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    Swansea v Sunderland: Match Preview

    Both Swansea and Sunderland will be hoping to bounce back after both were sent packing out of the FA Cup this past weekend, albeit Swansea will feel they have more to prove after an embarrassing exit to League Two Oxford United. The Black Cats were eliminated at the hands of current holders Arsenal but Sam Allardyce has made it very clear his priority is the Premier League and would have had one eye on this game while standing in the Emirates dugout on Saturday.

    Sunderland come into the game after ending a five game losing streak by beating Aston Villa 3-1 last time out. That will have given them a massive confidence boost ahead of what can only be described as another relegation six pointer. The Black Cats are four points away from safety (which incidentally is where The Swans are) and Big Sam will know the importance of not losing on the road again to keep Swansea in sight.

    Swansea have been disappointing in the League this season and have underwhelmed since their great start. They have only won once since October 24th and could find themselves back in the relegation zone if results go against them in mid week. They did however win their last match at home (1-0 against West Brom on Boxing Day) and this will be Alan Curtis' first league game in charge since he was confirmed as full time manager.

    The Swans have a fully fit squad to choose from and will most likely revert back to the same starting XI that played so well at Old Trafford in their previous league game. Curtis made ten changes for the FA Cup game at the Kassam Stadium but very few from that performance could expect to keep their place after an all round poor display. Rumours also continue to swirl about the future of Newcastle United target Jonjo Shelvey, with Swansea seemingly willing to listen to offers for the English midfielder.

    Shelvey's future looks uncertain after a horrid display against Oxford caused fans to turn on him

    Sunderland will be without long term absentee Adam Matthews, and shorter term injuries will keep Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Larsson out. Jack Rodwell could play a part but is expected to take a fitness test closer to kickoff on Wednesday. Jan Kirchoff is unlikely to debut until he builds up some match fitness, the new signing has only started thirteen club games in the previous three years due to injury.

    In terms of form, Swansea should be confident of picking up victory here. Although the previous three league games between these sides has ended a draw, Sunderland have only won one of their last ten games and only picked up four points away from home all season. Both teams will be fresh, as Allardyce also rested seven first team regulars for his match on Saturday so both sides will be full of energy. Given Sunderland's defensive away record thus far, expect goals in this one. Jermain Defoe is currently Sunderland's top scorer and has bagged in both his previous games against Swansea for the Black Cats.


    A win here could put Swansea seven points clear of Sunderland, and Sam will know that will make relegation more and more certain. He cannot let that happen however, so I predict a solid defensive performance, similar to the Palace game when they nicked a win in a smash and grab encounter. I think a draw will keep both teams happy and ticking over for now, 1-1 for me.

    You can get Swansea to win at 3/4
    You can get Sunderland to win at 4/1
    If you like my prediction you can get it at 5/1 (all bets through Skybet)

    By Darren Beck (@DarrenBeck13
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    Item Reviewed: Swansea v Sunderland: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Darren Beck
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