We both knew our views would be controversial. And so it has proved. Some good, robust replies point legitimately to shortcomings in Moyes’s brief reign.
Fresh from much-praised exploits at the San Siro (despite a defeat) and in the draw at the Etihad, Southampton naturally fancy their chances against Sunderland in the EFL Cup 4th round on Wednesday. A hearty welcome to Aidan Small*, a budding sports journalist who owns www.freshsaints.com even if he does think we’re doomed to relegation without the consolation of further interest in the League Cup after the visit to St Mary’s …
Would you settle for a Sunderland defeat at Southampton on Wednesday, ending our interest in the EFL Cup, and a home win on Saturday? Me too, if your answer was yes.
Of course, wins in both games would be even better. But whereas beating the Saints would be nice enough, and stir dreams of a return to Wembley at the end of February, we are desperate for another kind of victory: the sort that brings three points and gives us hope that all may not after all be lost.
Around this time of every year, there are certainties we take for granted. The calendar will tell us it is October, trees shed leaves, shops advertise Christmas as if it’s only next week and Sunderland supporters still await a first win of the season.
We generally don’t draw too much comfort for we have actually won twice, because there is something distinctly hollow about beating lower league opposition in the League Cup when you can barely pick up a draw in the Premier League.
Malcolm Dawson writes…..Pete Sixsmith is slipping. His trip to the south coast last week meant he missed yesterday’s Under 23 …
Rob Hutchison is driving back and it will be a while before he reaches home. So he phoned his daughter and she passed on his one-word verdicts:
John McCormick writes: I’m frequently surprised by stats showing how little possession we have when we look untroubled for long periods. Today was another example. Saints pressed but rarely bothered our keeper and when they did he rose to the challenge on every occasion but one. Unfortunately that one time gave Southampton a point – I was going to say gifted a point but, in reality, our attack was poor and we didn’t threaten much ourselves.
Looking untroubled must mean our defence is improving, mustn’t it? I thought it not only looked solid in the centre but also coped with wide balls and tricky wingers, so I do think things are looking up.
But does David Moyes? The letter he sent to M Salut (and perhaps a couple of others) immediately after the game is a little short on optimism:
A point at Southampton is always a good return. But for the third time in four seasons – the odd one out leaving us a little humiliated – Sunderland lost out on an important win because they could not defend a lead. SAFC were the better side in the first half, recovered from a second half loss of dominance to take the lead through Jermain Defoe’s penalty but could not keep the Saints out for the remaining minutes … Pete Sixsmith will fill in into more detail about his trip down south in due course but this is his instant verdict ..
Alan Copps* is one of Monsieur Salut’s valued former colleagues and his fine writing – as opposed to M Salut’s basic reporting – graced the pages of The Daily Telegraph and later The Times. Late in his career, he moves significantly upmarket to offer various thoughts to the thinking man’s football site Salut! Sunderland ahead of Saturday’s game. Oh, and as I write, Salut! Sunderland is seven followers short of 2,000 at Twitter …
John McCormick writes: We make the long trip to Southampton aiming to put a stop to the poor start to the season. And what team will we have out to do it? Kone, do you think, alongside new signing Javier Manquillo? Or perhaps Borini returning to feed and support Defoe?