Date: 24th November 2015 at 7:03pm
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Much like their North-East rivals Newcastle, it has been another disastrous start to the Premier League season for Sunderland.

After picking up just three points from their opening nine matches, things have looked up slightly in recent weeks for the Black Cats, after they recorded a 3-0 win in the Tyne-Wear derby, before picking up a vital three points against Crystal Palace on Monday night.

So what three things have we learnt about the Mackems after 13 games?

1) Appointing Sam Allardyce might be the best decision they’ve made in years.

Despite avoiding relegation last term, things weren’t to improve for Sunderland and Dick Advocaat, and after the Dutchman left his post, the club made a great decision in appointing Big Sam.

The former West Ham and Bolton boss has never been relegated from the Premier League as a manager, and knows what it takes to keep a team in the top-flight.

23 November 2015 - Barclays Premier League - Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Jermain Defoe of Sunderland celebrates the win - Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Sunderland picked up a vital win at Crystal Palace.

2) They need to tighten up at the back.

The Black Cats have conceded an average of two goals a game at the 13-match mark, and that is something that must improve if they are to fend off a relegation battle.

Taking away the 6-2 defeat at Everton, Allardyce’s side have only conceded twice in their last four matches, and that solid foundation is certainly something to build on in the coming months.

3) They seem to have a unearthed a gem in Duncan Watmore.

While some of Sunderland’s high-profile players, such as summer signing Jeremain Lens, have struggled to find form, 21-year-old Watmore has impressed with some dynamic performances.

The forward scored on his Premier League debut, has caused problems for a number of defenders, and was rewarded with a new four-year deal over the weekend.

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