Sixer’s Sevens: Sunderland 2 Chelsea 1. Night of glory and hope

Pete Sixsmith - or supersub - does it in seven words
Pete Sixsmith – or supersub – does it in seven words

It’s the stuff of dreams. A pulsating finish to a game that once looked beyond Sunderland and suddenly we’re in the league cup semi-finals. Pete Sixsmith was in his seat, even if plenty more weren’t in theirs, to watch Chelsea dominate possession as expected, take a lucky lead through a Cattermole own goal (hardly unexpected given our record of scoring for the opposition) but then find themselves taken into extra time by a clever Fabio Borino finish from a tight angle and beaten by a cool low shot from Ki Sung Yueng. Borini had earlier chances to win a game where Sunderland’s passion, pride and persistence were rewarded. Can we now see the same spirit – and winning ways – in the survival battle? What follows, as usual, is Pete’s seven word summing up; he’ll be back with more …

Jake: 'well bless my soul'
Jake: ‘well bless my soul’

December 17 2013 Capital One Cup 5th Round: SAFC (0) 2 Chelsea (0) 1 AET Ki seals comeback; didn’t see that coming

December 14 2013 West Ham Utd (0) 0 Sunderland (0) 0 Better side by miles – couldn’t finish it

December 8 2013 SAFC (1) 1 Tottenham Hotspur (1) 2 Score flatters us as task gets harder

December 4 2013 SAFC (1) 3 Chelsea (2) 4 Pushed a strong side all the way

November 30 2013 Aston Villa (0) 0 SAFC (0) 0 *Villa almost undone by cream soda performance

November 23 2013 Stoke City (1) 2 SAFC (0) 0 Ridiculous red gave us an impossible task

November 10 2013 SAFC (1) 1 Manchester City (0) 0 A wonderfully disciplined performance. Real hope now

November 6 2013 Capital One Cup 4th Round: SAFC (0) 2 Southampton (0) 1 A tidy second half brings Wembley closer

November 2 2013 Hull City (1) SAFC (0) Damage limitation after appalling first half performance

October 27 2013 SAFC (1) 2 Newcastle United (0) 1 Bragging rights and a win. Good combination/ or Perfect Poyet puts another one over Pardew

October 19 2013 Swansea City 4 (0) SAFC 0 (0) No Poyet magic cure for abject failure*

October 5 2013 SAFC (1) 1 Manchester United (0) 2 Better side first half, outclassed in second

September 30 2013 SAFC (0) 1 Liverpool (2) 3 Spirit in abundance, undone by shoddy defending

September 24 2013 Capital One Cup 3rd Round: SAFC (1) 2 Peterborough United (0) 0 A solid performance without any touchline histrionics

September 21 2013 West Bromwich Albion 3 (1) SAFC 0 (0) Coach looks completely out of his depth

September 14 2013 SAFC (0) 1 Arsenal (1) 3 Performance far better than the result suggests

August 31 2013 Crystal Palace (1) 3 SAFC (0) 1 Nowhere near good enough for this league

August 27 2013 Capital One Cup 2nd Round: SAFC (0) 4 MK Dons (1) 2Outplayed, outclassed, somehow got out of jail

August 24 2013 Southampton (0) 1 SAFC (1) 1 The point was better than the performance

August 17 2013 SAFC (0) 0 Fulham (0) 1 Ultimately little difference from previous two seasons

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25 thoughts on “Sixer’s Sevens: Sunderland 2 Chelsea 1. Night of glory and hope”

  1. I’m in the positive camp for Mannone . I just think we look more solid as a unit at the back with Mannone in goal instead of Westwood . Saying that, the Zen like coolness of Wes Brown will have a lot to do with that and Westwood is unlucky in that respect. We must remember that Mignolet was far from the keeper he is now when he first got a run on our team. Playing regularly , getting an understanding with the defence, confidence in clean sheets and coaching saw him improve.Mannone will aswell.

    • Exactly Drummer. We remember when Mig first made the team how suspect he was under the high ball and his preference for making weak punches rather than catching the ball. He was twice the player when he left than he was when he first got into the team.

      I am no goalkeeping coach and after watching the ten minutes highlights on SAFSee would like someone who knows better to explain how Manonne could have got in a position to cut out the cross without leaving a huge gap at the near post.

