SUNDERLAND vs. PORTSMOUTH
Sunderland goes up against Portsmouth today, and this match will play an enormous part in determining Sunderland’s final position in the EPL table. The current standings have Sunderland 2 points clear of the relegation line (they have 2 matches remaining, everyone else in danger has one match).
Sunderland – 9 wins, 9 draws – 36 points (-17 goal differential)
Hull City – 8 wins, 11 draws – 35 points (-24 goal differential)
Newcastle – 7 wins, 13 draws – 34 points (-18 goal differential)
Middlesbrough – 7 wins, 11 draws – 32 points (-28 goal differential)
West Bromwich – 8 wins 7 draws – 31 points (-31 goal differential)
If the Black Cats win this afternoon they will be safe from relegation. A draw doesn’t guarantee anything because they will lose any tiebreaker with Newcastle (fewer goals scored). For the final game of the season, Sunderland plays Chelsea, Newcastle plays Aston Villa, and Hull City plays Manchester United. Under normal circumstances, one wouldn’t expect many points for the bottom teams, but at this point the top of the table is set in stone, so Chelsea, Man U, and Aston Villa have nothing to play for, while their opponents have everything on the line.
Chances are that Sunderland will survive this season, but they can (and, as a fan, I think they should) remove any doubt with a win this afternoon.
[UPDATE: Sunderland loses 1-3. That makes next weekend a whole lot more interesting. Black Cats need a win or a Hull loss or a Newcastle loss or draw. They’re not making it easy, that’s for sure.]