Swansea City v Sunderland: The big talking points

9th December 2016

Swansea City will look to put their grim defeat at Tottenham Hotspur behind them when they host Sunderland this weekend.
There is no time for the Swans to feel sorry for themselves, for a home clash with the Black Cats - who are alongside them in the Premier League drop zone - is a fixture they must look to win.
Boss Bob Bradley has acknowledged as much, describing this fixture as his biggest yet since he moved to the Premier League.
Here we look at the key talking points heading into the game.  



Jer-main man
It would be wrong to say that stopping Jermain Defoe means stopping Sunderland, particularly with powerhouse targetman Victor Anichebe making his presence felt in recent weeks.
But there is no doubt that successfully smothering Defoe would increase the Swans' chances of getting a result.
After all, the 34-year-old looks as sharp as ever in front of goal, having netted 19 times in 2016 - a tally bettered by only Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane.
The Swans have not done a very good job of handling Defoe since he joined Sunderland almost two years ago. Since then, he has faced this weekend's opponents three times and scored no fewer than five goals.
Bob Bradley must hope for better this weekend.



Home sweet home all over again?
The Swans banked their long-awaited first home win of the season when they came out on top in that extraordinary game against Crystal Palace a fortnight ago.
Now the challenge is to make it two in a row. 
This season may have started slowly in SA1 - the Palace fixture was the Swans' eighth of the campaign on their own patch - but it was not long ago that they were impressing at the Liberty.
There were four home victories in succession as recently as last spring. A run like that now would be a huge shot in the arm for Bradley's squad.



Bouncebackability
Last weekend's 5-0 loss at Spurs was a joint-record defeat for the Swans in the Premier League era.
Twice before they have suffered such a heavy beating - when Michael Laudrup shuffled his pack at Liverpool in 2012-13 and when Garry Monk's depleted side were overrun by Chelsea in January 2015.
After those two results, the Swans responded well. The Liverpool loss was followed by Wembley victory over Bradford City in the Capital One Cup final, while a league win against Newcastle United the following weekend took Laudrup's side to 40 points for the season.
After Chelsea, Monk saw his team suffer a disappointing FA Cup loss at Blackburn, but in their next league outing, another understrength Swans line-up dug out a courageous 1-0 win at Southampton thanks to Jonjo Shelvey's late goal.
The sort of character and desire on show at St Mary's that day will be required once more this weekend.



Lighter days for the Black Cats 
Barely a month ago, Sunderland were bottom of the Premier League with only two points having failed to win any of their first 10 top-flight games of the season.
But a sharp upturn in form in recent weeks has lifted spirits on Wearside.
David Moyes's first league win as Sunderland boss came at Bournemouth despite the fact that Steven Pienaar was sent off.
Next came a handsome home victory over Hull and, though defeat at Liverpool - thanks to two fairly late goals - followed, Moyes's men were celebrating again as they saw off Leicester City last time out.
They remain in the bottom three, but the future looks a little brighter thanks to nine points from the last four games.
It is the kind of sequence the Swans are targeting over the next few weeks - and Sunderland have shown it can be done.



Hope from the history books?
The Swans have a miserable record against Spurs since they were promoted to the Premier League, and there was little sign of that changing once Harry Kane scored from the spot last Saturday.
But there have been some better days against this weekend's opponents.
In 10 Premier League meetings with Sunderland, the Swans have lost only twice - although there have been six draws.
A glance further back in the record books offers more encouragement, for Sunderland's two Premier League triumphs are the only victories they have managed against the Swans since the 1960s.



Moyes' joy
Sunderland boss Moyes will be looking to improve an impressive record against the Swans when he brings his team to Wales.
In four Premier League games against the Swans when he was Everton manager, the Scot oversaw three victories and a goalless draw.
During his brief stint at Manchester United, there were two more wins from two league meetings.
It was a different story in the FA Cup, of course, as Laudrup's Swans side won at Old Trafford thanks to a late winner from Wilfried Bony.
Bradley's challenge is to break the Swans' Premier League duck against a Moyes team.