The relegation zone has a close eye on tonight’s Monday Night Football match-up between Crystal Palace and Sunderland at Selhurst Park. The visiting Black Cats, who have conceded 10 goals and scored 0 in their last 2 matches, are sitting in the drop zone on 8 points while the Eagles are only 1 point and 2 positions better.
Crystal Palace has the table backing them as well as recent form and history to take points from tonight’s match. Palace have not seen the results they wanted but have been showing better form lately. They were unlucky not to take the full points in their last match against West Brom when Saido Berahino scored late in injury time and looked reliable if not solid in their 2-1 loss to Chelsea in their last home match.
Sunderland have been in free fall since losing 8-0 to Southampton 2 weeks ago. Gus Poyet is having to ask the tough questions, the biggest one being whether to send starting goalkeeper Vito Mannone to the bench, of his team in hopes of re-igniting the passion that was so evident at the end of last season. His one request to the team is to ‘go back to the basics.’
Neil Warnock’s side have history backing them as well. In the last 5 league matches between the sides, Crystal Palace have 3 wins and 2 draws. Sunderland only scored in 1 of those 5 matches. And the last (and only) time the Black Cats came to Selhurst Park and took the full points was way back in 1995.
But Warnock knows nothing can be taking for granted in the league. “Anyone’s capable in this league and it’s the closest Premier League in many, many years apart from the top two.”