A lot has changed on Wearside in the past year with former Man United boss David Moyes in charge of Sunderland, but will it be another season of struggle for the Black Cats?
Manager: David Moyes
Home ground: Stadium of Light
Last season: 17th
Best EPL Finish: 7th (2000, 2001)
Sunderland once again narrowly avoided relegation last season and a big part of gaining safety was down to the 15 goals of striker Jermain Defoe with fans once again looking to the former English striker to help improve the club’s 17th place finish from last year.
This Sunderland squad lacks of bit quality and experience but 33-year-old Defoe has got both and if you thought the former Tottenham man was showing any signs he was on the decline, his 15 goals last season proved that Defoe is still on the very top of the game.
When Defoe gets on the ball inside the box, it will almost be certainly hitting the back of the net and he has done that all throughout his career with 250 goals in over 500 appearances. Defoe will be looking to keep his scoring ways going to help Sunderland climb up the table.
Papy Djilobodji (Chelsea- £8m), Paddy McNair & Donald Love (Man United – combined £5.5m), Adnan Januzaj (Man United – Season loan),
Emanuele Giaccherini (Napoli – Undisclosed), Danny Graham (Blackburn – Free), Steven Fletcher (Sheffield Wed – Free), Will Buckley (Sheffield Wed- Season loan), Adam Matthews (Bristol City – Season loan), Wes Brown, Steve Harper (released)
One to Watch
While Defoe offers years of experience to the team, 22-year-old Duncan Watmore looks like one of Sunderland’s brightest youngsters and he proved last season that he can have a key role to play for many years to come on Wearside.
The young striker obviously made a big impression on ex-manager Sam Allardyce and he took his chance with both hands as in 23 appearances in the Premier League last season, he scored three goals but there is plenty more to come from him after his breakthrough season.
He has plenty of pace, never stops working and can also not just play as a striker but can also get the job done in the number ten role or on the wing. Watmore will be hoping to force his way into new manager Moyes’ plans but may have to settle to make an impression from the bench.
Jones O’Shea Kone van Aanholt
Januzaj Cattermole Rodwell Lens
Sam Allardyce got Sunderland out of a right mess last season when he came in last October and led them to Premier League safety but after he departed to take the England job, it is now up to former Everton boss Moyes to keep improving the Black Cats fortunes.
Alladryce’s departure hindered transfer plans on Wearside and although Papy Djilobodji has made the switch to the Stadium of Light, Moyes will need to get even busier in the transfer market because the squad is looking thin and would struggle to stay in the league.
Defoe is still a quality player but there is not much going on behind him. Lee Cattermole and Jack Rodwell need to strengthen up the centre of midfield while defensively they are one of the weakest in the league. Moyes will make signings and they will do just enough to survive again.