Ishmael Miller and Joe Mattock will miss out on West Brom’s first home game of the season. With a tough run of opening games including Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, it is vital that Roberto Di Matteo’s side pick up points at home to Sunderland.
Steve Bruce’s side come off the back of a disappointing 2 – 2 draw at home to Birmingham which saw the Black Cats go ahead before conceding two late goals from set pieces. There could be problems at the back as John Mensah has much to the surprise of Sunderland supporters, been ruled out for three weeks with a groin injury. Michael Turner will complete his two match ban picked up at the end of last season, and captain Lee Cattermole is also suspended following his two yellow cards from last weeks game.
Bruce will hope that referee Howard Webb’s talk with his squad will see an end to the unnecessary ill-discipline which has plagued Sunderland performances over the last season, and ultimately proven costly.
The quality of the Sunderland team should prevail. Darren Bent will always be the biggest threat and is already off the mark courtesy of his penalty conversion last week. Cristian Riveros could be called on to fill Cattermole’s boots and other new arrivals Onouha and Al-Muhammady will build on solid performances from last week.
My prediction: West Bromich Albion 0 – 2 Sunderland AFC
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