A draw at Fulham is not a bad result. But it came in a game of few thrills, little quality, hardly any talking points – except the question of whether Mark Hughes told his players to go out and rough up John Mensah in the knowledge of what the loss of the injury-prone centre back would have meant. Let us say no more than it looked that way a couple of times. Pete Sixsmith went into action again for The Observer…
Starting with Fuham,
The fans’ verdicts and ratings:
David Lloyd, Toofif.co.uk
This was one of those games where everything nearly happens – but you don’t get anything for nearly. It was summed up by a shout from one supporter when Eddie Johnson was brought on as sub near the end – “If Eddie Johnson is the answer, what the hell is the question?” Sunderland were there to be beaten. Mark Hughes will probably be wanting to spend some of the chairman’s money during the January window so he can do things his own way. But maybe the chairman is thinking “Do I give him until January?” It is getting worrying – and we’ve got Liverpool and Hodgson away next.
Schwarzer 7; Pantsil 6, Hughes 6, Hangeland 8, Salcido 5 (E Johnson 72 6); Davies 6, Murphy 7, Etuhu 6 (Baird 78 6), Dempsey 7; Gera 6; Kamara 5 (A Johnson ht 6)
Pete Sixsmith SalutSunderland.com
Away points are always welcome, and we worked hard for this one. John Mensah held us together with an immaculate performance at the back. I have been watching football for 40-odd years and I’ve never seen anyone quite like him, He reads the game so well, and he never seems to exert himself. It’s just a pity that he so often has problems with injuries. I think we need one more good player in midfield during the next transfer window and then we can really kick on. We are just happy watching the clowns 11 miles west of us. You don’t know what goes on at Newcastle. We are loving it.
Mignolet 6; Onuoha 7, Mensah 9, Ferdinand 6 (Elmohamady 10 7), Bardsley 8; Henderson 7, Meyler 7 (Gyan 53 6), Cattermole 7, Richardson 7; Bent 7, Welbeck 6 (Zenden 78 7)