Sunderland v Swansea preview: Wayne Routledge to return as visitors bid to avoid the drop
Last Updated: 13/05/17 1:55pm
Paul Clement believes Swansea are more than capable of avoiding relegation from the Premier League after improved performances in recent weeks.
The Swans manager sees his team go into Saturday's match against Sunderland on a high having taken seven points from their last three matches, which has helped lift them above Hull in the battle to avoid the drop.
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"The spirit this week has been excellent," Clement said.
"We have had another boost in confidence after beating Everton. We have been on a good run going back to the Stoke game. We played well at Manchester United and then got the victory against a very good Everton side."
Sunderland will be without George Honeyman after he sustained a training ground injury in a collision with Lamine Kone. Otherwise, Moyes has a fully-fit squad to choose from.
Wayne Routledge (hernia) and Angel Rangel (foot) have both stepped up their recovery in training this week and could be in contention to return for the trip to the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland are winless in their last four Premier League meetings with Swansea at the Stadium of Light (D3 L1) since winning their first encounter 2-0 in January 2012.
That victory is the Black Cats' only home victory over the Swans since winning eight consecutively in all competitions between 1937 and 1964 (D5 L2).
No Premier League player has more assists in 2017 than Gylfi Sigurdsson (7, level with Christian Eriksen). The Iceland international needs one more goal to become the first Swansea player in the Premier League to reach double figures for both goals (9) and assists (12) in the same season.
Sunderland have won fewer points at home this season than any other Premier League team (14).
In fact, Sunderland are on the longest winless home run in the Premier League currently (nine games, D4 L5), failing to score in six of the last seven at the Stadium of Light.
Jermain Defoe has scored five goals in four previous Premier League appearances against Swansea for Sunderland, including a hat-trick in January 2016. Defoe needs one more goal to surpass his total in the Premier League from last season (15) and have his best tally in a Premier League season since 2009/10 (18 for Spurs).
This is the fifth different managerial matchup in the last five Premier League meetings between these sides, with David Moyes and Paul Clement following Gus Poyet and Garry Monk (February 2015), Dick Advocaat and Monk (August 2015), Sam Allardyce and Alan Curtis (January 2016) and Moyes and Bob Bradley (December 2016).
Even if Sunderland win their remaining three Premier League games this season, it will be their third lowest points total in a Premier League season (15 in 2005/06 and 19 in 2002/03).
The Swans haven't kept an away clean sheet in the Premier League since their opening game this season against Burnley, going 17 on the road without one.
Since Paul Clement's first Premier League game on January 3, Swansea are the only side not to concede a goal from a set-piece situation (excl. pens) in that period.
It's all about timing and Swansea have started playing very well. They went to Watford a few weeks back for a draw, it didn't work out and since then they've just decided to go for it.
This is a great opportunity for them. All you can ask at this stage is for it to be in your hands and if Swansea score first I can't see Sunderland battling back.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3 (12/1 with Sky Bet)
Sunderland are Sky Bet's 16/5 outsiders to bag the victory with Swansea 17/20 to boost their survival hopes with a win while the draw is priced at 13/5. Both the Black Cats' Jermain Defoe and the Swans' Fernando Llorente are priced at 9/2 to score first while Gylfi Sigurdsson is the next favourite at 5/1. Swansea drifted out to 11/2 to be relegated after the Black Cats did them a favour in beat Hull, who are now odds-on for the drop.