Two good wins followed by a logical defeat at Anfield after we’d held out well for 75 minutes and even had two good chances to go ahead.
The positive way to look at our last three games is not to think in terms of two-steps-forward-one-back but to see each of them offering signs that we can break free of the bottom three.
It will be slow and extremely difficult, and there will be further setbacks, but it can be done.
Can Saturday’s visit of Leicester, who have laboured in the league after last season’s fairytale success, return us to winning ways? That’s where the “difficult” bit comes in.
Teams with something to prove tend to relish us as opponents. City have not become a bad side; witness their progress in the Champions League. Our Foxes “Who are You?” interviewee Tim Burke – coming tomorrow – insists the key men, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, are still playing quite well, though he admits the loss of Kante has been a real blow (see sample Q+A below).
And their last visit to the Stadium of Light saw an impressive 2-0 win that had our fans applauding them from the pitch even though it deepened our own relegation worries.
David Moyes undoubtedly needs a supreme effort from his players. Leicester are far better than either Bournemouth or Hull – but remember Bournemouth drew both games with them last season while Hull beat them 2-1 in this season;s opening game.
Take hope from that and have a go, once more, at guessing the score.
Our pals at Art of Football are still sponsoring the competition for the run-up to Christmas. Help us and help them by taking a look at their site – http://art-of-football.com/collections/sunderland – for any Christmas gift ideas or just to treat yourselves. The Sunderland range is excellent as you can see above.
And if you should win this week’s Guess the Score, you may choose one of the three prints you see: that wonderful Jermain Defoe winner at home to Newcastle, SuperKev or the giantkilling FA Cup victors of 1973.
Usual rules: be first with the correct scoreline before kickoff and have a UK delivery address wherever you live. Leicester fans are naturally welcome to enter and a winner from that source would be able to choose a print relating to his or her club.
Monsieur Salut’s decision, as always, shall be final.
The Liverpool competition was won, believe it or not, by Phil Davison, our Mackem exile in Mexico (he has a relative in Sunderland to whom the prize can be sent). If the name seems familiar, that is because he also won the Hull competition. If he’s after a hat-trick, he’d better predict a home win on Saturday.
Ha’way the Lads.
** Extract from the Leicester ‘Who are you?’:
Salut! Sunderland: I saw a headline the other day along the lines of ‘Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez unstoppable 12 months ago; stats show their title-winning connection is now failing’. Discuss!
Tim Burke: Well the difference is undeniable in statistical terms, though I don’t think either are playing that badly. Vardy is still a phenomenal athlete and his effort is undiminished. He’s lost a bit of confidence since his drought became a ‘thing’, but I don’t think there’s any fundamental problem there. Mahrez is scoring and assisting even if not at the extraordinary rate of last year. Considering his amazing season last year, I reckon he is undervalued by many Leicester fans who see him take the ball too far on occasions and a reluctance sometimes to pass – they take more notice of that than the extraordinary beauty of his running and ball skills.