Sunderland v West Brom – Match Preview
West Bromwich Albion will hope Peter Odemwingie has hit form in time to drive the team into the top four in the English Premier League.
Odemwingie has scored three goals in as many games as West Brom have gone on a winning streak to move into fourth spot and with a relatively easy run until the new year, the Midlands club could stay there, especially if their Nigerian striker keeps scoring.
A trip to Sunderland is next for Steve Clarke’s men with West Brom only playing three teams above 10th on the Premier League table (West Ham, Arsenal and Manchester United) in their final eight fixtures of the year.
West Brom won 2-1 at home against Chelsea last week with Odemwingie scoring the winning goal, while the 31-year-old striker struck twice in his team’s 2-0 victory over Southampton on November 6.
Between those two results, West Brom also triumphed 2-1 away to Wigan and they are in the best form of the Premier League over the past three rounds.
Goalkeeper Ben Foster has missed West Brom’s past two matches with a groin injury but is expected to play against Sunderland.
While Clarke’s men have a run of games coming up that should give them plenty of confidence of getting enough points to stay in fourth position by 2013, Sunderland could be a more difficult challenge than their 15th position on the table would suggest.
Sunderland claimed an impressive 3-1 win away to Fulham on Sunday with key striker Steven Fletcher scoring his sixth goal of the season.
Under manager Martin O’Neill, Sunderland have been hard to break down this season as they have the equal-third best defence in the Premier League.
But up the other end Sunderland have struggled as they have only notched four goals that have not been finished by Fletcher to be the equal second-worst scoring team in the competition.
O’Neill will welcome back Craig Gardner for the visit of West Brom after the 25-year-old midfielder was suspended for the game against Fulham.
Prediction: Sunderland 1 – 1 West Brom