Sunderland quickly returned from the high of beating Newcastle in the derby after they suffered a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Crystal Palace during the weekend.
As a result, the club still remain with fears of relegation. They will be hoping to pick up some points away from home when they take on Stoke City after a 12 day gap. This is an extended gap that could help Sunderland prepare well for the match, but manager Dick Advocaat has already come up with a list of excuses. He thinks that his Sunderland team will not be able to compete with the physicality offered by Stoke.
Since Stoke play a similar brand of football like Crystal Palace, it appears thatAdvocaat does not seem confident of three points. The team are indeed on a very poor run of form away from the Stadium of Light. Their last victory away from home came back in December when they managed to beat Newcastle. QPR and Burnley have been playing extremely well while Leicester City have also closed the gap to safety. Sunderland are only three points ahead of the drop zone and the threat of relegation still looms large. The club still has difficult away matches against Arsenal and Chelsea.
“We are not a real physical team.If you compare us with the other teams, that’s a big difference.In the Premier League, you need physical players as well.We have to think about that for the game with Stoke City.We have a different type of players, who are more combination players, than with more pace.We have to find a combination to create chances and win games. They also know they played badly in the second half against Crystal Palace. The way we gave the goals away was very poor,” said Advocaat.
Sunderland’s Gus Poyet is under intense pressure after being knocked out of the FA Cup as his team lost against Bradford City with a final scoreboard that displayed 2-0.
Things aren’t going any better for them in the Premier League due to their lack of securing victories on a consistent basis.
With around 4 months left in the Premier League, clubs and managers are attempting to end this season on a high note by sealing important victories and points in the final stages of the league.
The upcoming matches will be especially crucial for Gus Poyet and his squad as they are located on the bottom spots of the Premier League and a single victory could be the difference between being relegated and surviving for another season in the top tier English League.
Despite all of this pressure that has been building up around Sunderland and Poyet, the Uruguayan manager stated that he is used to these kinds of situations and he has affection towards being pressured.
“I like pressure because it’s the way I have been brought up. When you are in Uruguay and you play football for the national team the pressure is there to win. I have never played football or managed without pressure. I suppose it would be nice but maybe I would not be myself after because I don’t have pressure. It is part of the game. I like it, I really like it.” Sunderland’s Gus Poyet said.
It looks like the squad or at least certain players of the squad of Gus Poyet are confident that Sunderland will be able to avoid the bottom drop zone as the English midfielder Lee Cattermole believes that his team has been really consistent throughout this season and they are aiming to finish the English League in a strong way.’’
“I think if you look at the season, we haven’t gone on any eight or nine game runs without a point or without a win. We’ve been really consistent throughout the year. After our wins, we’ve not really followed it up too well. But we’ve got to look to finish the season strong.” Lee Cattermole said as he voiced his confidence in the survival of Sunderland in the Premier League.
These are very optimistic statements from the coach and the player of Sunderland, especially taking into consideration that they have only managed on securing 2 points from their last 4 Premier League matches.
Sunderland claimed a surprising point at the Etihad stadium last season and it proved to be very crucial in the club staying in the Premier League.
In fact, they have had a very good record against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City both at home and away from the Stadium of Light.
Manager Gus Poyet is looking to continue this record going forward when his team visit the Etihad stadium on New Year’s Day.Poyet must have gone through a turbulent 2014 but he is looking forward to a positive 2015. He says that there is no reason why Sunderland cannot look forward to getting more than just a point against the champions.
Manchester City recently dropped the two points against Burnley at home, which came as a major shock given that they were leading 2-0 going into halftime. City have had some surprising results like these in the past andPoyet reckons that the game is not over until the referee blows the final whistle. A number of former City players like Adam Johnson and Jack Rodwell could feature on January 1.
City continue to be without star striker Sergio Aguero, butPoyet says that the club have quality throughout the pitch and the absence of the Argentine should not hurt them much.
