Talking tactics: How Sunderland can beat Bournemouth

Sunderland's Wahbi Khazri in action against Arsenal last week at the Stadium of Light
Sunderland's Wahbi Khazri in action against Arsenal last week at the Stadium of Light

The lead must come from their defensive giants.

If you were forced to put a fiver on the result at Dean Court you may not be sticking it on an away win, Bournemouth are the overwhelming favourites.

Sunderland’s form on the road in the Premier League (or at home for that matter), makes for grim reading.

Working backwards, West Ham (1-0), Stoke (2-0) and Spurs (1-0) have been the last three top flight journeys.

You have to go back to a balmy summer’s day at Southampton for the last point – it should have been three, but the Black Cats conceded a late goal to the Saints.

Could the south coast air suit the Black Cats? Here are three key areas for the match at Dean Court.

Stifle the Cherries:

Sunderland will be facing one of the Premier League’s form home sides tomorrow.

Having lost their season opener, 3-1 to Man United, the Cherries have really put it together on their own patch.

They have won three and drawn one of their last four games at Dean Court to lift them to 10th in the division.

Club-record £15million signing Jordon Ibe has shown flashes of his talent, his direct running causing problems to defences, whether he has been coming in off the right or driving through the middle.

Junior Stanislas has also been a dangerman, as he proved in the 6-1 rout of Hull last month, when he was involved in four of his side’s goals.

Sunderland have to mark everyone, but they have made a habit of switching off at crucial times. There can be no repeat of that tomorrow.

Bournemouth may be no great shakes away from home, but at Dean Court they have looked pretty warm – the Black Cats must stifle Eddie Howe’s main men.

Clinical in front of goal and in and around the box:

For all the depression at the away results, there have been gilt-edged chances, albeit not many, in all of Sunderland’s away days.

Opportunities have come – and gone – for Wahbi Khazri at the London Stadium, Jermain Defoe at the Britannia and Steven Pienaar at White Hart Lane to show that the Black Cats do get a glimpse of the home goal.

None have gone in, but the Black Cats are going to have to find one or two goals if they are to win tomorrow, assuming they fail to keep a clean sheet.

In Defoe, they have one of the best finishers in the business, providing they get the ball to him. There is pressure on Khazri and Duncan Watmore tomorrow.

They probably had some of the best positions to deliver telling balls last week, but the end-product did not match the menace.

Bodies on the line:

It should be a given, surely, in the position Sunderland find themselves in?

The effort seems to be there from the players, but they are going to come under heavy pressure at Dean Court.

Last week against the Gunners, yes they were up against one of the most gifted sides not just in England, but Europe.

But that is no excuse for opponents being allowed to run past ‘markers’ as though they are not there, as highlighted in the first and second Arsenal goals, while the last was an embarrassment as Alexis Sanchez walked it in.

A clean sheet tomorrow is imperative if Sunderland are to have any chance of a first league win of the season.

There has to be a hunger, pride, determination, call it what you will, from the defence outwards to keep the ball out of their net.

On Monday, we highlighted Lamine Kone and Papy Djilobodji as key figures and the lead must come from their defensive giants.

Bournemouth, a side full of English talent, are perhaps under-rated but they are not unbeatable, as Middlesbrough showed last Saturday.

But that true grit needs to be there from minute 0 to 94.