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Sunderland v West Brom preview: Baggies can escape Championship drop zone

West Bromwich Albion will have the chance to climb out of the bottom three on Monday night when they travel to Sunderland in the Championship.

The Baggies were slow out of the blocks under former boss Steve Bruce, and his team's poor start cost him his job in October. Former Huddersfield Town manager Carlos Corberan is now at the helm, and he has led his side to three successive wins on the back of an opening loss since he took charge.

However, Tony Mowbray's Sunderland will be a tough nut to crack, with the Black Cats having won three of their last four games in the second tier.

What: Sunderland v West Brom 
When: 20:00, Monday 12th December 2022 
Where: Stadium of Light, Sunderland 
How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Football 
Odds: Sunderland 19/10, Draw 9/4, West Brom 6/4

Reason for optimism under Corberan

Corberan has wasted no time in getting a tune out of West Brom, and his ability to do so proves there is enough talent in the Albion squad to avoid relegation.

The Baggies won just one of their 13 matches under Bruce, and the former Newcastle United coach left them in the bottom three when he was sacked, alongside Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence and Alex Bruce.

After losing his first game in charge, 2-0 against Sheffield United, Corberan has now started to work his magic, and three successive wins to nil have lifted everyone's spirits at The Hawthorns.

While the league table is not a pretty sight for the Baggies' faithful, West Brom do have two games in hand over the majority of the division. 

Should they pick up a win on Monday, they could move as high as 17th, and they would only be eight points behind sixth-placed Preston North End.

Consistency issues plague the Black Cats

Like West Brom, Sunderland have a game in hand to use to their advantage, and a win for Mowbray's side could lift them to within a point of the top six.

The Black Cats' fans will have no doubt enjoyed themselves for the first few months of the season now back in the Championship, but there is still something missing from the Sunderland gameplan.

Mowbray has yet to work out how to get the best out of his squad consistently, with their longest winning and losing streak standing at two matches.

That form is fine if they want to avoid the drop, but to push into the playoffs, Sunderland need to start stringing results together. 

A win on Monday will mark the first time Sunderland have won three in a row this season, but the formbook suggests that is a long shot, and West Brom to win to nil offers more value at 3/1.

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Baggies have nothing to fear

West Brom fans that have travelled up and down the country this season will have had very little to smile about until October. 

The Baggies failed to win any of their first six games on the road, but they have now won two of their last three away from The Hawthorns.

That run of form should give them confidence, and when looking at Sunderland's home form at the Stadium of Light, there is even more reason to back West Brom with conviction.

As discussed earlier, Sunderland's inability to put performances together means they have won just three of their 10 games on home soil.

Black Cats striker Ross Stewart is likely to return from injury in a real boost for Mowbray, but the Scot is set to start Monday's battle on the bench.

Corberan has revealed that some of his squad are carrying knocks, but while some may consider the recent break as a hindrance for West Brom, it may have given the Spaniard time to further improve his tactics.

The mid-season break for the World Cup may have stopped West Brom from winning four in a row, but they have had nearly a month to work on their plans for the busy Christmas period.

Unlike West Brom, Sunderland returned to action with a 3-0 success over Millwall last week, but Corberan's side should be far harder to break down on their travels.

Those expecting a close game can back Draw/West Brom in the half-time/full-time market at 9/2, while readers that prefer a safer bet can back Corberan's side to win in the double chance market at 2/5.

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