On Premier League form, Sunderland is playing like a top-half team ahead of its match with Crystal Palace today, but that’ll do little to ease the tension for a club situated in the relegation zone (Watch live on NBCSN and online at 11am ET via NBC Sports Live Extra).
The Black Cats lost their last PL match, dating back to Feb. 22 thanks to sustained Cup runs. In fact, they’ve lost their last two in the Premier League but won three of four before that to pull themselves into a real survival fight.
Sunderland is in 19th place but has played two matches less than most other scrappers, if not three. A win today would boost them into safety with 27 points, the current total of today’s opponents.
Jozy Altidore is on the bench for Sunderland after fighting an illness.
Palace, on the other hand, has dropped back into the mess despite its strong run after Tony Pulis took over. The Eagles only have one point from their last four PL matches, but the gauntlet included Arsenal, Man City and Spurs.
Sunderland: Mannone, Bardsley, Alonso, O’Shea (c), Brown, Bridcutt, Ki, Larsson, Johnson, Borini, Fletcher
Subs: Gardner, Colback, Altidore, Vergini, Scocco, Cattermole, Ustari
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Bolasie, Digkacoi, Jedinak, Ledley, Ince, Murray.
Subs: Hennessey, McCarthy, Guedioura, Puncheon, Thomas, Gayle, Jerome