Malcolm Dawson writes……a return to a flat back four, a midfield three and two forwards in support of our new striker was an encouraging early sign on Saturday. That the boys looked to go forward more so. The formation actually gave the fullbacks space and for the first time in ages we looked to take the game to the opposition. Mind you Burnley are not Man City or Chelsea, even their own supporters will tell you that, but then neither are Fulham, Hull and Leeds. If we can believe the press talk Defoe might be rested for this game so it may well be that Gus starts with Fletcher and Graham. It may well be that he starts with Manonne, Jones, Giaccherini, Rodwell and Coates as well.
He may stick with the 4-3-3, revert to 3-5-1 or go back to the 4-1-4-1 shape that he employed before JD arrived. All that assuming there is no movement in or out of the club in the frantic dealings of the transfer window’s last day – Mavrias and Cabral excepted. The negative from Saturday was that as the game wore on we began to sit deeper and more passes went sideways and backwards than earlier in the day. That Burnley didn’t have the quality to break us down meant we still looked comfortable but I would think that even as a devotee of tika taka or tippy tappy, call it what you will, Gus and his staff must have seen we have more chance of winning by taking the game to the opposition rather than sitting back and waiting for the inevitable mistake.
What I’m trying to say is that anticipating what Senor Poyet will do may not be straightforward, but guessing the score is. With many of the Premier League’s front runners out of the competition and with what should be a winnable game at Bradford to come (although they can’t be taken lightly) the incentive to go out and win the game is there. So if you are optimistic go for a Sunderland victory but if you have been following the team for a long time you may wish to go for a draw or even worse. Fulham fans are welcome to enter and the design will be modified into one showing their team’s kit, courtesy of our sponsors Personalised Football Gifts.
If I understand M Salut’s precedent, should there be extra time it will be the score after 120 minutes that counts but if you feel it may go the full two hours, stick in your prediction for what you think it will be after 90 as well and he can sort it out! What I am sure of though is that penalties, should they be needed, will not be included.
Usual rules apply – the first and only the first person to come up with correct scoreline will be deemed the winner. Any first time posters whose comment is held for moderation will not be disadvantaged as the system logs their time of entry. M Salut’s decision is final of course.
No new WAY this time but in case you missed Russ Goldman’s contribution before the first game you can read it here.