Keir Bradwell, our youngest columnist (not yet 14), offers the first edition of what may become a regular feature: his marks out of 10 for each Sunderland player involved in the action . Where better to start than at Wembley? There is bound to be disagreement. If that means you, say so …
Manchester City 3 – 1 Sunderland: Player Ratings
Sunderland played well but in the end succumbed to Man City in the Captial One Cup final at Wembley, after taking the lead through Fabio Borini inside 10 minutes, then conceding to two moments of magnificence from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri. The game ended 3-1 after Sunderland conceded on the counter-attack late on from trying for an equalising second goal. My player ratings for the game are as follows:
Vito Mannone: 6
Our ‘keeper didn’t get any chance for a historic double-save, but nor could he have done anything about City’s first two. He came close to saving their third and pulled off some good saves earlier on though, so it was a good performance, if not a spectacular one.
Phil Bardsley: 5
All the emotion and heart you could want, but not all the performance you’d like. Looked absolutely devastated at the end, but could have been neater with his passing and didn’t influence the game enough.
John O’Shea: 7
A good captain’s performance from O’Shea, as coped excellently with the City defence for the first half, and did well the second too. Didn’t shine above the rest but was solid and dependable.
Wes Brown: 7
Similar to O’Shea, was solid at the back and didn’t slip up against the pressure of the City attack. Both centre-backs were unable to do much for the goals, so you can’t blame them for the loss.
Marcos Alonso: 5
I had a vision that he’d score in the first half and we’d win 1-0, but sadly that wasn’t the case. He pushed forward more than Bardsley on the other side, but his lack of pace and defensive insecurities were exposed today. His passing was excellent though, which redeems him somewhat.
Sebastian Larsson: 8
I groaned when his name appeared on the team sheet, but Larsson greatly surprised me with a genuinely excellent performance of good passing, defensive solidarity and all-round composure. He could’ve got closer to Toure for their first goal, but he was still limping at that point.
Lee Cattermole: 9
Some wonderful blocks, clearances and organisation meant Cattermole was on top form today. I’m not his biggest fan either but I thought he was excellent in all areas. He even tried some long-range passes that came off for him, and was thoroughly impressed with his performance all-round. Got substituted with about 15 minutes left, but was still very, very good.
Adam Johnson: 6
Didn’t blow me away, but showed some good trickery and opened up things on the counter-attack in the first half for Borini. Would have liked some more contribution against Kolarov on that side, but did well under the circumstances.
Ki Sung-Yeung: 8
An excellent return to form for the Korean helped us create a beautiful first-half balance between attack and defence. He was instrumental all game and worked tirelessly for us all over the pitch. Almost scored a wondergoal to make it two-nil in the second half.
Jack Colback: 9
Colback blew me away today, he had a brilliant first half, nullifying City’s fearsome attack down the right and getting forward when needed. His second half was good too, but he tired quite towards the end due to the effort he’d put in prior to this.
Fabio Borini: 8
Scored a brilliant goal that should’ve won us the cup, and I’ll be proud of him forever for that moment. Should’ve scored again later, but I don’t really care. He has more passion than Paolo Di Canio.
Craig Gardner: 5
Had no real effect on the game.
Steven Fletcher: 3
Emanuele Giaccherini: 5
Mislaid a few passes but got the ball forwards. Doesn’t have the pace we’d like, but did reasonably well.
Man of the match: Sunderland AFC:
I know that some players had better games than others, but the team ethic and the way we all handled ourselves made me proud to be a Sunderland supporter today, and, for that, they all deserve to be man of the match. We might have lost, but only to moments of individual brilliance, and on passion alone, we deserved to win. We’ll win the FA Cup instead though, so all is not lost.