Sunderland have relied on their home form ever since they returned to the Barclays Premier League.
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[picappgallerysingle id=”9573833″]To illustrate how much Sunderland have relied on their form at the Stadium of Light in recent Premier League history, here’s a damning statistic:
The Black Cats have won just 10 of their last 99 away games in the English top flight.
Steve Bruce has assembled the best squad he has ever had at Sunderland, but this season the fans will expect performances to match that.
They have just come to the end of a run of five draws in a row, and the fact that the sixth game resulted in a win means it will be read as six games unbeaten rather than six without a win.
The good news for the supporters is that Bruce seems to have shored up the back line. Three clean sheets in a row is certainly impressive.
Their trouble rests in the goalscoring department. Darren Bent’s record for Sunderland is astonishing – 29 goals in 47 Premier League appearances – but as Steve Bruce says, he needs support.
Asamoah Gyan has just been nominated for the Ballon D’or. Could the derby against Newcastle be the time for Bruce to abandon his conservative ways and play two up front?
Whether or not it happens against Newcastle, Sunderland need to fix their troubles on the road if they are to progress.