Do we have our first relegation battle of the season? 19th placed West Bromwich Albion welcome Sunderland to the Hawthorns, with both sides absolutely desperate to collect points (10 a.m. ET, watch live online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
West Brom are clearly suffering from a lack of Romelu Lukaku, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve scored just one — yes, one — goal in their first four league matches. That goal finally came last week, when Gareth McAuley put in the equalizer against Fulham in injury time. With Lukaku now at Everton, the Albion are hoping veteran Nicolas Anelka and new signing Stephane Sessegnon will manage to put them back on track.
Today Sessegnon makes his West Brom debut against his former side, hoping to impress just behind Nicolas Anelka. With former boss Paolo Di Canio speaking out against Sessegnon this week, stating the attacker did not care about Sunderland in his final few weeks with the club, Sessegnon will have even more reason to prove himself to his new side.
Di Canio, for his part, must be wondering if his days at Sunderland are numbered. The Black Cats’ only point this season comes from a 1-1 draw against Southampton in the second round. Since then they’ve lost 3-1 to both Arsenal and, perhaps much more embarrassingly, newcomers Crystal Palace. It looks as though Di Canio’s team has the potential to put forth a good attack, but then again, it’s looked that way for the past two weeks as well. Perhaps a more solid defense should be the answer?
West Brom Starting XI: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Amalfitano, Mulumbu, Morrison, Sinclair, Sessegnon, Anelka.
Sunderland Starting XI: Westwood, Celustka, Diakite, O’Shea, Colback, Johnson, Gardner, Ki, Giaccherini, Fletcher, Borini