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P.J. Murray 10th Dec 2011 - 18:12

Martin O'Neill to be Black Cats lucky charm

Two sides with two very differing opinions of their respective managers meet at The Stadium of Light.  Martin O'Neill will take charge of his first game back in the top flight in over a season as he looks to turn around the fortunes of a struggling Sunderland side.

Results from Saturday have added extra importance to this game as both sides are in the relegation zone. Steve Kean will be under severe pressure once again to produce a result and show his numerous critics why he should remain in charge.

Blackburn (10/3) have failed to win at Sunderland since 2007, however the home side have only won there twice since the start of 2011. A nice co-incidence, Martin O'Neill's last game in charge as a Premier League manager was against Blackburn and he lost 1-0 on the final day of the 09/10 season.

Sunderland (5/6) are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Blackburn. O'Neill will look to end a winless run of five games, something which is quite feasible against a poor Blackburn side.

Rovers will be buoyed by a 4-1 demolition of Swansea in their last game, inspired by Yakubu (7/1 first goalscorer and 10/1 to score 2 or more) who netted all four of his sides goals. However it was only their second win of the campaign and is the main reason they are second from bottom.

Nicklas Bendtner is arguably one of the players who will need to show his worth to O'Neill, the former Arsenal striker, for all his mouthing has done very little for his side and the pressure will be on him to deliver. He is 5/1 to open the scoring and 5/4 to score anytime. Seb Larrson will want to make up for his penalty miss last week, which practically cost his side the game.

Both sides are capable of scoring goals, this being down to dodgy defending as opposed to attacking prowess. Over 3.5 at 2/1 could be a good shout as they both desperately scramble for points in what could easily be considered a six point relegation battle.

Sunderland have a habit of taking the lead in games but not being able to finish them off, Blackburn are 12/1 to come from behind and win and going on recent form this is well worth consideration.  The Black Cats have lost their last two games to a similar 2-1 scoreline after taking the lead.

You can never underestimate the team under new management which is why i think Sunderland should win and why Blackburn will soon undergo a similar managerial change.


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