Sixer’s Sevens: SAFC 1 Arsenal 2 – not Mignolet’s finest hour

This is where Pete Sixsmith captures the glory and shame, hope and despair, excitement and ennui of the Sunderland matchday experience. When, rarely, Pete is absent or delayed, a supersub does it for him and the seven-word verdict is preceded by an asterisk. Pete’s full analysis of the game will usually appear within a day or two.


Everyone
is liable to have an occasional off day at work. Simon Mignolet had one today. His distribution throughout, whether from pass backs under no pressure or goal kicks was poor. He rarely seemed commanding in the six-yard area. And then he failed to make any meaningful attempt to save Ramsey’s equaliser, or the Arshavin cross – good but eminently defendable if only your keeper doesn’t remain motionless on his line – from which Thierry Henry bundled the ball over the line.

Arsenal had a great deal of possession, generally passed better and often menaced around the edge of the bix. They probably just about deserved the win. Sunderland fought gamely and had chances but with the only recognised striker, Campbell, playing out wide, there was simply no cutting edge. McClean took his goal with relish after Mertesacker fell over, hurting himself in the process, allowing a clear run on goal, but a tight angle for the shot. One other point: the referee Neil Swarbrick had a first-half stinker. Sunderland would not have got away at the Emirates with the equivalent of today’s penalty shout after Mertesacker clearly handled the ball, after another of his falls, and we would not have been given every borderline decision as Arsenal were.

Apologies: Martin O’Neill’s Musings may well be delayed.

The full Sixer’s Sevens archive – see link below – sums up what all Sunderland supporters feel, from darkest gloom to sublime elation, in the words of one who is usually there …

Feb 11 2012 SAFC (0) 1 Arsenal (0) 2 Played well but undone by goalkeeping errors

Feb 8 2012 FA Cup 4th round replay: Middlesbrough (0) 1 SAFC (1) 2 Quality came through in rousing cup tie

Feb 4 2012 Stoke City (0) 0 SAFC (0) 1 *McClean clincher makes winter seem less bleak or (Sixer’s delayed verdict) bêtes noires beaten in Artic type conditions

Feb 1 2012 SAFC (2) 3 Norwich City (0) 0 An absolute stroll as Canaries brushed aside

Jan 29 2012 FA Cup 4th Round: SAFC (0) 1 Middlesbrough (1) 1 Honours even in typically scrappy cup derby

Jan 21 2012 SAFC (1) 2 Swansea City (0) 0 Quality goals and a very disciplined performance

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To see Sixer’s Sevens in full, click here. If an asterisk precedes the comment, the words that follow are the work of someone else because Pete is for once absent from the game or his verdict has been delayed …

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12 thoughts on “Sixer’s Sevens: SAFC 1 Arsenal 2 – not Mignolet’s finest hour”

  1. No mention of Turner who made PVP look very ordinary on Saturday, he got to every ball before him and even when he drop deep Turner was there to break up play. The Sunderland defence was solid and Oxe-Chamberlain and Walcott didn’t feature. The comments on Mignolet seem very harsh and he was not to blame for either goal Sunderland were comfortable in defence and it was tiredness which had the final say. Next week will reveal wether or not we have got these appraisals right

  2. My comments, like Pete’s seven-word verdict, were written immediately after the game. I await with interest Pete’s considered view.

    Maybe I was harsh on Mignolet for goal one. I was just disappointed that his reaction seemed so late and ineffectual. For the winner, my view from the East stand was of a good cross that nevertheless seemed to float well within catching or punching reach before reaching Henry. I was astonished that he remained rooted to his spot.

  3. Mignolet was not at fault for the equaliser, it was impossible to save and could easliy have bounced out.The second could have been dealt with better,though we can never do a scientific test on that…its about opinions.

    But based on what I see Westwood is the better keeper.He deals with crosses far more confidently (how many times does Mignolet drop or fumble crosses?)and is just as good a shot stopper ,so he edges the choice for me.

    But I would say we were outdone by better quality finishing in the end,fresh legs, to our tired out ones made the difference.

  4. With keeper’s, I always ask a simple question.
    Of the goals conceded, how many were the leeper’s fault and how many saves have they made that you could not believe he had saved it (I would say 1 – at Man U).
    For Westwood, my opinion is that none have been his fault and (at Man U) he saved one he had no right to save. Therefore, I would put him a goal ahead of a good keeper playing well.
    For Mignolet, I would say that he has made some very good saves, but none that took my breath away and that he has conceded 3 that were his fault, albeit that 2 of those were before MON arrived. He is therefore 3 behind a good goalkeeper playing well and would be minus 4 but for Cattermole’s hand saving a second error against Newcastle.

  5. Mignolet is the best of the three and that’s why he is in there. The other two seem to improve considerably when they are not playing 🙂

    I agree with Robbo. Look at the stats since Mignolet came back in. How many clean sheets? He was wrong footed for Ramsay’s goal but has looked assured since he came back in. MON thinks he he’s better than the other two, even to the extent that he is playing with the mask.

  6. I agree that Gordon is the best of the 3, but the little I have seen of Westwood suggests that he is very close. I think that Mignolet is a good goalie and we are lucky to have him as a reserve but that is all he is at this level. It would have taken very good judgement to come yesterday but that is what you expect of a top keeper.
    The fact remains that Henry played the ball 4 feet off the ground in the middle of the 6 yard box. Had to be the keeper’s ball and, in my opinion that is the 3rd goal he has cost us this season, 2 of which were winners (Newcastle the other).
    Also, in the same circumstances, both Gordon and Westwood would have flung themselves across the goal in the hope that the ball would hit them (Westwood at Man U, Gordon home to Bolton last year, as examples). Mignolet just sort of flopped. Happy to have him as a reserve but please pick one of the others next week.

  7. When Gordon is fit he must surely be No 1. No doubt in my mind at all. Pay the extra money to Hearts and get him signed on a long contract. Can’t let a player of his calibre walk away on a free.

  8. I think your crticism of Mingolet is a bit unfair. Not sure that he could have reached Ramsey’s shot, which was not that cleanly hit and as such may have wrong footed the keeper. How often do we see scuffers leave goalies looking like a bit of a plonker. Also I am not that sure he should take too much of the blame for the winner. At what point could he have claimed the ball, without doing a Poom of course,and wiping out Henry? Penalty, another broken hooter and a three match ban. I think we were simply undone by some excellent skill by Arshavin. It happens, let’s move on.

  9. Maybe we’ll have better luck next SAturday. Arsenal will have had a mid week game and we will have rested. Let’s see what the outcome is then. I think Mignolet rarely has a bad game. In my view he just edges out Westwood by a feather. Although it is just a feather. As for Gordon, if they play him a few more matches, won’t they have to pay his former club some kind of bonus?

  10. If the result of this is that Westwood (or Gordon) plays from now then it may be a good lost point. Mignolet is a good reserve keeper. He was very brave to come back in the mask and deserves a lot of credit for that, but he is not as good as the other 2 and we need to play our best keeper. To allow someone to score from 2 yards out on a floated cross was really poor and has been coming as he looks weak on crosses all the time and is not as good a shot stopper as the other 2.

  11. Should have added: delayed around Sunderland so while all comments – within the usual reason – are welcome, there may be a delay in approving those from people who have not posted before. Sorry.

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