Talk about a game of contrasts; the Swans versus Sunderland fixture presents a classic case of "something's gotta give". In the white corner we have Swansea City, unbeaten in ten games at the Liberty stadium. In the red-striped corner we have a Sunderland team who are unbeaten in three away games. Swansea are still chasing their first Premier League goal whilst Sunderland have yet to keep a clean sheet. No matter the scoreline, by Saturday evening at least one of those sequences will have been broken.
Also, Swansea have a saintly zero cards or either colour whereas Sunderland have an unsavoury seven yellows and a red. That comparison is neither here nor there but it does represent one angle that might play to the Swans advantage; with the exception of feisty Joe Allen and loyal Alan Tate, not many of the Swans players are likely to get drawn into the kind of shenanigans Lee Cattermole & co. are so fond of instigating. If the pattern continues, there is a chance Sunderland could pick up one or two cards, and booked players tend to pull their punches a little. It would only represent a slight advantage, but a slight advantage can often prove decisive.
In a previous post, I incorrectly asserted that Sunderland would be without Phil Bardsley following his red card versus Newcastle; I'd overlooked the team's midweek Carling cup fixture, which served to satisfy his suspension. Interestingly, like Swansea, Sunderland were also beaten by lesser opposition; Gus Poyet's Brighton & Hove Albion, who play a similar attacking style to Swansea. With neither Sunderland or Swansea covering themselves in glory, come Saturday both teams will be fighting for a win lest the stench of mid-week defeat be allowed to set in.
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