Preview: Sunderland vs Norwich – Strugglers set for early battle at the bottom

Two sides who lost their opening match last weekend vie for their first points of the season at the Stadium of Light, as Sunderland take on Norwich City.

A display of how not to defend meant that Sunderland were condemned to defeat inside 25 minutes at Leicester City. It was reminiscent of some of their collapses of the past two seasons, which will concern Dick Advocaat, who has striven to address those deficiencies at the back which have been exposed all too often.

It was, however, pleasing for strikers Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher to both open their respective accounts for the season, and that kind of clinical finishing will be needed in order to prevent another scap for survival. The Black Cats have a poor recent record against Norwich, winning just once in their last six Premier League meetings.

A touch of class from a typically dynamic Crystal Palace side accounted for the Canaries in their first game, but momentum was on their side for a time as they attempted to claw back a two-goal deficit. They thought they had, only for referee Simon Hooper to controversially disallow Cameron Jerome’s acrobatic effort, leaving a somewhat bitter taste in the mouth come the final whistle.

In spite of that, manager Alex Neil will be pleased with the fighting spirit his team showed right until the very end. It was a strong performance for large parts, but a match that served as a reminder of the ruthlessness of the top-flight as they were caught out at the back at vital moments. This will likely be a cagier affair between two teams determined not to lose, and keen to avoid making any costly mistakes.

Yann M’Vila could make his debut for Sunderland, but they are without Jordi Gomez and Adam Johnson, with the latter set to miss up to seven weeks of action because of a shoulder injury.

Youssouf Mulumbu, Kyle Lafferty and Martin Olsson are the men out for Norwich, while Neil will have to decide whether to hand Nathan Redmond a start after his goal against Palace.

Last Meeting: A largely forgettable game saw the two strugglers play out a goalless draw back in December 2013. Wes Brown, who was sent off in the dying stages for a poor challenge on Ricky van Wolfswinkel, went closest to scoring for Sunderland when his header came off a post.

Played for both – Michael Turner: After an impressive first season in the Premier League for Hull City, Turner was snapped up by Sunderland in the summer of 2009 and went on to score once in 68 league appearances, helping them to a rare top half finish in 2010-11. He moved to Norwich in 2012 and appeared 50 times in the league, scoring three goals but failing to prevent relegation in 2014.

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