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Sunderland’s decade-long fight for survival might be over this season

Wednesday 18th January 2017
Sunderland suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Burnley in the FA Cup third round replay on Tuesday evening, their fourth loss in five in all competitions.

The Black Cats can't build up any momentum this season under manager David Moyes, and their latest cup setback sees them low on confidence as their Premier League survival plight resumes in the coming days.

It's been a decade of struggle since their last relegation, and with a lack of available players, a tiny transfer budget while enduring woeful form, this season may be their last in the top-flight.
The North-East club find themselves in a precarious position in the Premier League this season, languishing in 19th place in the table. Sunderland have just 15 points from 21 games, one adrift of safety, and are currently on course for their worst points return since 2005/06. Moyes' men are averaging just 0.71 points per game this season and will finish the campaign with 27 points as things stand. Since their promotion back to the top-flight in 2006/07, Sunderland's lowest tally is 36 points. Anything lower would almost guarantee relegation and the manager has rued a lack of options to change things around.

“I've not wanted to use (lack of available players) as an excuse but it's a fact, we're short. We're finding it a struggle, we're putting near enough the same players out. The players that are out there I expect to play better, but if I had other players, maybe I could take some out and put somebody else in. I could do something different with it. At the moment I can't do that. Everyone knows our limitations but we are needing to add, due to the shortage of what we've got,” he said.

Sunderland was in a similar predicament last season but turned their season around after spending wisely in the January transfer market – signing former Bordeaux forward Wahbi Khazri for £10M, ex-Lorient defender Lamine Kone for £5M and Bayern Munich defender Jan Kirchoff for £1.5M. Moyes doesn't have the same luxury his predecessor did in the transfer market, having already made it clear that spending will be on loans and free transfers so it's hard to see how the Black Cats can improve this month.

There's been little indication from results that Sunderland can turn things around. They took 11 games to win their first game in the Premier League, and have managed only one victory in their previous seven ahead of their trip to face West Bromwich Albion on the weekend. David Moyes' men have conceded 12 goals in their last four games alone, conceding the most goals in defeats to Burnley and Stoke City. If they cannot win against sides closer to them in the table, what chance do they have to stay in the division?

Sunderland are only one point adrift of safety with 17 games to go, but they have already lost 67% of their matches this season. Will this be Sunderland's last in the Premier League? After a decade of relegation battles, will their luck finally run out?
Crippy Cooke

Crippy is a long-suffering Aston Villa supporter and weekly football accumulator enthusiast.

Stealing a living, the balding 27-year-old boasts a wealth of writing experience - Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London 24 and Bleacher Report.

Total articles: 330

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