Goalkeepers the number one

  • By: Nick Hext
  • Last Updated: September 29 2013, 15:57 BST

Nick Hext previews the two Premier League games on Super Sunday and makes Simon Mignolet his man to watch for Liverpool.

Simon Mignolet: Has impressed for Liverpool
Simon Mignolet: Has impressed for Liverpool

The Reds goalkeeper returns to his former club Sunderland in the second of the day's games and there's also Stoke v Norwich to enjoy.

Read on for our verdict:

Stoke v Norwich (1330 BST)

Some would be cruel and say this isn't a particularly super start to Super Sunday but I would not take that the view. Don't expect to see skills befitting the 1970 Brazil World Cup squad on show but do sit in front of the TV for an intriguing battle between two sides aiming to spend the season away from relegation trouble. Mark Hughes' time in charge of Stoke has started well and his three games at the Britannia Stadium have so far seen victories against Walsall and Crystal Palace, plus a creditable 0-0 draw with Manchester City. The Potters lost 3-1 at Arsenal last weekend but that is no reason to panic and the only concern I can see for them is a lack of goals. Hughes must be aware of this but don't expect it to stop them sitting in mid-table. Norwich won't be feeling as full of beans. They did win at Watford in the Capital One Cup in midweek but it's been a mixed bag to start the Premier League season with more bad than good. Chris Hughton's men lost at home to Aston Villa last Saturday and before that they were dreadful in the 2-0 defeat at Tottenham. Hull claimed victory in the other away game for the Canaries this term and it's hard to see them doing better here. Gary Hooper is the Norwich player to watch after his two goals in midweek but he's by no means certain to start. The only interest could come from the 17/2 with 888sport for the former Celtic man to score the final goal of the match but I'm firmly going for the Stoke win in this contest.

Verdict: Stoke 1 Norwich 0

Opta stats:

No team has hit the woodwork more often than Stoke this season (four times) in the Premier League.

Norwich have gone 202 minutes without scoring; the longest current run in the Premier League.

Each of the past five games between Stoke and Norwich have seen fewer than three goals scored.

Only two of Ricky van Wolfswinkel's 11 shots (including blocked) this season have been on target.

Sunderland v Liverpool (1600)

The Sky Sports cameras move to the Stadium of Light for the day's second match but there will be no histrionics from Paolo Di Canio on the touchline to enjoy. The Italian has been sent packing and it's the right call from the Black Cats with the bottom of the Premier League not the place to be and morale reportedly at rock bottom in the squad. Kevin Ball will get unequivocal support from the fans during his caretaker reign but he can do only so much as it's a pretty limited squad at his disposal. Sunderland will look to show more than they did in the tame 3-0 defeat at West Brom last Saturday but it's a big ask to beat Brendan Rodgers' improving Liverpool. The Reds have suffered two 1-0 defeats in a row - against Manchester United in the Capital One Cup and Southampton in the league - but it's clearly a team going in the right direction. We all know a certain Mr Suarez is back in the ranks but goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is the player I want on side for this match. The Belgian is returning to his former club for the first time and making more saves than any other goalkeeper so far this season shows he is capable of grabbing the headlines. BetVictor and Ladbrokes are offering the interesting price of 16/1 for any goalkeeper to win the man of the match award and I'm happy to have a nibble at that. Sunderland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood is also thrown in the mix and, despite his regular travails this term, it's by no means impossible to see him collect the prize after a gutsy display as the hosts' last line of defence. Mignolet is my man to watch and expect him to play his part in a return to winning way for the away side.

Verdict: Sunderland 0 Liverpool 1

Opta stats:

Sunderland have scored only 12 goals in 24 Premier League meetings with Liverpool.

Livepool's Simon Mignolet has made more saves than any other goalkeeper this season (25).

Mignolet has a saves to shots ratio of 89 per cent, the second best rate of regular goalkeepers this season.

Keiren Westwood, Mignolet's replacement at Liverpool, has a saves to shots ratio of 54 per cent, the lowest of any goalkeeper to feature in all five games this season.

  • The matches are being televised live in the UK on Sky Sports.

  • Posted at 2040 BST on 26/09/2013.