The only two teams without a win in the Premier League meet at the Hawthorns on Saturday when West Bromwich Albion host Sunderland Athletic.
West Brom (0-2-2) enjoyed an impressive eighth-place finish under the management of Steve Clarke last season, but have not started this campaign in the same style. Draws against Everton and Fulham are the only points the Baggies have picked up so far, and Clarke admitted this week he has yet to find the best in his team.
"Every year is different, you have to get a feel for your players and the way your team prefers to play," said Clarke. "I think the late changes we've had means it's been a little bit more difficult. You then have to find an idea and a feel for the players. We're still searching for the right way to play because we haven't won a game yet. Hopefully that will come sooner rather than later.
"The flair has been missing from the team. We haven't played with any great fluidity or flair going forwards. I'm not really sure why because we've still got a lot of the players we had last year. We haven't been creative enough - that shows in the goals-for column. One goal from a set-play is not enough. But it's something we're working on."
Sunderland (0-1-3) underwent a huge overhaul of the squad in the summer, with manager Paolo Di Canio ringing the changes. That policy has yet to pay off, but midfielder Craig Gardner believes it is far too early in the season to be blaming the manager for a lack of points.
"I think a lot of the people who've been writing the manager off have got something against Paolo Di Canio," said Gardner. "It's not just his management skills, there's always something to knock him about. Of course he's a Premier League manager - he's managing in the Premier League and he's trying to change things here.
"I don't think we should be too worried about it yet. It is too early to be getting into the league table too much. The league is tight, one win and you're back in the top half or whatever. It was the same last year, 12 or 13 teams were in the middle and there was hardly anything between them. As long as we keep putting performances in like we did in the second half against Arsenal we will pick the points up."
Di Canio earned a sending off and a fine from the FA in Saturday's 3-1 loss to the Gunners - which he admitted to prompting from referee Martin Atkinson - in the second half shortly after Jozy Altidore's apparent equaliser was waved off since Atkinson did not play the advantage after the American muscled off Bacary Sagna prior to scoring.
West Brom have injury doubts over Shane Long (knee), Matej Vydra (hamstring), Steven Reid (calf) and Grant Thorne (knee), while Ben Foster (ankle) and Zoltan Gera (knee) remain out. Sunderland will be without Andrea Dossena (hip), and Emanuele Giaccherini (hamstring), John O'Shea (ankle), Lee Cattermole (knee) and Phil Bardsley (ankle) are all doubtful.
The Baggies did the double over the Black Cats last season, with a Romelu Lukaku brace securing a 2-1 win in this fixture. It was a 4-2 win for Clarke's side at the Stadium of Light last season, and the Baggies have netted a remarkable 19 goals in their last seven meetings with Sunderland.
- Sports & Recreation
- Premier League
- West Bromwich Albion
- Paolo Di Canio
- Steve Clarke