      It is also easy for those who can only see the game on TV to criticise outfield players for what they see and not what is off screen. Altidore for example works hard off the ball pulling defences around. He can also hold off defenders and win aerial balls that someone like Sess for example can’t do. Of course he could do better in front of goal, but those who focus on the deficiencies of individuals calling for them to be dropped, are not looking at the bigger picture. It is a team game and players like Altidore make life easier for the Giaccherinis and Borinis of this world.

      Chelsea closed us down very quickly. Lesser teams will give us more opportunities and I’m sure we’ll start scoring more frequently soon. Tuesday was a good display against a very good side. Gardner had a mare but he too has a part to play in the current squad and will hold his own against the poorer sides.

      Personally I prefer to focus on positives rather than negatives at the moment, unlike the latter days of Bruce, O’Neill and PDC when all I could see was a dearth of ideas about how to get us out of a dire situation. It looks to me that Poyet is heading in the right direction and will get us out of the mire.

  2. This seems a re-run of the Westwood/Mignolet preference debate.I had confidence in Mig then and I feel the same about Mannone.He is not as good as Mig but has real potential.I firmly believe that Westwood gave awayall three goals at West Brom for which he got off very lightly.He’s not a bad keeper but Mannone is the future for me.

  3. Absolutely CSB. It wasn’t a mistake that he made as he does this time and again. I’d be very surprised if the goalkeeping coaches aren’t jumping all over him about this because it’s a fundamental weakness in his game. Having done this twice in quick succession illustrates that there’s something fundamental here. It’s inexcusable for someone playing at this level in the game.

    Mannone looked very commanding in his first few games but seems to have gone backwards in the last 3-4 games to me. Westwood is a far superior goalkeeper in all aspects of his game and I’m surprised that people seem to see Mannone in the same bracket as him. Mannone came in and was playing on adrenaline for the first couple of games. His reactions are very slow for a PL keeper and he’s been culpable for several goals recently. Not his fault entirely but has to take some of the blame. This is what he was like at Arsenal and they have been trying to find a decent keeper since Lehman retired. Mannone was there a long time and didn’t seize the day. Enough said.

  4. I agree that its a weakness Mannone has and if he was a bit more positive in the six yard box we could have averted quite a few of the ogs of late.

    This must be apparent to the goalkeeping coaches and one would think they would be working upon it.

    Other than this though he played well and so long as he sorts this six yard box problem out will continue to be a good keeper, maybe even a great one if he continues to develop.

  5. Ken G said “Very harsh on Mannone who I thought had a good game.It was O’Shea who had the easiest chance to cut out the cross which left his keeper and ultimately Cattermole with problems”

    Not harsh I don’t think Ken. He should have been down for a ball coming across the 6 yard box like that. No excuse for a professional goalkeeper doing that. He is weak with that sort of situation and did the same in the Spurs game I think. My son’s a GK and if he did that I wouldn’t need to tell him that he was wrong. He would know himself and he’s only 11.

  6. I agree that O’Shea should have cut that out but good goalkeepers will, sometimes, rescue the men in front of them and I think Mannone could have rescued O’Shea last night. For example, Mannone got his chance because Westwood got injured diving to punch away a very similar cross. He did have a good game and, as I said, made a very good save in extra time, but that doesn’t affect my overall view that we need better.

  7. Very harsh on Mannone who I thought had a good game.It was O’Shea who had the easiest chance to cut out the cross which left his keeper and ultimately Cattermole with problems.

    • Agreed Ken! I also thought he had a good game. Credit to Lampard for putting Cattermole under pressure.

      Had Mannone dived for the ball and missed it he would be getting stick for that too. Giaccharini had some great touches but also gave the ball away easily at times.He gets no stick, whereas a keeper makes one perceived mistake and is not considered good enough despite an earlier save keeping us in the game.

      I agree Gardner did not have the best of games last night but we have to remember that this was a win against one of Europe’s top sides. Against the weaker sides in this division he can still make a contribution. If Poyet can make some signings next month, or if Cabral, N’Diaye, Mavrias etc can prove themselves worthy, then maybe Gardner can be moved on but for now he is part of the squad Poyet has to work with.

