Norwich City-Sunderland Preview
Sunderland will be targeting a rare early season Premier League victory as they host Norwich City at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
The Black Cats last win in a top-flight game in August came with a 1-0 victory over Manchester City in 2010. They've since gone 0-6-6 in their last 12 August Premier League matches.
Sunderland also need to bounce back from a heavy defeat at Leicester City in their first league match of the season on Saturday. The Black Cats were beaten 4-2 by the Foxes in Claudio Ranieri's debut league match in charge of the Midlands club. Leicester's fragile defence was ruthlessly exposed at the King Power Stadium as they conceded three goals in the first 25 minutes. Forwards Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher scored second-half consolation goals for Dick Advocaat's side.
Head coach Advocaat was blunt in his assessment of Sunderland's performance.
"Leicester took their chances and made the most of the possession that they had," Advocaat said. "We were caught out and made mistakes that a team shouldn't be making at this level. We have to learn a lot from this. I thought we looked a little more organised in the second half with Fletcher up front.
"If you're looking for positives, it's that both strikers scored a goal, but I thought that was no sharpness and the speed of the game was very slow, when the other team had the ball they were much quicker. I'm extremely disappointed for the fans, they came down to back us in their numbers and that was not a great performance for them."
Newly promoted Norwich's campaign also started badly with a 3-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace last weekend.Wilfried Zaha and Damien Delaney gave Palace a two-goal lead, before Nathan Redmond pulled one back for City. Palace debutant Yohan Cabaye sealed the win in injury time.
Norwich took four points off Sunderland when the sides last played in the Premier League during the 2013-14 campaign, including a 2-0 win at Carrow Road in March 2014. The sides played out a scoreless draw in December 2013 at the Stadium of Light, with Wes Brown being sent off for the Black Cats in second-half stoppage time..
Norwich are 2-2-0 in their last four top-flight meetings versus Sunderland.
The Black Cats won just four times at the Stadium of Light last season, matching relegated Burnley for fewest home wins in the division.
The Canaries hold the edge over Sunderland in Premier League clashes, going 3-2-1 and outscoring the Black Cats 7-6. These sides did not meet in the Premier League prior to the 2011-12 season.
Norwich were unbeaten in their last 12 away games in the Championship last season, including the Playoffs. Their last away defeat was a 3-1 reverse at Reading in December. The Canaries were shut out just once in their last 16 away Championship matches last season, a scoreless draw at Birmingham City in January.
Norwich manager Alex Neil was disappointed with the result, especially since the Canaries held 58 percent possession.
"Certainly for the first half, in general play we were the better side," Neil told his club's website. We dominated most of the possession, but having that dominance you've got to get goals. We got punished up the other end," he told Norwich City TV. "I think we'll play worse and win. In the first half we were dominant, they got a goal, but I thought we had two or three good opportunities. At this level, you have to convert them.
"I've learned a harsh version of the Premier League. You can dominate and play well, but if you don't score when you're on top and you don't defend well enough, it will cost you."