Fear to ecstasy, hung jury on Bendtner, shame on Citeh fans

It is the sports editor’s nightmare: you send your best reporter to a contender for match of the season.

It turns out to be an astonishing day packed with drama and emotion. You prepare to clear the front page for his lucid prose. And then he lamely cries off, citing “what looks like a serious computer problem”.

Has Pete Sixsmith never heard of pigeon post? Couldn’t he steal the neighbour’s laptop? Or send his Man City Soapbox in a series of text messages? Suarez’s eight-match ban for being obnoxious and racist and Wayne Rooney’s reported £200,000 fine for an unauthorised night out will look like slaps on the wrist by the time Salut! Sunderland‘s disciplinary panel has finished with Sixer.

But we’re determined to milk yesterday’s magnificent result for all it’s worth. So we turn to our friends at the Blackcats list, not overlooking early jitters as the makeshift team was announced. Despite the victory, Nicklaus Bendtner draws a lot of stick – but also a mix of praise and understanding. For the record, M Salut thought his second touch when put through by Sessegnon’s superb pass was very poor and cost us a goal, but also that on a number of occasions, when fed hopeful hoofed balls with his back to goal, his touch was intelligent and controlled.

Rob:

Mig in goal. Colback and gardner full backs. McClean on for rico. Westwood injured. Single figures will do me.

Andy:

This really is a hotch potch of a team with midfielders at full back. Could get rather messy.

Neil:

Brown off with a groin. In steps Kilgallon. Oh dear…

Andy:

Well f*** me, what an amazing result. Man of the match? Cattermole was absolutely immense. Followed imo by Colback, yes Colback and Kilgallon.

Scott:

Agree…..Cattermole was pure class and not sure we could fault anyone (with the exception of Bentdner who clearly couldn’t give a s***)! Brilliant!

Rob:

That’s the MoN factor for you!!!!!!!!!!!

Mike A:

F****** get in! Absolutely agreed; that was a Lee Cattermole game but he saw off De Jong and was easily man of the match. Colback gave the kind of performance at left back that we’ve *never* seen from Richardson (though circumstances arguably dictated) and even Kilgallon was sharp. Mention to Miggy too… he didn’t have much to do but did what he had too, despite being dressed as Batman. Marvellous stuff… I was shouting so much at the end that I doubt I’ll see either of our cats for at least a week!

Mike D:

Particularly agree about Bentdner who was rubbish.

We did ride our luck a bit, but we worked really hard for the result and could have scored 3 goals.

… we got the rub of the green that we didn’t get against Everton. Ji looked about a yard offside to me.

City looked a bit short of guile to break down a superbly disciplined midfield and defence. Even if we’d lost, I’d definitely rate the performance as signs of genuine improvement under MoN. I also noticed he’s improved discipline; the card count has really come down.

Mark:

Cattermole was awesome but it was Sessegnon for me even though the goal was offside his play made it. We’d be lost without Sess. Cattermole is a new and much better player, though, under O’Neill. And Ji took the goal really well … Yes, Bendtner should be shot for not scoring in the first 2 mins from a Sessegnon pass.

Mark II:

What a pick-me-up. Fantastic result. Won the game without a striker as bendtner is a f****** joke. Does he have any redeeming qualities? Lazy. Can’t hold it up. Can’t finish. Offered nowt. But the other 10 plus jong were magnificent. Cattermole was immense.


Mark III:

What a great finish – i’ve not celebrated a goal as much as that for a long while… I’ve decided that New Year’s resolutions don’t start till tomorrow – gonna celebrate hard tonight!

Mark II:

Totally agree about sess. He’s our main man. If he could finish he’d be worth 30m. Still think the likes of spurs and arsenal will be sniffing about soon.

Terry:

MON’s post match interview was a joy to listen to. Very calm, very measured and very funny.

With Peter Reid deep in his Sunderland nostalgia mode and Sir Niall at his ambassadorial best, it was a good day on Sky TV.

David:

I had Cattermole as MOM. Fantastic. Pressing, tackling, twisting, turning, short passes, long passes to the wings. Really excellent. Sessegnon, Colback also brilliant. I thought Bendtner had a good game, though, except for his early miss which he should have done much better with. I think he holds the ball up really well and is usually intelligent with it. He isn’t a goal scorer, though, and makes a few mistakes that make him look an idiot.

Mark IV:

Took Edith today – first game at 7 months. I’m going to get her a season ticket after that. One of the best defensive performances I’ve ever seen but the best thing was how the crowd really connected with the team. The celebrations at the end were so passionate. Bendtner was total c***.

Ian P:

Dave – I’m not sure whether you’ve had too much to drink last night & haven’t yet recovered or you’re just being sarcastic! Bendtner was absolutely shocking, he just doesn’t hold up the ball, and it’s bouncing all over the place while he tries to bring it under control. He’s always behind the play, looks like he can’t be bothered to run at times, wins nothing in the air, I don’t think he had a shot on target all afternoon. No, he doesn’t make a few mistakes, he does little more than make mistakes – and he’s an idiot!

