With Year 8 otherwise occupied finishing off their selection boxes whilst playing on their i-pads, Pete Sixsmith has time to study the financial pages of The Guardian. Then, when he’s finished that he can study the latest in football statistics published in the sports section.
It’s amazing what a couple of wins can do.
Like the mystical pick me up with which Jeeves fed a hung-over Bertie Wooster after a particularly heavy night at The Drones Club, three wins out of four makes the day look brighter and leaves one longing for the next game.
I gather that some think that I have been too harsh recently. This may well be the case and I would be delighted to eat a massive helping of humble pie come May and a top 8 finish, with local rivals trailing many points and places behind. But it has been a dismal three months, with one win from August to November and good football as scarce as a love in between Ferguson and Pardew.
Isn’t that a wonderful spat? Pardew, hardly a gentleman, launches into Ferguson for voicing his red faced opinions at Mike Dean, forgetting his manhandling of a linesman in August and his attempted assault on MON in February.
On the other hand, Ferguson feels that he is perfectly entitled to launch a puce faced attack on a referee as he enters the field after half time. He didn’t swear, but having the spit flecked face of a ranting pensioner pushed in yours is hardly conducive to refereeing in a calm and civilised manner.
This morning’s Guardian published a selection of statistics from the season so far. Surprisingly, we don’t appear in that many. None of our players are in the top six scorers, passmakers accurate or otherwise, or chances created.
The team is nowhere to be seen in the best half dozen for shots, passes, goals or comebacks, where the Puce Faced one’s players have taken 24 points from games in which they have fallen behind.
Nor do we have a player in the top six of fouls committed which may make those critics of Cattermole sit up and take notice. The players who have the most fouls are Fellaini and Holt with 44 each.
We do have Simon Mignolet 3rd in the most saves category. He has made 66, one less than Wigan’s Ali al-Habsi and one more than Mark Schwarzer, while the clear leader is West Ham’s Jussi Jaaskelainen with 80.
The stats tell us that we do use the long ball a bit. 14.78% of our passes are knocked long, putting us in fifth place. West Ham are fourth (surprise, surprise), Reading are third, Stoke City are second (even bigger surprise, surprise) but the table toppers with 16.74% of their passes long balls up field are our near neighbours Newcastle United. Read into this what you will.
Tricky game for us on Saturday. Spurs can be unstoppable when they click, but they only do it intermittently. Hopefully, the discipline and concentration we showed on Boxing Day has been bottled and stored and we will take a huge drink of it pre match. I am looking forward to it.
Ha’way the Lads.
See also: Monsieur Salut talks all things Sunderland at ESPN FC:http://soccernet.espn.go.com/blog/_/name/sunderland?cc=5739