After a season devoid of impact or excitement, Sunderland are in the relatively unusual position of having a major say in who else goes down – and a glance at the odds at 10bet homepage suggests the bookies don’t expect us to stand in Swansea’s way on Saturday.
Our rare win at the weekend, with goals from Billy Jones and Jermain Defoe to beat Hull, did the Swans a power of good. But they were also doing what we used to do when we took survival battles more seriously: they won an important game of their own.
It means Swansea are safe if they win both remaining games – us at the Stadium of Light and WBA at home in the finale a week on Sunday.
If they do beat us on Saturday (and if I read the odds correctly, a home win is currently rated the least likely outcome on 4.1-to-1) , they will secure survival if Hull lose at Palace – and probably, unless odd things happen to goal differences, even if Hull managed a draw.
At the other end of the table, Sunderland are unlikely to make any difference in the title race, all but settled after Chelsea sent Boro down last night.
One more win out of the two games before we meet at Stamford Bridge on May 21 and they are confirmed champions. Does anyone seriously believe they will not beat WBA away on Friday or Watford at home in Sunday?
Between Swansea at home and the title/relegation partying at Chelsea, we visit Arsenal next Tuesday. We could help determine in which top six position the Gunners finish (anything from third to sixth being possible).
Will David Moyes play his strongest side in most or all of our remaining three games of have a closer look at the young hopefuls who have been popping up lately on the bench? My guess is he’ll want to salvage as many points as possible, hoping perhaps to avoid bottom place, but that sparing use will be made of Lynden Gooch or Elliot Embleton as well as George Honeyman.
But we still won’t have a clue what sort of team to expect to turn out when we come up against the might of Brentford, Barnsley and Burton next season.