The dreadful run continues. Sunderland cannot finish off lowly teams – or even score against some of them – and can hardly count on doing fairly well, fairly consistently when confronted by the elite. Cana’s heroics have not been forgotten but he starts to look like a liability, the only question each game being how many minutes will elapse before he is shown a card. The first of our forlorn post-Villa reflections is, in part, a tale of two managers …
Steve Bruce, admittedly struggling with a squad hit by injuries and suspensions, plays his best available teams and gets a single point from two home games. Mick McCarthy gets slated for fielding reserves at Old Trafford (and yes, the travelling Wolves fans should be given £100 a head refunds for their wasted evening), but emerges with three points from two tough away games.
Is Sunderland’s season beginning to unravel? Privately I expected defeat by a two goal margin against Villa while hoping for the best. No disgrace there, then. But the squandered points against Pompey, the likelihood of another defeat on Saturday and a tricky Boxing Day visit from Everton are hardly designed to fill us with hope.
As the season started in bright enough fashion, we thought we might get back to those heady days under Peter Reid (before it all went wrong) when we were pretty much safe by Christmas.
Look at the run of recent Sixer’s Sevens and – with the exception
of one glorious win and two whinges about referees – it makes for gloomy reading.
Villa (0-2) Competed, but well beaten by superior opponents
Portsmouth (1-1) A horrible game that exposed our weaknesses
Fulham (0-1) Blustering fightback insufficient after wretched first half
Wigan (0-1) Complete failure to show last week’s qualities
Arsenal (1-0) A compelling, absorbing and absolutely wonderful win
Spurs (0-2) Ref’s inability to apply rules costs dear
West Ham (2-2) Fabulous fightback foils Hammers and rotten ref
Aston Villa (Carling: lost on pens)Two glorious chances spurned equals penalty misery
Birmingham (0-2) Not even beachballs would have helped today
And here’s a selection of points from the Blackcats list overnight:
* Well that was a bit like a blast from the past where you feel we are doing OK against superior opposition( not great but just OK – holding our own) & then you concede a woeful goal. Then you start to wonder where / how we are going to get that equaliser & you can’t really see coming from anywhere. Then you start the 2nd half with a bit of fight miss a good chance & then concede the killer blow with an exceptional goal – albeit from our throw in.
* Villa weren’t that much better but defended better and took their chances. Dunne was simply superb and City must rue the day they let him go. Nosworthy? He does things that just defy belief for a pro footballer. His concentration levels are awful. He cost us both goals against West Ham and nearly cost us again with his lack of concentration. He plays like a Sunday league player at times but can also have moments of pure brilliance Reckless play by Cana, good players shouldn’t be getting booked every single week. You don’t need to dive in every single time.
* I am starting to wonder if things can ever change for Sunderland. After the best possible start to the season we are falling back to the same old familiar ways. Lots of money spent on what were definitely promising newcomers, and generally considered to be a lot better than many preceding generations. The results if not the
performances are of the same old s**** standard. I have to say that when Bruce arrived it was a case of now or never as far as I could see. It doesn’t seem to matter who we sign, who the manager is we are always s**** or not much above it. It’s as inexplicable as it’s so sadly predictable.
* Agree with what’s been said, but for me we played with 10 men all game and then 9 when Cana was sent off. Richardson is worse than Spud at the minute! He did sod all all game and either slipped over, missed a tackle or smacked the ball out of play every time got it. The lad has gone backwards!
Nothing there that Bruce won’t be aware of. The last of those comments went on to note the “massive issue” of our midfield and a lack of directness from the front two, while acknowledging that several in the team actually played reasonably well last night.
But the writer concluded: “It’s gonna be a long hard slog, I think.”
Some of us, Steve, are getting too old for another of those.