clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Match Preview: Leicester look to strengthen title grip at expense of Sunderland

Important points are on the line for both sides as they battle for security at opposite ends of the table.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Location: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England

Kick-off time: 13:30 PM GMT, 08:30 AM Eastern, 05:30 AM Pacific

SB Nation Opposition Blog: Roker Report

Available TV: Sky Sports (UK), NBCSN (US), Sportsnet One (Canada)

Available streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra

Two teams with much different ambitions will clash this Sunday as Leicester look to go 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a win on the road at the Stadium of Light against serial relegation-strugglers Sunderland.

The Black Cats are in desperate need of points as they sit four points adrift of Premier League survival and 17th-placed Norwich, but any result other than a loss against the Foxes this weekend would be a success for the home side as it prepares for an important six-pointer away to the Canaries on April 10.

Norwich is away to Crystal Palace on Friday, so expect a negative result there for the Black Cats to dictate Sam Allardyce's approach against Leicester, who have been the best team in the Premier League on the road this season (10 wins, 4 draws, 2 losses). A draw wouldn't necessarily be a horrible result for Sunderland with remaining winnable fixtures against Norwich, Stoke and Watford, but time is beginning to run out for a side that is slowly slipping towards what would be the club's first relegation to the Championship in 10 years.

Sunderland pressing for three points could play into the hands of Leicester as they look to capitalize on the counter-attack through Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. Sunderland's best hope of earning a result comes from limiting these two's impact while playing the ball to Jermaine Defoe, who could pose a tricky threat to Wes Morgan and Robert Huth - two big defenders with not a lot of mobility.

A 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light last season between these two sides secured Premier League survival for the Foxes after being seven points from the drop on April 1, 2015. One year onward and the Foxes are riding high at the top of the league with four consecutive 1-0 victories while the Sunderland has drawn four straight, including a 1-1 draw to Tyne and Wear rivals Newcastle and a disappointing 0-0 with West Brom.

Sunderland eventually survived that drop with Leicester last season, continuing a streak of squeaky bum finishes to its season that included the Premier League's second-greatest escape in 2013-14 with 13-of-18 points from its final six games to finish one point off relegation. Sunderland is no stranger to the fight and know how find ways to pick up points late in the season, so it deserves every bit of respect from the Foxes this weekend.

For Leicester, this is one game it should be expected to win with their title ambitions becoming more and more achievable as the season inches towards the end. Spurs could face a double-digit deficit between themselves and the title when they kick off against Manchester United at White Hart Lane later Sunday afternoon. Leicester holds the early start time at 1:30 PM GMT, giving them a chance to put more pressure on its title rivals with only six games left for Tottenham to erase Leicester's now seven-point advantage.

Score Prediction: Sunderland 1-2 Leicester (Okazaki, Mahrez)