Sunderland vs Derby by Hassy
Add to the fact that Defoe, who really was their most important player has left the club and his replacements (Grabban & Vaughan) are simply not fit to lace his boots.
After their abysmal performance last season which ended in relegation I haven't seen anything in preseason from Sunderland to suggest that they have hit rock bottom and that things will improve. Results in pre-season friendlies count for little but it’s hard to ignore Sunderland’s abysmal 5-0 home defeat last weekend against an under-strength Celtic side so close to the beginning of the season. Then, as if the result wasn't bad enough, midfielder Darron Gibson was filmed criticising some of his team-mates in an angry exchange with fans after that match blind drunk. He was forced to apologise to the players and his manager has said that he has no choice but to include him in his squad due to a lack of numbers in the squad at the moment. The loss of Jordan Pickford who apart from Defoe was their only shining star will further weaken them and I fear back to back relegation could be on the cards for The Black Cats.
Sunderland midfielder Darron Gibson may play despite facing an internal disciplinary process after he was filmed seeming to criticise team-mates. All seven of the club's new arrivals could take part, including goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter who signed on Wednesday.
Derby spent only three December days in the Championship's play-off positions following a turbulent campaign that saw the Rams go through four different managers.
However, the Derby squad is full of talent despite the sales of Will Hughes and Tom Ince and the Pride Park faithful will be hoping that they have finally found the right man to take the side forward. Gary Rowett is renowned for organising his side's from the back and Derby certainly picked up during his short spell towards the 2016/17 campaign's conclusion under his watch. This will ensure that The Rams will be tough to beat and I can't see a Sunderland side in total mess and chasing a new identity themselves under a new manager beating Derby tonight. Derby have only lost twice in the nine games Rowett managed at the end of last season and I don't expect that number to increase.
Another little omen is that Sunderland have not won their season opener for seven years and Derby have not lost in eight curtain-raisers.
|Derby X2||Marathonbet||1.55||10||1-1 WON (+5.5 units)|
* Odds as of post published time and are subject to change.