Gordon:

The atmosphere before the game was pretty relaxed, really, everybody resigned to the defeat and more bothered about the Wigan match but I just kept thinking that this was the only game being shown around the world, the whole world was going to be watching this raggle taggle bunch of misfits and I was just praying we didn’t get humiliated. I feel so proud to be a Sunderland supporter tonight, the messages are already coming in from all over the planet. Marvellous.

I’m really surprised at the criticism of Bendtner’s performance today, apart from that early miss and a couple of occasions where he ran away rather than challenge for it, but I was relieved when David posted his views which agreed with my own. May not have looked much on the telly but he really put in a shift and always gave us an option when the ball needed clearing. I’m not a fan of his at all but when he went
off we really slumped, Ji never got into the game, brought us absolutely nowt by comparison, until …… Sadly the Asian contingent at the back of the press area weren’t there today, probably given up hope of him getting a decent runout, but he won’t half be a hero among all those Korean Man Utd supporters tonight. Can’t wait to see the goal on Football First.

… Must mention the Citeh fans who were absolutely pathetic, probably the worst I’ve seen, never got behind the team at all, couple of little “Come on, Citeh” chants and that was it. It was like they were just waiting for the inevitable goal so they could do their daft Poznan thing. Totally different to United’s away support. Even worse, when I wished them luck in the Europa League after the match, and suggested that the owner’s money may not actually have been very well spent, they became quite unpleasant. Never laughed so much for ages.

Ian L:

I thought Niklaus did ok. He has to dominate central defenders for you lot to give him any credit, when he merely gets his fair share against the league leaders and misses an early chance he gets slated. Smacks of needing someone to slag off. I though Gardner and Sessegnon were excellent, but in my book everyone contributed and I loved it that we won because they couldn’t be arsed to run back and defend. Brilliant start to 2012.

Andy:

Turns out Larsson had the same bug that had struck down Westwood and Richardson and had spent all of yesterday in bed and, according to O’Neill, wasn’t expected to last much beyond 20 minutes. Watch him nearly collapse in the centre circle after passing to McLean at the start of our goalscoring move. Respect.

Also, the Man in the Mask definitely deserves plaudits – looks very much like he’s got no nose left thanks to Elbows Heskey.

Rob:

I thought NB was Ok today. Thankless task as most of the time he didn’t have a Sunderland player within 30 yards of him. He chased and tried to close down as best he could, was OK when he had the ball and did his best to bring other players into the game.

He has shown improvement since MoN arrived, but doubt he will stay longer than the summer.

Ian P:

Well I’ve just watched the game again & I still think NB was crap!

Whilst the credit must go for the overall team display, I thought Catts was superb. I think I’ve been a lone voice for many months now saying that I thought there was a good player in there somewhere. He doesn’t even look like getting booked nowadays!… Up until his injury, I had Brown down as our best performer. Hopefully it’s not too serious, but I can’t see him making Wigan. O’Shea probably had his best game yet for us as well. Larsson’s work rate was immense, possibly even more than Catts. Halfway through the season, I’ve got him as my PotY, which I guess will differ from the majority, who I think will vote for Sess. I think there’s only myself & Mick G still unconvinced by Sess. Yes, he’s got some great skills, but will never be a goalscorer, and is too lightweight. Unfortunately, he’s a bit of a diver as well … McClean had a decent starting debut. Wingers invariably are a bit of an enigma, particularly when it comes down to workrate & tackling back in their own half. Again, McClean works his socks off in that respect, he’s still got some way to go, but he seems determined to make the most of his opportunity.

I think what everyone seems to be missing about today’s result though, is that we played to a game plan & stuck to it. Even the substitutions & their timing worked today. This has to be down to MON & his coaching staff.

Andy:

Hmm, that’ll be Stephane “No End Product” Sessegnon. No end product, apart from an assist for Ji’s goal today, an assist for Colback’s goal on Boxing Day, a brilliant goal against QPR and an assist for Richardson’s goal at Molineux since O’Neill arrived on the scene. Three goals (joint second) and he leads us in assists. Yep, pretty unconvincing.

Truth is, Sessegnon does have his faults but if he didn’t he wouldn’t be playing for us. I’ll gladly take his eccentricities.

