Lots of Arsenal fans were drawn into some great crack here over the weekend. Some of them said kind things, but they are probably all looking at this Saturday as a home banker. That sort of means we have nothing to lose. But there’s a lot of pride to play for after the recent dismal run, and no one turning out for us at the Emirates should do so without at least the hope in his heart of pulling off a result …
Confirmation that Jordan Henderson is out for six weeks – not three as I believed from one earlier report – is unwelcome in that his absence, added to Andy Reid’s injury, robs us of most of what little midfield creativity we seem to possess.
The only welcome feature is that is it could have been worse, since the injury looked serious from the moment it happened. He’ll still have some of the season left in which to continue the remarkable progress he has made this season.
The better news is that Anton Ferdinand, Kieran Richardson and Fraizer Campbell will all be available for the tough game at Arsenal on Saturday. None of those names, on the basis of performances this season, will fill Sunderland fans with the greatest of confidence ahead of a match everyone expects us to lose; but at least we’ll have a team to put out!
Salut! Sunderland desperately wants to see a display of such brilliance and resolve that we actually leave the Emirates with a point or more. It hardly has to be said that we will need the first part of that equation, plus a huge dollop of luck, for us to have any real hope of doing so. Such things have happened in football, and even on occasion to Sunderland (I’d take a re-run of that league cup game a few seasons ago, a relegation season if I remember correctly, when we went there and won 3-2 after being 2-0 down at half time).
But I also remember another relegation season when the appalling Paul Danson sent off two of our players – one of them, Martin Scott, correctly; the other, Paul Stewart, quite outrageously – and we played virtually the entire game in our half, hanging on at 0-0 before succumbing to two late goals.