When you expect to figure into the fight against relegation (again, in Sunderland’s case), every win is vitally important as you chase the 40-point mile marker in the race for safety.
When the Black Cats welcome Middlesbrough to the Stadium of Light on Sunday (Watch live, 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), both sides will be in search of an elusive first victory of the 2016-17 Premier League season.
Sunderland had the misfortune of facing Manchester City away from home on the opening day of the season, and David Moyes’ side conceded a late own goal to lose 2-1. Meanwhile, Boro, newly promoted this season, went ahead early on before conceding a second-half equalizer and ultimately settled for a point.
As they say, it’s a relegation six-pointer.
Sunderland: Mannone, Van Aanholt, Djiliobodji, O’Shea, McNair, Love, Rodwell, Gooch, Watmore, Januzaj, Defoe
Middlesbrough: Guzan, Nsue, Barragan, Gibson, Friend, Clayton, Forshaw, Stuani, Ramirez, Downing, Negredo