Black Cats confident of taming Tigers after derby day victory
Gus Poyet’s Sunderland (7/1 with Coral to be relegated) will be hoping to build on last weekend’s derby victory over Newcastle United when his side host a struggling Hull City outfit, while Garry Monk’s Swans aim to inflict Boxing Day misery on Aston Villa.
Sunderland v Hull City
Sunderland (evens to win) won the first four Premier League matches with Hull City, but have tasted defeat in the last two encounters.
Gus Poyet’s Black Cats are brimming with confidence after securing their fourth consecutive Tyne-Wear derby victory over Newcastle last weekend. Adam Johnson grabbed a late winner to send Sunderland into the history books.
Ex-England winger Johnson’s strike earned his side 14th place in the table, moving four points clear of the drop zone, and it also ended a run of six games without a victory for the battling Black Cats. The former Manchester City man is 11/1 to score the last goal again against Hull.
Connor Wickham will be missing for the match through suspension, after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season against Newcastle. Anthony Reveillere is likely to miss out, while Patrick van Aanholt is still a couple of weeks away from his return.
The Tigers have won the last three consecutive meetings between the sides in all competitions, including a 2-0 domestic league victory in February, when Nikica Jelavic was among the goals. Hull’s clinical Croatian striker is 6/1 to open the scoring on Boxing Day.
Sunderland enjoy playing during the festive period, having lost just one of their last six Premier League meetings on Boxing Day. However, Steve Bruce’s men have suffered a hangover in previous years during fixtures on December 26th, losing the last two.
Hapless Hull will be aiming to climb out of the relegation zone with a win. Last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Swansea marked Bruce’s struggling side’s 10th straight league match without a victory, a run stretching back to the beginning of October.
Bruce’s toothless Tigers sit 19th in the league table heading into the festive fixtures, but are only two points from safety, although another loss could see them go bottom.
Hull have a number of players missing as Tom Huddlestone remains suspended, while a fifth booking of the season last week rules Jake Livermore out. Michael Dawson, Mohamed Diame and Robert Snodgrass are still out injured, while Paul McShane has been banished to training with the Under-21s.
The Tigers have won the last three meetings with Sunderland to nil, and are 5/1 to do so again this time out.
Swansea City v Aston Villa
Aston Villa have won just one of their six Premier League meetings with Swansea, and have just one victory in their last 13 Boxing Day games, failing to score in the last three.
The Villains have dropped a league high eight points because of goals scored in the final 15 minutes of matches, a record which sees Paul Lambert’s men drop to 12th spot in the table, only five points from safety.
Christian Benteke has scored in both of his top-flight appearances against the Swans, and is 7/4 to net anytime at the Liberty Stadium.
Gabriel Agbonlahor’s red card against Manchester United has been overturned after Villa won their appeal. The striker was dismissed in the second half of Villa’s 1-1 draw with United last weekend but is now available to face Swansea on Boxing Day.
Kieran Richardson is still suspended, though, and Ashley Westwood, Philippe Senderos, Nathan Baker, Libor Kozak and Joe Cole are all out.
The Swans are hopeful of welcoming back Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jefferson Montero and Leon Britton for the visit of Lambert’s side.
Monk’s Swansea, odds-on 4/5 favourites to win, are in a lacklustre run of form heading into the Christmas fixtures, winning two of their last five Premier League outings, and drawing once. They face a Villa team who have gained three points only twice in their last 13 league games.
Jonjo Shelvey got on the scoresheet when the Swans thrashed a poor Villa outfit 4-1 last term, and the ex-Anfield midfielder is 11/4 to bag another anytime on Boxing Day.