We have the starting teams from Sunderland v Fulham, in their opening match of the Premier League Season.
This is an interesting clash. Sunderland’s manager will probably attract more attention than their players. Fulham have had a quiet summer which may suit them. New signing, Darren Bent, returns to the Stadium of Light and how often do we see former players come back to haunt their former employers? I think a draw could also occur here.
Sunderland XI: Westwood; Celustka, Colback, Roberge, O’Shea (C); Larsson, Cabral, Johnson, Giaccherini, Sessegnon; Altidore. Sunderland subs: Wickham, Moberg Karlsson, Diakite, Ba, Cuellar, Dong-won, Mannone.
Fulham XI: Stekelenburg; Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Richardson; Taarabt, Sidwell, Boateng, Duff, Kasami; Berbatov.
Fulham subs: Stockdale, Senderos, Ruiz, Karagounis, Briggs, Rodallega, Bent
- Fulham are unbeaten in their last four trips to Wearside (W1, D3).
- Four of the last 10 games between the sides have ended goalless, while only three of those matches saw both sides score.
- The Black Cats won just one of their final eight home games last season.
- However, they have not lost a match at the Stadium of Light since Paolo Di Canio took over (W1, D2).
- They managed just two headed goals in 2012-13 – a Premier League low.
- The Whites have begun the last four seasons by keeping clean sheets (W2, D2). The time they conceded on the opening day was in 2008, when they lost 2-1 to Hull.
- However, Fulham have only won one of seven Premier League games when they started the season away from home (at Portsmouth in 2009).
- Martin Jol’s men gained only five points from losing positions last term, the worst record in the top flight.