It’s often said that being a Sunderland supporter is never dull. Just when we might have thought we were heading for a straightforward, mid-table finish, we have the low of Newcastle followed by the high of Chelsea. Luke Harvey reflects on an amazing fortnight, and applauds our players’ resilience in bouncing back.
I could write reams and reams on my emotions and thoughts after the amazing destruction of league leaders Chelsea. None would truly convey all my feelings and none would be as good as Sixer’s succinct seven word round up, but the victory over Chelsea is easily as amazing as the Newcastle result was terrible.
The focus and commitment from the team was second to none. From beginning to end we looked in control of the situation, and even with a slender 1-0 lead Chelsea never looked like mounting a serious comeback – although I didn’t rule out the possibility until Welbeck made it three.
As already said elsewhere on this site: we were magnificent from front to back – and all without our talisman Darren Bent, proving we weren’t just a one-man team. With results since the Newcastle debacle looking very promising, it seems like Gyan and Welbeck have quickly formed an understanding up front – although surely Bent’s place in the team won’t be in jeopardy when fit.
While the £13m Ghanaian may be taking most of the plaudits up front – although I’m unsure where I stand on his dancing skills (I won’t complain to seeing them a few more times this season) – the rest of the team are deserving of equal praise.
Phil Bardsley, hardly at the forefront of your mind when you think of defenders excelling this season, has stood out as a trouper as far as I’m concerned. Even against Newcastle, the first twenty minutes he put himself about like nobody’s business and even against a star-studded Chelsea squad remained solid.
Two wins and a draw, regardless of the opposition, doesn’t clear all the Sunderland names from the nightmare at Newcastle, but it does go some way to gaining back our pride. Make no mistake, a 3-0 away victory against Chelsea is great – amazing in fact – but losing 5-1 to our biggest rivals is a wrong that will take a lot to right.
Fortunately the team has bounced back brilliantly. With wins over Manchester City and Chelsea, and draws with Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool nobody can argue that we don’t deserve to be in the rather lofty position of sixth.
The chances of us ending the season there are rather slim. We’ve been tested against the biggest opponents in the league but it’s our form against the rest of the teams – the Evertons and the Fulhams of the league that will tell us more about our likely finishing position.