Sunderland do NOT need a miracle to survive

Fabio Borini celebrates a goal against West Brom in 2014Fabio Borini celebrates a goal against West Brom in 2014
Fabio Borini celebrates a goal against West Brom in 2014
Harry Redknapp says Sunderland need the 'biggest miracle ever' to survive in the Premier League.

Dramatic words indeed from the celebrated manager-now-pundit when talking of the dire situation the Black Cats find themselves in.

Sunderland are propping up the top flight with just five points from their opening 11 games and it could have been worse but for Saturday’s come-from-behind 2-1 win at Bournemouth.

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It is the third season in the last four that the Black Cats have found themselves in the drop zone at this stage of the programme.

However, they know what it takes to survive and recent history tells us a story or two that the teams in the bottom three at the international break do not always stay there.

Sunderland have flirted with relegation every season for the last five years and today we chart where the club have been at this stage of the campaign and, pertinently, where they have finished.


Bottom three after 11 games

18th: Fulham

W3 D1 L7, Pts 10

19th: Sunderland

W2 D1 L8, Pts 7

20th: Crystal Palace

W1 D1 L9, Pts 4

Final table after 38 games

14th: Sunderland

W10 D8 L20, Pts 38

18th: Norwich City

W8 D9 L21, Pts 33

19th: Fulham

W9 D5 L24, Pts 32

20th: Cardiff City

W7 D9 L22, Pts 30

Surely two of the greatest escapes in the history of the Premier League?

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Crystal Palace looked doomed, with an even worse record to the one Sunderland have now.

Enter Tony Pulis who, amazingly, had the Eagles OUT of the drop zone just after the mid-point of the season and never to return.

Pulis won 12 times, eight by a 1-0 margin! Pretty it was not at times, but if the Black Cats are to learn from the wily Welshman, clean sheets are the key, recording 11 as his side finished, fittingly, in 11th place.

Sunderland spent three quarters of the season in the bottom three, but under Gus Poyet – who succeeded Paolo di Canio who was fired after five games – they too pulled off a dramatic escape.

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Four straight wins, including famous victories at Chelsea and Man United, took them to a very creditable 14th.

Pity poor Norwich who dropped into the bottom three only in the last week and were relegated.


Bottom three after 11 games

18th: Leicester City

W2 D3 L6, Pts 9

19th: QPR

W2 D2 L7, Pts 8

20th: Burnley

W1 D4 L6, Pts 7

Final table after 38 games

16th: Sunderland

W7 D17 L14, Pts 38

18th: Hull City

W8 D11 L19, Pts 35

19th: Burley

W7 D12 L19, Pts 33

20th: QPR

W8 D6 L24, Pts 30

Sunderland were three points clear of the drop zone after 11 games after two wins and six draws.

The Black Cats ended the season three points above the bottom three as well, and were the division’s draw specialists with 17.

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Dick Advocaat took charge of the last nine matches, picking up 12 points from a possible 27 after the club had said adios to Poyet after a 4-0 home drubbing by Aston Villa.

The Houdini act of the season was performed by Leicester City who after five months in the mire hauled themselves up to 14th with a run of seven wins and a draw in their last nine fixtures.


Bottom three after 11 games

18th: Newcastle Utd

W1 D4 L6, Pts 7

19th: Sunderland

W1 D3 L7, Pts 6

20th: Aston Villa

W1 D1 L9, Pts 4

Final table after 38 games

17th: Sunderland

W9 D12 L17, Pts 39

18th: Newcastle United

W9 D10 L19, Pts 37

19th: Norwich City

W9 D7 L22, Pts 34

20th: Aston Villa

W3 D8 L27, Pts 17

Big Sam Allardyce was the man to transform Sunderland who had suffered a poor start under Advocaat.

It wasn’t spectacular as the Black Cats accumulated rather than accelerated, but a sequence of three wins and seven draws, with just one defeat in the last 11 matches took the Wearsiders to 17th and two points above the bottom three (which included Newcatle United).

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After losing seven of their first 11 fixtures, they lost just a further 10 in the last 27 games and they will need a similar run this time.

Sunderland may be in the mire now, but the club have the knack of getting away from the trapdoor.

It does not need a miracle, just the ability to grind out a result or 18!