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Injuries and suspensions point to 0-0 for Sunderland v Southampton

Southampton’s stellar springtime performances against some of the Premier League’s toughest sides seem to have given them a false sense of security and they’re currently adrift on a four game winless run at just the time when they most need points. Sunderland have looked progressive under Paolo Di Canio, but they remain toothless in attack and with both squads depleted, a 0-0 draw looks the most likely result – Coral go 8/1 about the a goalless encounter.

The injury to Sunderland’s most reliable goal-hound Steven Fletcher saw their odds for relegation shrink faster than a salted slug and things have gone from bad to worse for their forward line since, with Conor Wickham and Stephane Sessegnon injured and suspended respectively. Their only available senior striker is Danny Graham, who has endured a sorrowful 11 game goalless run since his arrival from Swansea City.

The Black Cats’ fragile renaissance under their new gaffer has been founded on resilience rather than rapier-like attacking incisiveness and their 3-0 win at recently woeful Newcastle is the only time they’ve scored more than once in their last eight games.

Southampton have been a potent attacking force at times this term, but the goals have dried up with the points in the last four games with Mauricio Pochettino’s in the midst of a 270 minutes goal drought. Their goal-scoring cause is far from aided by the fact that chief attacking mischief-maker Gaston Ramirez serves a suspension during his side’s visit to the Stadium Of Light.

With no scorer in Coral’s goalscorer betting currently an even better price than the 0-0 at 9/1 that may be an even shrewder investment.

The adversaries are also shorn of key midfield schemers with Craig Gardner suspended and Morgan Schneiderlin injured and their absences should further effect their sides’ fluency. Gardner’s energetic box-to-box presence and shooting ability will rob Sunderland of urgency in the middle of the park, whilst without Schneiderlin Southampton are robbed of vital cog in their transition from defence to attack.

A disjointed game with a distinct lack of goals is in prospect.