Ian H:

Watched the match in a bar in Philidelphia – no other Sunderland support & just a sprinkling of Citeh support. The locals seemed a bit bemused by my & two daughters’ reaction when we scored. Very friendly people these Americans – wanting to congratulate us on our unexpected victory.
What a team performance – disciplined & under the circumstances reasonably efficient when we got possession of the ball. There was the fear that we were defending too deep ( inevitable in the circumstances ) in the last 20 minutes. Under pressure we all know it’s crucial to get hold of the ball & to be fair to Bendtner we made his job very difficult at times lumping it forward. A lot of the time he is trying to head the ball to himself as he has little support when are are defending with numbers behind the ball. I am not a fan of his but let’s be fair doing doggies all day for the benefit of your team is vary rarely appreciated by a lot of supporters. In hindsight I am glad he muffed his opportunity – way too early to score against teams of Citeh’s quality.

Jeremy:

Magnificenmt performance. For me Cattermole and Kilgallon (hats off to him having not played a PL game since May 2010). Surprised that nobody has mentioned Gardner who had a blinder too.

Bendtner; He is a disgrace to professional football and I am sure will be sent packing in the Jan window. Lazy, arrogant poser. He is f****** useless.

I was berating Ji for crossing the ball which ultimately led to the goal. I was wanting him to head to the corner flag with it. Great work with Sess who for me is great even when he’s below par. What a result. I was confident that we wouldn’t lose today before the game but that confidence went as far as a draw only. Fantastic! 2012 could be a great year. MON has released the power.

ps Actually forgot to mention that I was shouting the same thing at Ji when he got possession. I was almost beside meself during stoppage time! We of little faith eh?

Ian L:

I picked out Gardner but you probably stopped reading my post at “Niklaus” and never made it that far.

Rob:

Ji took his goal incredibly well .. his close control was just sublime.

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21 thoughts on “Fear to ecstasy, hung jury on Bendtner, shame on Citeh fans”

  1. I just can’t understand critiscising any of the players from Sunday . We beat what is the best (by a country mile )team in the land , and restricted them to very few chances . Every player on that pitch gave his all – there were some enormous performances .
    I realise with Bruce no longer with us someone has to take the stick from the usual moaners , but come on – enjoy the victory – keep the moaning for when we get beaten by the poor teams , and don’t show the commitment we showed on NYD

  2. Yes, I would see Wickham in above Bendtner now actually. If Campbell comes back firing on all cylinders then we may not need a January signing. But thats a gamble on Campbell. I think Campbell will have to rediscover himself which may take a while?
    I am still not sure about Sess being played as a striker though. I think he’s perhaps our most dangerous and skilled player, but I would see him on the left wing, but not stuck out wide, but being given license to roam especially inside.

  3. Ian – I too doubt that either Gy£n or Bendtner will be with us next season. We need someone more effective and perhaps MON has his eyes on someone already. The point I am trying to make is that we were left in the lurch when Gy£n went and Bendtner was Hobson’s choice. I don’t think he has weakened the team particularly as an alternative to Gy£n. It would seem that Whickham when fit, is above him in the pecking order anyway.

  4. Malcolm, I’d rather have Gyan simply because he’s much more able to convert chances. But, lets face it, he’s not coming back.
    I’d be looking at Cisse or Pav from Spurs in the window.
    Freiburg have put a huge price tag on Cisse, so I expect Pav will be more of a bargain. Even at 30 yrs old, we can get a couple of good years out of him I think.
    Levy at Spurs will no doubt drive a hard bargain on him though.
    I don’t expect Bendtner to be staying past the season’s end, unless he starts to convert chances.

  5. Looks like I’m the only person on here who thinks that NB works harder than AG did at the beginning of this season. I’d agree with you all that when he first arrived he was the better player but on this season’s evidence the Dane shades it for me.

    Let the thumbs down rack up! 🙂

  6. Malcolm – likely to be neither but Gyan is far more talented than Bentdner could ever hope to be; Be intriguing to see what he could do working under O’Neill.

  7. When I described Bendtner as “an ox” prior to his arrival, Hilary, I was virtually ridiculed as being far too negative about him. I had no real expectations that he would be any good, but he has proven to be worse than imagined.

    You look at his record and history and it’s there for all to see. If he couldn’t make his mark in a team that is struggling up front (apart from the amazingly talented and prolific Van Persie), then he really doesn’t have a lot to offer. The likes of Arshavin, Chamakh, can’t get past the bench (and are likely to be sold soon), and Walcott I believe has only one league goal this calendar year and is bereft of any confidence.

    I don’t know if Sunderland fans only see other sides play against us, but my appraisal on Bendtner was based on watching him do the same at Arsenal as he has done for us; and which is very little. I have the benefit of living in Canada where there is considerably more coverage of the PL then there is in England. Today for example, it’s possible to see all of the PL games in full.When we signed him I was moaning to a Gunners fan here and he said the same. “An ox; that’s exactly what he is.”

    I certainly don’t admire his character either, and that doesn’t help.

    • I would have agreed with you Jeremy. I think I said in a comment at the time , “1 goal in 4 starts” (as his stats were) simply not going to do it for us. And I also wrote that I would have been more than happy to be proved wrong.
      But, you never know, MON can get the best out players and Bendtner might rediscover himself?

