Yes, we are underdogs for Sunday. No, we do not deserve to be treated as if incidental to the natural order. On paper, it’s an away win but on a big day for reputations to be reinforced, an outstanding Sunderland display could bring a result.
Pete Sixmsithreports …
So we approach the penultimate weekend of the Premier League season. There are two games left until the curtain closes on an interesting, if non vintage season.
Last year it was all about who goes down (Newcastle – hee, hee) while this year, according to the media the entire Premier League season will be decided at Anfield, where Chelsea need to win to go into the last weekend and a home game against Wigan to take their third PL Championship.
However, if Chelsea lose at Anfield, the title will go to United as they will obviously win their final two games against Premier League makeweights like Sunderland and Stoke City – that’s if the entire Stoke side haven’t had a mass fight in a field in the Potteries, watched over by bullet headed men with straining at the leash Staffys.
It also assumes that United will win comfortably at the Stadium on Sunday. In fact, I have not read or heard one pundit suggest that Sunderland have any chance of stopping the remorseless Red Tide from sweeping over Wearside and moving inexorably on to title no 19.
In fact some have even been disrespectful enough to suggest that Steve Bruce will suggest to his players that they take it easy against his old master and mentor and make it even easier for United to win. They take the title, United surpass Liverpool and The Brucester gets a bottle of wine or a share in a racehorse from his florid faced friend.
Except I don’t quite see it working that way. Look at the scenario: we have a full house for the first time this season, we are on TV with a good proportion of the civilised world (and some from Newcastle) looking on and we have players trying to cement their places in World Cup squads.
To assume that United are bound to win shows ignorance from London based hacks, arrogance from some United fans and a total lack of understanding of what clubs like Sunderland are in business for.
For Darren Bent, it’s probably his last chance to persuade Capello that he should be South Africa bound in June. For John Mensah, he needs to prove his fitness before Ghana depart for the Championships while Paulo da Silva has to get a few games under his belt.
Turner, Campbell and Henderson also have an opportunity to impress, while Meyler (called up by Trappattoni for an Irish training squad) will do his cause no harm with another sparkling performance.
I did a podcast (whatever that is) for Red Radio last night. They showed respect and clearly thought that Sunday was by no means a foregone conclusion. Here’s hoping we make the rest of the media sit up and take notice.