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Championship | Gameweek 20
Dec 9, 2023 at 12.30pm UK
Stadium of Light
WB
Sunderland
2 - 1
West Brom
Ballard (70'), Neill (84')
Ballard (34')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Thomas-Asante (86')
Sarmiento (51'), Molumby (54'), Chalobah (81'), Furlong (90+3'), Thomas-Asante (90'), Pipa (90+6')

Preview: Sunderland vs. West Bromwich Albion - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Sunderland vs. West Bromwich Albion - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Sunderland will begin life without Tony Mowbray in the managerial hotseat as they welcome top-six hopefuls West Bromwich Albion to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon for a Championship clash.

The Black Cats decided to part ways with the 60-year-old following a 1-1 draw at Millwall last Saturday, while West Brom suffered a heartbreaking defeat to league leaders Leicester City on the same day.


Match preview

After back-to-back defeats at the end of November against strugglers Plymouth and relegation-threatened Huddersfield Town, the curtain came down on Mowbray's reign as Sunderland boss with a share of the spoils at The Den, where Millwall were arguably unfortunate not to claim maximum points.

Former Hibernian marksman Kevin Nisbet put Joe Edwards's Lions ahead in the closing stages of the first period, leading to a Black Cats onslaught in the second half, in which Jack Clarke bagged his 10th second-tier goal of the season from the spot after Ryan Leonard was judged to have fouled the ex-Tottenham Hotspur attacker in the box.

Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman cited the club's long-term plan and vision as one reason for opting to dismiss Mowbray on Monday evening, with the North-East side reportedly interested in luring Reims' Will Still away from Ligue 1 and into the dogfight that is the Championship playoff race.

While the Black Cats filter through their shortlist of potential managerial appointments, an interim coaching team led by Mike Dodds will take charge of first-team duties this weekend, with Saturday's hosts currently occupying ninth place in the second-tier standings, three points behind Liam Rosenior's Hull City in sixth.

With Ross Stewart departing the Stadium of Light in the summer to join recently-relegated Southampton, Sunderland have felt light at the top end of the pitch in terms of true goalscorers, with midfielders Daniel Neil and Jobe Bellingham joint-second in the club's Golden Boot race having netted three times each.

West Brom were unable to make it three-straight wins in the Championship last weekend after Enzo Maresca's Leicester collected all three points in the Black Country, handing the Baggies only their second home loss of the season and their first since the 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield on September 2.

It appeared that Carlos Corberan's men had snatched a point off the league-leading Foxes after Josh Maja's first goal for the Albion cancelled out Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall's opener, but as the hosts pushed for a winner in the final stages, the East Midlanders pounced on the break, with Harry Winks converting a simple tap-in to break hearts at The Hawthorns.

The Baggies' only defeats in their last eight league matches have arrived against title favourites Leicester and Russell Martin's Southampton, with a record of five wins during that period meaning Albion sit fifth in the Championship table, four points ahead of Blackburn Rovers in seventh.

A less-than-ideal tally of 26 points from 23 away matches last season severely hindered West Brom's attempts to achieve a top-six finish, but Corberan's charges have shown the ability to grind out results on the road at the beginning of this term, winning 2-0 at Coventry City and 1-0 at Cardiff City despite not being at their best.

Albion are unbeaten during their last four visits to the Stadium of Light, with Tom Rogic and Daryl Dike netting second-half goals to complete a comeback win at Sunderland in December 2022 - the former has since left the club and retired from professional football at the age of 30.

Sunderland Championship form:

West Bromwich Albion Championship form:


Team News

After failing to feature in a Championship game for the first time this season at Millwall, summer signing Bellingham is expected to return to the Sunderland XI at the expense of Adil Aouchiche.

Patrick Roberts also had to settle for a place among the substitutes in the capital last time out, but the former Manchester City youngster should replace Abdoullah Ba on the right flank for this one.

The Black Cats remain without the services of Corry Evans and Ajibola Alese due to thigh and ligament injuries respectively, with both players yet to feature during the 2023-24 campaign.

With the likes of John Swift and Jeremy Sarmiento returning to first-team action in recent games, West Brom have been dealt a fresh and major injury blow, with Corberan confirming that Matt Phillips will be sidelined for around four months due to a hamstring tear.

Jed Wallace is still struggling with a shoulder injury picked up during the first half at Cardiff, meaning the winger is unlikely to play a part at the Stadium of Light this weekend.

Better news arrives in the form of centre-back Kyle Bartley, who has trained in the first part of this week after missing the Leicester clash because of a slight hamstring issue.

Okay Yokuslu collected his fifth yellow card of the term against the Foxes, so the midfielder will serve a one-match suspension this weekend, increasing the chances of either Jayson Molumby or Nathaniel Chalobah earning a starting berth.


Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Patterson; Hume, O'Nien, Ballard, Huggins; Ekwah, Roberts, Neil, Bellingham, Clarke; Mayenda

West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Palmer; Furlong, Ajayi, Kipre, Townsend; Mowatt, Molumby, Diangana, Swift, Sarmiento, Thomas-Asante


We say: Sunderland 1-1 West Bromwich Albion

With the likes of Bellingham and Roberts possibly returning to the side, Sunderland should have enough attacking quality to cause West Brom problems on Saturday.

The nature of the defeat to Leicester and Phillips's injury have the potential to derail Albion's positive run of form, but we expect Corberan's side to battle their way to a point in the North-East.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leicester CityLeicester34253670294178
2Leeds UnitedLeeds34226664273772
3Ipswich TownIpswich34219468452372
4Southampton34207765422367
5West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom341681049321756
6Hull City34167115043755
7Norwich CityNorwich34157125951852
8Preston North EndPreston34157124752-552
9Coventry CityCoventry341312951401151
10Sunderland34145154639747
11Watford341111125047344
12Bristol City34128143939044
13Middlesbrough33135154749-244
14Cardiff CityCardiff34135163948-944
15Plymouth ArgylePlymouth341010145357-440
16Blackburn RoversBlackburn34116174860-1239
17Swansea CitySwansea34109154355-1239
18Birmingham CityBirmingham33108153851-1338
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield34813134055-1537
20Millwall3499163347-1436
21Queens Park RangersQPR3498173245-1335
22Stoke CityStoke3498173148-1735
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds3495202853-2532
24Rotherham UnitedRotherham34310213066-3619
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