It should not get much more nailbiting than this – but it may well do so between now and Watford away on the last day of the season.
The weekend threatens to be tricky. Who would put it past an Alan Pardew side to roll over at St James’ Park, assuming he dislikes us more than Mike Ashley? Or for Arsenal to be well below par at home to Norwich?
That leaves Big Sam and his players a clear task of their own. Sunderland have to match or better the results of the other endangered clubs and that may mean a win is necessary on Saturday.
It is a tall order. The Sunderland Echo, wondering where Sam was going to get his target of eight points for safety, correctly went for the draw against Arsenal but predicted a narrow defeat at the Britannia, the points coming from winning the last two homes games and drawing at Watford.
That scenario is as plausible as any but it would be a lot less stressful if we could grab three points this weekend. Then we could afford to be a little more relaxed about what happens on Tyneside and in north London as well as when Chelsea and Everton arrive on Wearside.
Stoke have been wretched of late but I am not counting on more of the same. They’ll see us as a way of getting back into the form they’d shown for much of the season until recent hammering.
You all know what is a stake. And continuing our shamelessly partisan theme, Guess the Score is once again offering a prize only to a correct forecast of Sunderland to win. Any other kind of entry, including any from Stoke fans, is therefore to be regarded as “for fun”, if – in our case at least – fun can truly be had in present circumstances.
Otherwise, usual rules apply. First to post the correct scoreline before kickoff on Saturday is the winner, in substance if predicting an away win but in spirit alone if not. Monsieur Salut’s decision shall be final and you must have a UK postal address to which a winning mug could be sent.
Ha’way the Lads.