a long way back from the days of Darren Bent bagging 25 goals during the 2009/10 season and if they are to secure safe passage through the upcoming season they will need someone to get close to this total to lead the line.
Ins and Outs:
At the time of writing Sunderland have made no signings.
The club has had two players leave the Stadium of Light so far this summer with 35 year old defender Anthony Réveillère exited the club following the end of his one year contract, while fellow Frenchman El-Hadji Ba has signed for Championship side Charlton Athletic on a three year deal for an undisclosed fee.
Sunderland EPL Preview Bets:
Due to their troubles in the league in recent times and lack of activity in the transfer market this summer, it is not a surprise to see Sunderland amongst the favourites for relegation with online sportsbook William Hill making them 3.00 to return to the Championship for the first time since the 2006/07 season. This makes the Black Cats the fourth favourites for relegation and the lowest price of all the sides outside of the newly promoted trio of Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich.
However, things are not straightforward as Sunderland are available at odds of 1.36 in the William Hill Sportsbook to avoid relegation and if they can live up to these odds then they certainly are not expecting them to make a top half finish as the Black Cat are around 1.10 across the industry to finish in the bottom half of the league table.
If they do not boost their attacking options well enough this summer, we feel that there is a great chance that they could be relegated this season, especially as new boys Norwich have plenty of experience in the top flight and could easily stay up upon their return to the EPL. As such, we feel that odds of 3.00 for Sunderland to be relegated this season is the value bet on the Black Cats.