Sunderland vs Aston Villa: the cup finals start here

Jake: 'let the revival continue?'
Jake: ‘let the revival continue?’

Carlisle United on Sunday in the FA Cup proper and there’s a good “Who are You?” on its way.

But who can deny that Sunderland vs Aston Villa assumes cup final significance?

We rode our luck a little at Everton but could as easily have won more comfortably as lost 2-1. It was a good away performance to win by the only goal against strong top-six opposition who were good enough to make light of the Tim Howard sending off.

The recovery at Cardiff was impressive after a poor start; the players were right when they told Gus Poyet in the dressing room afterwards that they only wished the game could have lasted a few more minutes, so sure were they that a win was denied by time alone.

Now Sunderland have to build on that promising end to a bleak year. Morale and confidence must be higher than at any time other than after the wins against Man City, Newcastle United and Chelsea. Can the new-found belief at last be translated into a rousing, dominant display against a team lying way outside the elite mini-league at the
top? We thought it might come against Norwich; the need for it to happen now is as pressing as it is possible to imagine.

I like Sunderland to compete to win every match and would be bitterly disappointed to see an early exit from the FA Cup or an indifferent performance in either leg of the Capital One Cup semis against Man Utd.

Beating Villa, and enough other teams to ward off relegation fears, just has to take priority.


Monsieur Salut on tur at ESPNFC.COM:


Sunderland must regard the Villa visit as crucial to their prospects of survival, improved as these have been by the four points won away at Everton and Cardiff over Christmas. We can safely forget the FA Cup visit of Carlisle United on Sunday; Villa at home in the league is one of a number of cup finals Sunderland seem likely to face between now and May.

** the Aston Villa ‘Who are You?’:

Tom Joliffe, Villa fan, on SAFC:

Decent club. Very passionate fans and generally easy to get along with. To some extent they have a similar outlook to Villa fans generally. We’re laid back, we like a bit of gallows humour, we like a bit of moan too, but we’re generally not arrogant, nor complete doom mongers.

*** Guess the Score:

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Monsieur Salut in Paris days, as seen by Matt
Monsieur Salut in Paris days, as seen by Matt
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