, Southampton vs Sunderland: 5 players who could dictate the game

Southampton vs Sunderland: 5 players who could dictate the game

Southampton host Sunderland in the Championship this afternoon and here, we pick out five players who could dictate the tie…

Southampton host Sunderland as they look to close the gap to the automatic promotion spots. The Saints are eight points off the top two and sit 4th in the Championship table, though they have a game in hand after their midweek clash with Preston North End was postponed.

Meanwhile, the Black Cats look set to end around mid-table as their season coasts towards an underwhelming end. They’ve lost five in a row with the decision to part ways with Michael Beale failing to turn around their form.

Now, ahead of this afternoon’s game, we highlight five players who could dictate Southampton vs Sunderland

Adam Armstrong

Armstrong has been Southampton’s main talisman this season and with 17 goals and 11 assists to his name, he’ll be up there with the Championship‘s top players come the end of the campaign.

Be it through the middle or out on the wing, expect him to cause problems for the visitors today.

Jobe Bellingham

, Southampton vs Sunderland: 5 players who could dictate the game
Image courtesy of: CRAIG BROUGH/REUTERS.

With Jack Clarke sidelined, Jobe is the main goal threat for Sunderland. His tally of five is the second highest of the Black Cats’ players, with a true talisman up top nowhere to be seen.

The 18-year-old will likely play as a no.9 or attacking midfielder but played in a wider role last time out.

David Brooks

Brooks has had a great impact since joining the Saints in the summer, registering two goals and three assists in seven Championship games. He’ll likely start on the right-hand side though he is dangerous when drifting in-field too.

He’s looked like a player playing a level below the one he should be at and with Sunderland in poor form, he could be among those to catch the eye this afternoon.

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Dan Ballard

With the Black Cats’ attack struggling as it has, a lot of reliance will be put on keeping a dangerous Southampton attack quiet. At centre-back, Ballard will need to be at his best.

He’s the main aerial presence, usually operating alongside Luke O’Nien. Jensen Seelt came in to make up a back three in the week but if there’s a shift back to the four, ex-Arsenal man Ballard will retain his place.

Flynn Downes

Last but not least is Flynn Downes, who is a real metronome in the middle of the park. He was back in the starting XI against Birmingham City and will be hoping to stay in the team ahead of Shea Charles this weekend.

Downes is always offering himself as an option on the ball and will be looking to dictate the game from the holding midfield role he has starred in on many occasions.

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