The early kick-off on Saturday sees Sunderland host West Bromwich Albion as both teams look to build on positive results last weekend with victory at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland have won only two of their 11 matches so far in the Premier League, but one of those was last week’s 3-1 win at Fulham in a game which arguably hinged on the dismissal of Cottagers defender Brede Hangeland.
However, it must be remembered that Martin O’Neill’s men have only lost three and drawn more than half of their league clashes.
The Black Cats have also won ten of the 24 games between the sides since 1993, with seven draws and seven West Brom wins.
Their much-needed triumph at Craven Cottage could give Sunderland the confidence they have been so sorely lacking, particularly with Steven Fletcher in goalscoring form and Stephane Sessegnon possibly getting back to his best after breaking his 22-game duck with a tremendous strike at Craven Cottage.
Sunderland are 27/20 to win on Saturday, which is not beyond the realms of possibility given a lot of early-season tipsters suggested they would fare a lot better than they have so far.
However, it must be kept in mind that West Brom have won four of their last five games against Sunderland, including a 4-0 success at the Hawthorns in February.
The Baggies’ incredible start to the season sees them in the top four at the moment. Imagine West Brom playing Barcelona in the Champions League next season. It could happen.
However, another thing to remember is that most of the good work that boss Steve Clarke has done has come at home, with only one win from five away outside the Black Country.
Sunderland themselves have won one from four at home, but have drawn two.
In fact, the Black Cats have drawn as many at home as West Brom have drawn away, so there is a very good chance of a tie at the tempting price of 11/5.
Clarke’s men have recorded home wins against Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea this season, so you might just be thinking an away win could be on the cards, especially with a price of 2/1 on offer with bwin.
But my prediction, as it was successfully with West Ham and Stoke on Monday, is that this clash will end in a draw. If you have to call a winner, I would back Sunderland, but the overwhelming feeling going into this one is a stalemate at 11/5.
Anyone registering with bwin today can claim a free £20 bet and placing this on Sunderland and West Brom to draw would return £64 if successful – not a bad way to start your punting for the weekend.