I didn’t get to view the Leicester City game, however I was able to catch the Norwich game at the weekend. Norwich is making their way back in the Prem after a season in the Championship this past year. Sunderland was coming off their 4-2 defeat at Leicester in an effort where they were already down 3-0 before the end of 30 minutes. Head man Dick Advocaat named the following starting XI and subs:
Sunderland: Costel Pantilimon, Billy Jones, Younes Kaboul, Seb Coates, van Aanholt, Cattermole, Larsson, M’Vila, Defoe, Lens, Fletcher.
Subs: Mannone, Bridcutt, Rodwell, Matthews, O’Shea, Graham, Watmore.
The contest didn’t start too badly, but Sunderland didn’t look like they were ground shaking. Before 30 minutes they were down 1-0 thanks to a goal by Russell Martin who was the beneficiary of a lucky bounce off himself and Pants after Robbie Brady took a long shot.
Eight minutes before half they went down 2-0 and you could sense that it was going to be a game that we weren’t going to come back from. Nothing seemed right anywhere on the pitch for Sunderland no matter how hard they tried, it obviously wasn’t meant to be on the day. Although two minutes before the end youngster Duncan Watmore fired home a consolation for the home side that only meant Sunderland lost 3-1, Nathan Redmond scored in the 57th to put it way out of reach.
Some Sunderland fans were heard to sing “are you watching, Ellis Short?” I can only imagine based upon what I know of Ellis, he’s been watching since he took over the club. He was there over the summer when the club took the North American tour. He’s been there when the club was battling relegation. He’s been there fueling the club with whatever he can.
After the match, Twitter blew up with Black Cat fans asking for Ellis to sell or pony up more funds. Black Cat fans already believe that we are going down. Apparently no club has ever come back from losing the first two games of the season.
I’m not going to question Ellis Short’s commitment to Sunderland because he’s done nothing but support the club year in and year out. Ellis has made sweeping changes and made things better for the club. I believe he’s tried to put people in the right place and he’s done what he could for the club. He’s dished out more money for players and coaches. He doesn’t play on the field, he doesn’t coach the team, he doesn’t organize the team he just handles putting the people in places to do their jobs.
Some have questioned the players’ desire to play but I dispute that theory. I didn’t see anyone refusing to play. it’s an easy thing to run that theory out there as a way to excuse a loss. “oh the players didn’t want to try,” yeah sure. I’m sure they just got up this morning and said “well I don’t want to play cause this is my job and i’m going to half ass it.” I just don’t buy it.
I do believe that we are seeing some growing pains under Advocaat. van Aanhalt has struggled in his position at left back, Coates hasn’t commanded the central defensive back position like he should, Cattermole has been outworked in a majority of situations and Larsson can’t hit a free kick to save us.
We’ve relied on some new boys to help us find footing, Kaboul, Lens, M”vila and O’Shea and Brown have found their way out of the back. The sale of Wickham makes sure that the club is going to rely on Lens (who is finding his way in the Prem) and Fletcher and Defoe. Defoe spent half a season on Wearside and Fletcher struggled last season. We needed Danny Graham to help score the goals to keep us up, who knew that would be the case?
As for the rest, we’re getting run off the pitch and not controlling the pitch or the ball. Toronto did the same thing. We got lucky against Toronto to score the winning goals, but they controlled most of the play. Passes couldn’t be strung together, runs weren’t found, and corners couldn’t be defended. Hey it’s Toronto all over again. Robbie Brady’s shot came off a poorly defended corner. It’s gonna happen and it’s gonna keep happening. Something has to change with that. I got mocked for my observation of Pants and his agility but he made a marvelous save when he dove to his left.
I’m thinking it’s time to give Watmore a bit of a run out again, and it’s time to change the flow of the ball, it can’t keep going down the left. van Aanholt isn’t keeping it and he’s not able to find the pass so switch it up, keep him back, play some defense and move it through the middle. Use Catts more and M’vila to press forward to the strikers. Let’s rethink it and move forward.
I’ve had enough of the Short out and the players don’t care nonsense, and for the love, we’re not relegated already. Take a damn breath and stay calm.