      We have a string of winnable home games in the rest of the season. The team is playing well, and I still believe we will stay up – though a win on Saturday is vital if I am to be proved right.

  8. Great spirited performance and any legginess ( is that a word?) should be overcome due to the feel good factor and adrenaline come Saturday . I posted before the game ,this was the first of two crucial games this week to keep any hope alive for ” success ” this season . The first one won and in some style, the most important game of the season so far is on Saturday, we must win, we will win !

  9. Dave. You are right on the money about Mannone.He did the same thing in another game recently. He is not up to the job. Poyet knows that but is stuck with him for now.

    I can’t understand how Gardner could merit a recall. He has been shocking all this season.

    Borini for me is the only forward we have who understands how to play with a partner. I’m very much the same as you on him. There’s a decent player in there possibly just trying to get out but it doesn’t work for him with Altidore or Fletcher.

    I’ve had a feeling for some time that we needed to get a real confidence boosting result to turn the corner. This was possibly it. Someone is going to get a stuffing from us so watch out Norwich.

  10. Just watching the highlights. I stand by earlier criticism of Mannone as a braver keeper would have cut out the cross as it went past him only a few feet out. However, his later save was very good and to a large extent made up for it.
    He is very calm and good with the ball at his feet and this may seem harsh after such a good result, but I still think we need a better keeper.

  11. Hopefully this is a confidence boost for Saturday.
    I share your opinion about Gardner. Great bloke, liability in MF (& RB).
    I hope Catts can keep his head v Norwich and turn in another top display. And Ki can play further forward. I still think we need a powerhouse midfielder in the Jan window to partner Catts and Ki.

    For me, I’d pair Borini and Giacc on Saturday as the front two. Leave out Altidore and Fletch.

  12. A few points from tonight, in my opinion:
    1) I have questioned Borini. If he continues to play like he did tonight I will be delighted to accept I was wrong
    2) Ki looks excellent in a more attacking role. Finally, we might have a midfielder who can play a killer pass
    3) Some of the interchanges, late on, between the front three were superb
    4) The same front 3 are scared stiff to shoot, particularly Giac. Gus has to sort that out but we have to help by supporting if they hit a poor shot
    5) Altidore probably needs a rest as he clearly lost interest during the second half when we were quite poor, up to the last 10 minutes
    6) I still have doubts about Mannone, particularly as we seem to keep conceding from crossed inside the 6 yard box, but he made a couple of really good saves today and overall was good.
    7) Sadly, I and many others, are right about Gardner. Nice bloke, not a premier league player. We looked so much better when he went off.
    Hopefully, the boost provided by a late win will outweight the tiredness from the effort put in. After the equaliser we were clearly the better and more committed side, which was great to see. Really good night.

    • Hopefully Gardner, and possibly Larsson will move on in January to create funds.

      We need to retain Colback for sure. Gardner is about the same level as Bardsley, just not as stupid. He throws in an occasional goal.. It’s just that the goal never wins anything.

  13. I, for one would take Premier League safety above Carling Cup success. But, since Gus took over, I have felt more optimistic about our chances of staying up (despite the gloom of most likely being bottom at Christmas). I still think Monsieur Poyet will keep us up. And he will build a better team for the future.

    Even if (heaven forbid) we go down, I hope Ellis Short will allow Gus Poyet to continue for some years as the Sunderland Manager. We need continuity in that area, and he seems ideal.

    Eventually they will become his squad and use that passing technique better. For now it is just keep the ball longer, and hope we create something. But scoring 2 against Chelski will help the morale.

  14. Aye all well and good but you need to be out of this cup not in the semis. and your nackered for Saturday now after all that extra time and your boss needs to tell that bunch of bananas what end they supposed to score in. You’ll come to rue tonight when you’ve got less than nowt to show for it

    • In the old days, when football fans couldn’t hide behind usernames, it was customary for rivals to say things like “Well done” and “good luck in the semis” when a team had beaten worthy opponents.

      What a pity you can’t manage even this, Smoggie.

    • Just in. Thought we played really well tonight and are looking like a team. Just need to be more clinical in front of goal. Cattermole can be immense when he keeps his head. Tonight was one of those.

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