Name: Jermain Defoe
After helping firing the club to safety last May; star striker Jermain Defoe looks like he will have to deal with most of the goalscoring burden once again during the latter stages of this season as Sunderland currently lie one point adrift of survival in 19th spot.
The 33-year-old, who joined the Black Cats from Major League Soccer side Toronto FC only last January, has scored a crucial 17 goals in just 42 first-team appearances for the Premier League club during back-to-back relegation threatened campaigns.
Defoe; who netted 19 goals in 55 international caps for England, has become something like Sunderland’s striking saviour as his impact in the final third of the pitch significantly helped former manager Dick Advocaat save the club from the drop last term, whilst his current goalscoring streak in front of goal is spearheading boss Sam Allardyce’s survival bid as you read this.
The former West Ham United, Tottenham and Portsmouth hitman scored vital goals against Newcastle United (1-0) and Everton (2-0) back in April and May of last year, efforts that proved imperative to Sunderland’s end-of-season stature as the Black Cats finished just three points above the bottom three come May.
Now with Allardyce’s men currently engulfed in another dogfight at the wrong end of the Premier League table; Defoe’s contribution of six goals in his last seven league outings has almost single-handedly prevented the Black Cats slipping down to rock-bottom and already preparing for life in the Championship this summer.
Defoe’s goalscoring exploits between now and May 15 could well prove to be the decisive factor in whether Sunderland preserve their Premier League status for a tenth successive season.