Sunderland have a chance to climb out of the bottom three, should they take all three points against Southampton at the Stadium of Light today (watch live on NBCSN at 7:45 a.m. ET, or live online via NBC Sports Live Extra).
It’s clear just how deep in the relegation zone Sunderland were, as they’ve lost just one Premier League game of their last six, yet are still even with Crystal Palace at the bottom of the table. Still, it’s been a great couple of weeks for the Black Cats. They’ve advanced in the FA Cup and won the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-finals, beating Manchester United 2-1. Then last week, they went to Fulham and came away 4-1 winners, with Adam Johnson scoring a hat-trick.
Southampton, meanwhile, have had a difficult week. After beating West Brom last weekend, the news came midweek that executive chairman Nicola Cortese had left the club, putting the future of manager Mauricio Pochettino in doubt. But the Argentine has now confirmed he’ll stay on, and Saints have said they’ll not sell any of their players during the January transfer window. Will it be enough to settle the side and allow them to get a result against Sunderland?
Pochettino has made just one change to the lineup that beat the Baggies last weekend, with Calum Chambers replacing Nathaniel Clyne. Adam Lallana, scorer of the only goal last time out, takes his place alongside Jay Rodriguez and behind Rickie Lambert.
Sunderland have made two changes, one of which is sure to excite many tuning in in the United States: Jozy Altidore steps into the starting XI. The American came off the bench against Fulham to replace Steven Fletcher, but it’s Fletcher that sits this time out. Seb Larsson also returns to the starting lineup, while Jack Colback drops to the subs list.
Sunderland: Mannone, Bardsley, Alonso, Ki, Brown, O’Shea, Cattermole, Larsson, Johnson, Borini, Altidore
Subs: Gardner, Fletcher, Celustka, Pickford, Colback, Giaccherini, Roberge
Southampton: Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw, Cork, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Lallana, Rodriguez, Lambert
Subs: K. Davis, Clyne, Yoshida, Ramírez, Ward-Prowse, Guly, Hooiveld