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
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 …