Sunderland face Palace and old foe Pardew with survival in mind
Sunderland are 13/8 with Coral to make a statement at the Stadium of Light, by sinking guests Crystal Palace to improve their Premier League survival chances.
The Black Cats went three clear of the trap door after a north east derby triumph against bitter rivals Newcastle United, and will be hoping for more of the same against former Magpies boss Alan Pardew.
Pardew has done magnificent work with Palace so far, as the Eagles have enjoyed victories in six of their past seven away days across all competitions. The Selhurst Park side have also won three in a row, including scalping title chasers Manchester City, so are a tempting 17/10 to take all three points.
Palace’s attacking intent is just one aspect of play that has improved under Pardew, with the London club grabbing 10 goals in their last five games.
This should put Palace (a superb 7/1 to score three or more) in good spirits ahead of their trip to the Stadium of Light, where hosts Sunderland are second in the league for most conceded at home.
So, the Eagles’ forward threats Dwight Gayle and Glenn Murray are the same price at 13/2 to strike first and last respectively, while wing wizard Wilfried Zaha is 10/3 to be on target anytime.
In a further boost for the visitors, midfield general Mile Jedinak is back after a four-game ban, which could ease the blow if Wales international Joe Ledley fails to shake off a hip injury.
Palace are in the midst of a purple patch and have aspirations for a top 10 finish, which they are 7/2 to achieve. Pardew, who had a poor record against the Mackems as Magpies boss, told press ahead of this duel that: “Irrespective of my reception, it’s about the 11 players on the pitch and Sunderland fans know that we’re in really good form. The group is on a high. We’re three points away from the top 10 so of course it is [a realistic target].”
Struggling Sunderland, meanwhile, have also shown promise under new Dutch coach Dick Advocaat, although, if the Black Cats are to continue their great escape from a brutal relegation battle, a draw at 9/4 will not do.
Jermain Defoe struck a sensational match-winning volley last time out against Newcastle, and is 11/2 to net first again, or 6/4 to be a goal hero anytime.
Fellow Sunderland strikers Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham have both been working well in tandem with dangerman Defoe, and are 2/1 and 11/4 in the anytime market respectively.