Premier League Countdown: Sunderland boosted for a half-century
The inability to convert draws to wins left Sunderland fighting a relegation battle last season, and they will have to improve on that if they are to deliver Ladbrokes’ latest special.
In the next of the bookmakers’ Premier League Countdown boosts, the Black Cats are available at 16/1 to rack up 50 points or more in 2015-16.
Their tally of 38 en route to a 16th place finish may suggest that the prospect is a real longshot, but there is plenty of hope to cling on to.
The Mackems have twice surpassed the half-century mark in their Premier League history in 99-00 and 00-01, with Kevin Philips leading the line.
Summer signing Jeremain Lens will have to have a similar impact if punters are collect and the Wearside club are to challenge for the top-half finishes they achieved at the turn of the millennium.
With 30 caps for the Netherlands and plenty of Europa League experience with PSV and Dynamo Kiev the attacker certainly has that big game prowess up top that Sunderland have been lacking.
The club’s joint top scorers Conor Wickham and Steven Fletcher only managed five goals in the campaign just gone, which might go some way to explaining their lack of victories.
Instead it was draws that the club specialised in last season, racking up 17 of them from their 38 fixtures.
If converting less than half of them into victories the north east outfit can easily push for 50 points.
The decision of Dick Advocaat to stay on for another year will only benefit them, with the former South Korea boss heralded with saving them from relegation.
In the nine games that he oversaw at the club, they achieved 12 points. Considering Arsenal, Chelsea and European qualifiers Southampton were amongst their opponents, that isn’t bad going.
What’s more, having racked up an average of 1.33 points per game, a full season at that pace would see the club hit their target bang on.
Competition is set to be fierce around the mid and lower reaches of the Premier League in the season ahead, but this looks to be one battle that the Black Cats can win in 2014-15.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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