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Di Canio defiant on dire day for North East

| 20.09.2013

Sunderland remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table after a 3-0 defeat away to West Brom.

The Baggies secured their fifth successive win over Sunderland – with former Mackems midfielder Stephane Sessegnon scoring on debut for Steve Clarke’s side – and this latest loss has Black Cats manager Paolo Di Canio under enormous pressure after what was a summer of substantial expenditure at the Wearside club.

In a slightly masochistic act of defiance the Italian went over to acknowledge the travelling supporters at full-time, incurring the wrath of some – he implored them to keep their chins up. He is now the evens favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave.

The winless Mackems have now conceded three goals in each of their last three matches – their goal difference of minus eight is by a distance the league’s worst – and host Liverpool and Manchester United in their next two league games.

Yet there will be few gloating in Newcastle this weekend after the Magpies suffered a 3-2 defeat at St James’ Park to newly-promoted Hull, a result that will ramp up the pressure on Alan Pardew – a 16/1 shot to be the departing gaffer.

Looking for a third-straight league victory Newcastle twice took the lead, but were ultimately outfought in a deserved loss which will be all the more galling given that the visitors are now managed by former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce.

At the top end of the table Liverpool suffered their first defeat of the season, at home to a largely-untroubled Southampton. The hosts were imprecise with the ball and appeared bereft of creativity in the absence of playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

Chelsea replaced the Reds at the league’s summit after beating Fulham 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to end a run of four games without a win and ease the pressure on Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese raised eyebrows in omitting David Luiz and the club’s two-time and reigning player of the year Juan Mata, but will ultimately feel vindicated after goals from Oscar and Jon Obi Mikel – his first in 185 league games for the club – sealed the points.

Chelsea are now 11/5 favourites for the Premier League, while Fulham boss Martin Jol is a 7/1 second favourite to leave his club next.

Elsewhere Everton twice came from behind to beat West Ham 3-2 at Upton Park, and Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa side overcame his former employers Norwich City 1-0 in the early kick-off at Carrow Road.

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Toby Calnan