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Since I last wrote about Sunderland, they have gone 1-2 in the premier league and beat Norwich City in the opening round of the Carling Cup tournament.

BLACK CATS 1 – 3  CHELSEA

Sunderland just couldn’t hold off Chelsea after scoring early in the first half.  These matches against top-5 clubs are just brutal to follow, because you’re just waiting and hoping Chelsea doesn’t just drop the hammer on your team.  Unfortunately that’s what happened in this one.

BLACK CATS 2 – 1   BLACKBURN

These are the matches that Sunderland has to win if they want to move up the table.  Last season their record at home against teams 1-15 in the final standings was pretty poor (2 wins, 3 draws, 10 losses) which was a big reason why they had to fight off relegation late last season (more on this below).  So it’s good to get started on the right foot at home.

STOKE CITY 1 – 0  BLACK CATS

Blah.  Couldn’t get any points on the road.  Frustrating match, but that’s all I really have to say about that.

I looked at all 20 teams in the Premiership last season, and I found that only Hull City had fewer points in their home matches than Sunderland.  (in the figure below Hull finished 17th and Sunderland finished 16th).

0809EPL-Home-PlainSo clearly they need to do better at home this season, but I wanted to see how they did against the top teams and the bottom teams and everyone in between, so I broke down all the data in the above figure to points vs. top 5, points vs. second 5 (6-10 in standings), points vs. third 5 (11-15 in standings), and point vs. bottom 5.  Once again Sunderland is 16th in this figure.

0809EPL-HomeThey have a huge percentage of their home points against the bottom of the table (4 wins in 4 matches against 17-20, and I already mentioned their record against everyone else).  So that’s where they need to improve this season.  Points at home against the middle of the table teams.  And this is a timely discovery because 2 of their next 3 matches are at home against Wolverhampton and Hull City.  If they’re going to compete for the top half of the table this season, that’s got to be two victories.

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