Soccer Picks: Swansea City vs. Sunderland to End in Draw

Lee Phelps

Saturday, February 7, 2015 5:15 PM GMT

Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 5:15 PM GMT

South Wales plays North East England on Saturday with Sunderland looking to earn a point at least. William Hill's Lee Phelps has found a few nice prices & goes for some bigs odds

Two of the division’s hardest teams to read lock horns in South Wales this weekend with Swansea welcoming Sunderland.

Ten points separate the teams, with Swansea on 33 and only two wins from Premier League safety. I think that will be a relief to most at the Liberty Stadium too, because despite their excellent result at Southampton last Sunday, their performance level has dropped and you should consider this when looking at our soccer betting odds.

The Black Cats would love to be in such a comfortable position, but still need another 17 points to reach the magic 40 barrier (although 37 is widely regarded as enough for safety). They have managed exactly a point a game, so will finish on 38 if they replicate that for the remaining 15 matches.

 

Swansea City
Swansea City hadn’t tasted victory in four league games and had suffered an FA Cup exit at the hands of Blackburn before that win at St Mary’s, courtesy of Jonjo Shelvey's spectacular 83rd-minute goal. He may be worth a look again, with Gylfi Sigurdsson still out, he will be pushed forward in an attacking midfield role and will always give you a run for your money if you have backed him to score.

Manager Garry Monk celebrated one year in charge at the Liberty this week and he is boosted by having defender Kyle Bartley and midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung available against Sunderland.

Bartley was sent off at Blackburn, while Ki was part of the South Korea squad that reached last weekend's Asian Cup final. Despite being away Ki is still rated statistically as one of Swansea’s best players this season. He has made 20 appearances for the Swans and has scored three goals, it’s his consistency in passing that makes him so valuable to Monk and Co. He’s completed 982 passes with a passing accuracy of 90%.

With a lack of goals, the manager will surely be looking to keep it tight at the back and get a fifth clean sheet in front of their own fans, so far they have shut out QPR, Leicester, Aston Villa and West Brom, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that they stop Sunderland scoring here.

 

Sunderland
Gus Poyet has openly talked about how their form has improved since Jermain Defoe’s arrival. Not only does it give their other front men some support, but it takes some pressure off the midfield and defense.

It’s not all good news for Poyet though, he is waiting on the fitness of Jack Rodwell, Adam Johnson and Connor Wickham ahead of this trip.

The winger missed Tuesday's 3-1 FA Cup fourth-round replay win at Fulham after undergoing minor thumb surgery, while midfielder Rodwell (knock) and forward Wickham (calf) also sat out the Craven Cottage clash.

Emanuele Giaccherini and Ricky Alvarez reminded their boss that he has plenty of attacking options in midweek despite any injury dilemmas.

Both impressed and Alvarez scored his first goal for the club as Sunderland overhauled Hugo Rodallega's opener.

"You need to be smart in your squad and it is important to have options so you can adapt to different games," Poyet said.

"The mobility of Giaccherini and the ability of Ricky helped us a lot in the game against Fulham and if they can bring that week in week out it is going to be difficult for the rest to get back in the team.”

Sunderland ended a five-match winless run in the Premier League when they beat fellow strugglers Burnley on Wearside last weekend - Wickham and January recruit Jermain Defoe getting the goals.

One man I would be looking at to assist Defoe’s goals from now until the end of the season is Seb Larsson. He has been Sunderland’s best player. He has been ever-present in the league, scoring three goals in the process. According to Squawka.com, he has created 40 chances for his team mates and three of these have resulted in assists.

 

Soccer picks
I’m looking at a tight game here, with a draw the eventual outcome. Swansea has thrown away more points from winning positions than anyone (16) so I can see the north East team having to come from behind to earn a draw. That is 9.5 (17/2) and a decent price for the team who have drawn more games than anyone in the division.

I also like Sunderland to have most bookings in the match. They are the least disciplined team in the top flight, having accumulated 68 bookings in all competitions, compared to Swansea’s 43 in the same number of games. Add to that Poyet’s men have had the most cards in their last three away games and I think 1.8 (4/5) is a very fair price to go with your soccer picks.

Free Soccer Pick: Draw 3.6 (13/5)

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