Tag Archives: Sunderland

This is the year Sunderland don’t make the great escape happen

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A one proud career has slowly drifted down the drain for David Moyes. Source: Sky Sports

“Sunderland are in trouble” is a statement that seems to come around every single Premier League season. They start a season with optimism that fades rapidly, then for a manager to get sacked only for another man to come in and save them before the cycle repeats again.

However, this season is when they break that cycle. This year, the Black Cats have run out of lives.

10 games in, Sunderland have just two points, a new Premier League record. They have scored seven goals, the worst in the division, and have conceded 20, the second-worst record in the division.

Those plain statistics are bad enough but when you take a magnifying glass into why they have been so poor in every category and you start seeing what looks like the end of the Stadium of Light in the top flight.

Let’s start with the points total, with draws coming against Southampton and West Bromwich Albion. The first, against a notoriously slow side with a new manager, could have been a home win if they held out but an 85th minute goal from Jay Rodriguez put a pin in that idea.

In the West Brom game, they fought back to get a point in the final minute. In two games against big sides, Manchester City and Arsenal, they managed to pull back level after starting slowly but simply don’t have the quality to deny them for an entire game.

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Rodwell must be sick of starting, Kone was ripped apart by Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football. Source: mancity.com

A lot of the others were simple wins for the opposition but the Crystal Palace defeat was the toughest pill to swallow. They went 2-0 up and in full control, only for the defence to buckle almost immediately and with a lack of commanding leadership at the back, they lost 3-2.

The attack has been abysmal and would have been even worse without Jermaine Defoe. The former England international has five of those seven goals, Patrick van Aanholt has the other two, which really highlights the real lack of quality coming from their midfield.

Add to that, the club have only had two assists all season, one from Duncan Watmore and one from Jack Rodwell. While the latter will be lampooned for not being part of a winning starting line-up in 33 games, which is an astonishing statistic, it should be the other creative flair players that should take the real flack.

Former Moyes favourite Steven Pienaar looks past his best, while both Wahbi Khazri and Adnan Januzaj are luxury players that a club like this can ill-afford to carry. None are particularly defensive-minded, none have contributed in the way they should have and Moyes playing at least two of them each game along with Watmore shows a real disregard for their current plight.

Mix in a dash of Jan Kirchoff not continuing to impress and Didier Ndong slowly adapting to the Premier League and you have an awful mix. It’s haphazard, Moyes is constantly shifting players in and out, praying he can find a combination that will work.

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Adnan Januzaj was a luxury loan signing that Sunderland can ill-afford to pull through a season. Source: The Telegraph

Finally, their defence, who have looked as bamboozled as ever. Lamine Kone looks like he’s still pouting from not getting a move away, John O’Shea is a leader but not much else anymore and Papy Djilibodji trying to do something of note.

It’s a shame that Younes Kaboul is out but combined with modern attack-minded full backs and it’s easy to see why they concede so often. It’s soft in the centre, where big strikers have really flourished and the quick players are causing havoc to their lack of pace in the middle.

In all honesty, it’s been a surprise that Sunderland have got this far. It might have been a little different if Sam Allardyce was still at the helm but at the same time, it’s clear that this team needs a lot more than him to get them going.

Their chopping, swapping and praying has finally caught up with them. They will try to begin the cycle again come December but when the new man fails to lift them out of the mire, the fans will finally come to terms that the bell tolls for them this season.

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Adebayor signing personifies 2016 January window

Adebayor was a symptom of the window, he was simply the easiest person to do business this January.  Source: Sky Sports

Adebayor was a symptom of the window, he was simply the easiest person to do business this January. Source: Sky Sports

Last night, Crystal Palace announced the signing of former Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor until the end of the season. The move raised a few eyebrows, the Togolese international known for his fleeting successes and tendency to peter out, but this deal is the epitome of the winter window this season.

No one wants to play ball.

It’s highlighted by some of the moves this summer, with some only really coming to fruition because they had to. Charlie Austin joined Southampton for £4m because he had just six months to run on his contract QPR, the same reason Leeds United allowed Sam Byram to join West Ham United.

With so much pressure on teams to stay in the division, they are trying their best to find deals but finding anyone domestically has been a real drag.

Austin was a great signing but forced by his contract situation.  Source: The Express

Austin was a great signing but forced by his contract situation. Source: The Express

Players like Loic Remy, desperate to play some first-team football ahead of Euro 2016 has been forced to stay at Chelsea. That may change for him now it looks like Alexandre Pato is joining the club on loan, but that leaves clubs just a few days to fight for his signature.

Clubs like Sunderland and Aston Villa are wandering aimlessly in their search for reinforcements but can’t find what they need. Other teams won’t sell them the quality they need as most still need it themselves, anyone who they can get then either is hesitent about joining a relegation side on a permanent basis or simply not a step-up to what they’ve already got.

Even those surplus to requirements have simply been bumped up in price. Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend have both joined Newcastle United and while they do have quality, they were deemed as not needed by other clubs yet still cost £12m each.

Those astronomical prices and the unwillingness to sell has teams looking abroad, where they can be more likely to allow players to leave. But even then, some drive a hard bargain and the likelyhood that any should meet the expectation to make an immediate impact for those clubs in need is a little farfetched to say the least.

Shelvey was a solid signing, but £12m still seems a lpt.  Source: The Guardian

Shelvey was a solid signing, but £12m still seems a lpt. Source: The Guardian

All that leads to why the Adebayor deal makes sense. He’s a free agent, you don’t need to negotiate with any club and the only thing that stalled a deal was to get Spurs to pay a percentage of what they still owe him to see it through.

Seeing as the Palace strikeforce has scored just once all season, it shouldn’t be too hard for him to be at least a minor success. He’ll be gone at the end of the season, unless he really impresses and brings his wage demands down, and Alan Pardew will look to reinforce with a better option in the much less restrictive summer window.

There have been calls in the past to end this window because of what it can do to smaller clubs. What has been evident this time around is that it’s affected everyone, dominoes have failed to fall and therefore clubs have been stuck in a rut with nowhere to go.

Again, especially in the Premier League, this may change when the new money comes in next year and teams just spend willy-nilly. However, should this happen again next season, it could actually be the beginning of the end for the January winter window.

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