Sunderland - Birmingham

Sunderland made a furious start of the season announcing maybe even a battle for Europe (!), but then dropped in the crisis. Lack of results and noticed points was caused mainly with crisis of their best scorers Bent and Jones (and disaster shape on the road, of course). Recently those duo has woken up, Sunderland defeated Bolton 4-0 (three times Bent) and drew vs. Man City 1-1 (Jones) and in both games they played very well. At the same time, defense look stronger than usual (with goalie Gordon in a sensational shape), while forced midfield duo Meyler - Kieran Richardson brought more creativity than first option Cana – Cattermole had. Mentioned Cana is suspended, Cattermole is doubtful. Sunderland have lost only one of their last seven league games and see their uptrend in the finish of the season that could be ended few places upper.


Alex McLeish has been doing a great job in Birmingham. With limited resources and a team without big names, they hold (in my opinion) very high 8th place. Fanatical spirit, tough defending and fast passing are their main characteristics. The biggest problem for McLeish is a small number of players in the squad which limits rotation options and has brought some fatigue. Also, defense is consisted from the players in late football years which don’t help as well. Their advantage today will be tradition, Blues usually like to play with today’s opponent. Defender Stuart Parnaby should be on the bench after recovering from an ankle injury, while midfielder Teemu Tainio is ineligible (loaned from Sunderland). Birmingham have kept 10 clean sheets this season, but have managed only one in their last nine league games.


I’ve been thinking a lot about this game. Sunderland  attack will have advantage against Brum’s defense, that’s for sure. Midfield looks fine for me, but my concern was a defense line. However, following their improvement (Gordon’s particularly) and foreseen uptrend in the finish, I think we’ll see a narrow home win. 888sports offer 2.25. 


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