  8. Let Gyan go. I doubt if he’d fit into an O’Neill team, anyway. I had high(ish) hopes for Bendtner when he came to the SoL but they’ve largely been dashed. I wonder if O’Neill can possibly turn him around and get him engaged. I’m beginning to doubt it. I thought his recent confession might have been good for his soul but the benefits certainly haven’t been lasting.

  9. Ox is about right, Jeremy. There is something lumbering about him and a kind of insolence of manner. He doesnt inspire confidence, nor deliver the goods.

    Gyan is a very talented player, but we didnt see the best of him and I doubt that he will be back. I suspect the lights of Sunderland weren’t bright enough for him. However, I never quite believed that money was the only motivation in his leaving. I am sure he could see that under Bruce we were going no where.

  10. Bendtner or Gyan? Interesting scenario. Gyan is more of a threat than Bendtner will ever be, but he can’t probably can’t come back. Too much water has gone under the bridge for him. On footballing ability; no contest it has to be Gyan. Bendtner is lazy and distinterested and doesn’t score anywhere near enough goals.

    I’d prefer anyone that has played up front to Bendtner though, including Ji, Wickham, Campbell, and of course Jones and Bent.

    I don’t rate Bendtner and said so when we got brought him in. He’s an ox.

    • I have a little interview not with but about Gyan for tomorrow and have noticed he’s a) injured (hamstring) and b) gagging to be fit – but for Afcon, which starts on Jan 21. He’s not coming anywhere near us in the near future and I doubt we’ll see him again.

  11. I’m not convinced by Bendter either but let me pose a question and start a little opinion poll. Who would you rather have him or Gy£n?

  12. I agree completely Ian. Gardner had a magnificent game, as did Colback who as you say was helped enormously by the efforts of McClean who contributed enormously doing some fairly unglamorous work for the team and wasn’t in his normal role further up the field.

    We will surely get a striker (if not two) in the window. Ji hasn’t had a lot of playing time in the last few weeks and until he scored didn’t look as if he could get involved in the game. It’s difficult for a forward coming on in those circumstances where the backs are to the wall permanently. He does get efforts on target and can find the net. Bendtner has 1 goal in 9 and Ji has a brace coming off the bench late on. These are the same players that were stinking the place out under Bruce.

    As for those who were rumoured to be unsettled during the Bruce reign (ie Sessegnon and Gardner), it will be interesting to see if playing under a far more effective manager and in a winning team quells any burning desire to move.

  13. Yeah, Ji is only 20 yrs old and he will develop. He looks a bit timid to me, but the prem is a rough tough league. He’ll grow into it. He’s scored v Chelsea and Man City so, the potential is there I feel.
    As for Bendtner, I like his touches but you’re judged on goals as a striker not elegant play. Thats the cold hard fact.
    Thought MON was tactically brilliant with a hotch-potch team. He brought Mcclean back deeper to nullify Johnson.
    Thought Gardner was inspired too at right back.
    We still desperately need a striker this month though.

  14. I should qualify my comments on Bendtner. He can hold up the ball effectively at times. His problem for me is that he lacks the discipline and nous to do this consistently. He wants to hold on to it when he shouldn’t and as the game wore on, his interest was clearly waning. There are times when the ball pings up into the air as if he had Christmas edition Toblerones on top of his boots.

    Hilary, your comment about his attitude grating is bang on the money. His languid style and laziness is what gives me the hump too. I was not impressed wit Ji at all until he scored the goal. He didn’t seem to know what he was doing and was standing off the City players, and showing too much respect. At one time I was thinking about one contributor to the blackcats list said about him after a recent game, when he likened him to “an asthmatic pigeon.” When he scored though he turned into a vulture (El Butre).

  15. Who compared Bendtner favourably to Ji (who apparently gave us ‘nowt’)? Until he scored, presumably, by taking it round the keeper, unlike Bendtner who ran into the keeper. Bendtner constantly runs the wrong side of the defender, shirks challenges, loses control of the ball and whinges at his teammates when the pass is less then perfect. For me he is the antithesis of a team playing centre-forward, and if he isn’t a regular goal-scorer either, what is he?

  16. Great quote from Henry Winter today in his post match review . . . . . After Ji’s goal, Martin O’Neill was leaping around like “Tigger on too much caffeine” Terrific description

    • Agree with Jeremy on Bendtner, although there were moments when he was useful. However, there is something about his attitude that grates. He seems to lack concentration at times. He isn’t a team player and I suspect he will chafe under the new stricter managerial regime. Whereas Cattermole, who I had long thought of as out of his depth in the Premiership, is obviously responding to the discipline and focus that MoN has brought, and played a blinder. More than anything we were a cohesive team, playing with passion-couldnt ask for more than that.

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