The only two sides without a win this season clash at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday.
Stoke v Sunderland - Saturday 15:00, Sky Sports 1
Stoke picked up a valuable point at Old Trafford before the international break, though in truth they were very lucky not to find themselves on the wrong end of a hiding. Joe Allen was the hero with his equalizer and the Welshman has been one of the few shining lights for Stoke so far this season. Mark Hughes pushed the midfielder further up the pitch to play directly behind Wilfried Bony in their last match and he should continue in the role here where his creativity could be key to unlocking the opposition defence.
Sunderland improved after they changed to a 3-5-2 against West Brom just before the hour. Throughout his career, Patrick van Aanholt has had the look of a winger playing at full-back and not looking entirely comfortable defensively. The 3-5-2 allowed him the freedom to play further forward where he excels, but it remains to be seen whether Moyes will go down that road from the kick-off and against fellow strugglers Stoke he may feel the extra man in midfield could be more useful. However, Sunderland are in the midst of an injury crisis with a total of eight first team regulars out injured, and the absence of Cattermole and Kirchhoff leaves Moyes without too many options.
This match sees the bottom two teams, and the only two sides without a win this season, pitted against each other. As such it’s hard to imagine anything other than a tense contest with few goals. Though Sunderland are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, Stoke haven’t scored any goals during the first half, so we’re backing Stoke’s first goal to come during the second half at 3.1. Along the same lines, we’re backing Sunderland/Draw half-time/full-time since Sunderland have drawn half of the last six in which they led at half-time, with the 1-1 correct score also worth a punt.