Swansea City-Sunderland Preview

RYAN WILLOX (STATS Football Writer)
The Associated Press

With their objective of maintaining top-flight status secured, Sunderland and Swansea City play for pride and position at the Stadium of Light on the final day of the Premier League campaign.

The Black Cats completed a 'great escape' that would have done Steve McQueen and co. proud when they overcame West Bromwich Albion 2-0 in midweek.

First-half goals from Jack Colback and Fabio Borini secured victory and prompted emotional scenes at the Stadium of Light as the final whistle confirmed Sunderland's unlikely Houdini act.

"It's not often I go on the pitch, but I went out there to celebrate with the fans, it was a great feeling," manager Gus Poyet told the official club website. "I'm so happy for everyone related to the club, the fans, the staff and the players."

Poyet continued: "We've spent the whole season fighting for this and it's been very difficult; but the players believed and they committed themselves and we've done what we needed to do with a game in hand. That sounds impossible but that was our miracle."

Sunderland (10-8-19) became only the second team (West Brom '05) to escape relegation from the Premier League after being bottom at Christmas.

The win against the Baggies was their fourth in succession after going winless in the previous nine.

"We were in the bottom at Christmas and then we found ourselves seven points adrift with six games to go - to turn that around with a game in hand is unique," said Poyet.

"The best way to sum it up is that we got the miracle that we needed."

Opponents Swansea (10-9-18) are already planning for next season having confirmed Premier League status with victory over Aston Villa two weeks ago.

The Welsh club appointed Garry Monk as permanent manager on a three-year contract this week after he had spent the previous three months as head coach following the dismissal of Michael Laudrup.

"I have been at this football club for 10 years and I know what Swansea City means to everyone in the community - and beyond," Monk told the official club website. "That's what will drive me on to produce a successful team that plays attractive and attacking football. I want everyone connected to this club to be proud of the team.

"I am under no illusion how much hard work is needed going forward. But I am willing to put that hard work in by giving everything I have to ensure Swansea City is a success.''

In five previous Premier League meetings between the clubs each side has a win and there have been three draws.

The reverse fixture marked Poyet's first game in charge, and also Swansea's biggest league win of the season. Own goals from Phil Bardsley and Steven Fletcher bookended a strike from Julian de Guzman and a Wilfried Bony penalty as the Swans routed Sunderland 4-0.

Swansea have failed to score in either of their two Premier League visits to the Stadium of Light, losing 2-0 in Jan. 2012 and drawing 0-0 in Jan. 2013.

The Swans are assured of their worst points total in their three seasons since being promoted to the Premier League. Their haul has decreased each season, with 47 in 2012, 46 in 2013 and 39 (with Sunday's game outstanding) this season.

Prior to reeling off four straight in their miracle run, Sunderland had won only six of their last 33.

The Black Cats will be without Fletcher (foot), Ki Sung-Yeung (knee), Carlos Cuellar (hamstring), Keiren Westwood (shoulder) and have a doubt over Lee Cattermole (knock).

Swansea are without Michu (foot), Angel Rangel (groin) and have a doubt over Chico Flores (ankle).

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