There is still a sizeable gap between our boys and the relegation battlers below, whilst the gaggle of mid table mediocrity is within touching distance.
But the trajectory of Southampton with the loss of a leader and a host of injuries coupled with poor results has lead to a slide down the table and moaning amongst fans. A bad result against the mackems and we'll definitely be lumped in with 2017's two disaster teams. Leicester and Bournemouth.
Every year there is one team that collapses and falls into the Championship. (I thought Burnley were prime candidates, their stats continue to be awful). But this year it could be three.
That Sunderland are now considered a team on the rise, probably says more about the short term view of modern punditry than how well they have been playing. A win against the shambolic eagles and backs to the wall draw against spurs has given fans hope but they are still bottom of the league. Still managed by Moyes.
Much has been made of Rodwell finally winning a game but in typical Rodwell fashion he is now injured. O'Shea and Januzaj also picked up knocks in that victory.
The black cats were hoping Jordan Pickford would make a return in goal today but it seems this match has come a little bit too soon.
Saints currently sit in the champions league places in the injury list table at seven crooked. Sunderland are two places higher in 2nd with nine players out.
I cannot work Saints out, to be honest.
You could argue that Southampton are on the fringes of the battle for survival. If Bournemouth are then Saints have to be, given the fact they're on the same amount of points*. Southampton may have an eye on the EFL Cup final, so if Sunderland are able to turn this game into a battle then I see them getting a win
*not actually true.
Dan V: 1-2
We've got to win at some point.
Sunderland win. Just in the hopes that my prediction is wrong.
Literally no idea what is going to happen.