“City have quality everywhere but it’s easier to play them without Aguero.He was different class when we played them here and we could not cope with him.But we know what we did wrong that night and why we lost. We need to perform much better.What happened at City was the beginning of the miracle.There were mixed emotions after the game because the feeling was we’d lost a big chance,” said Poyet, who also revealed that former goalkeeper Oscar Ustari played a huge role in the draw with City last season.
There have been a number of managerial changes in the Premier League club, Sunderland in the last few years.
Steve Bruce, Martin O’Neill, Paolo Di Canio and Gus Poyet are all of the managers or head coaches that have taken charge of the squad of Sunderland since March of 2013.
Each one of these managers have arrived to the Stadium of Light with different methods and philosophies but one thing that some of them have in common is in their plan of changing the squad and attempting to increase the quality of the team by signing a large amount of players.
Paolo Di Canio signed 14 new players in the summer of 2013 meanwhile Gus Poyet brought forward 10 players. According to the current coach of Sunderland, Poyet stated that this cannot continue going on and it needs to stop.
Gus Poyet told the media: “It looks like unfortunately in the last two years we’ve always been starting again with another seven, eight or nine players, then another eight, nine or ten players. There’s got to be a moment where you need to add that certain player who’s going to make a difference. A player who is so important that you are going to become a good team for sure.Maybe not at the level of CescFabregas and Diego Costa, but you get the idea’’
“If you see all the teams at the bottom, with the exception of one that is having a bad year, it’s every year that they’re bringing in another nine, another eight players. It’s impossible. It’s a contradiction really. We’re asking for time because we’re bringing in players, and then the next year you bring another nine or 10. So how many do you need? Twenty-five?
Poyet will try to emphasize more on the quality of players instead of simply bringing in a number of players that still have not proved themselves at a big club which is something that the previous managers of Sunderland were doing but Poyet believes that a different method is needed in order to improve the squad.
Sunderland slipped closer to the bottom of the table after a 2-0 defeat against Arsenal during the weekend. Even though the score looks much better than the 8-0 thrashing that they suffered last week at the hands of Southampton, it still is no better when it comes to getting them out of relegation trouble. The pressure on manager Gus Poyet, who managed an incredible escape from relegation last season, is continuing to rise. The Uruguayan has indirectly pleaded for patience from the club. He says that the club cannot afford to rebuild every summer and he says that the players should improve a lot.
Unlike against Southampton, individual errors were responsible for the defeat against Arsenal. Wes Brown and Vito Mannone were responsible for the poor costly errors that led to Arsenal goals from summer signing Alexis Sanchez. Apart from it, they are resilient in defence and also showed a few good moments in attack. The result, though, stands out from the rest of the crowd, as Sunderland slipped into the bottom three because of other results going against them. Even though they are just one point away from safety, it does not look Sunderland are capable of getting three points from their next few matches in this kind of form.
“I’ll tell you one instance that you probably don’t know: eight players from the Arsenal starting line-up last year are here, they are in Arsenal’s squad; seven players from Sunderland’s starting XI last year here are not even at Sunderland. We don’t want to start next year again from zero and have another seven players in the starting XI. They are just mistakes that happen in football and, unfortunately, it’s going a little bit against us at the moment,” said Poyet about his squad while also defending his signings like Mannone.
Tottenham opened their Europa League campaign with a 0-0 draw against Partizan Belgrade. Even though the match witnessed a lot of high tension due to resist chants from the home supporters, it was a positive result for the club nonetheless. It was also the opinion of manager Mauricio Pochettino, who appears to be facing a tough time at the start of his Tottenham career. After starting the season with consecutive victories in the league and the League Cup, Tottenham find themselves without a win in the last three matches. The poor run of form started with the 3-0 thumping of the hands of Liverpool.
Prior to the start of the Europa League, Pochettino claimed that he wants to win the trophy, which many English clubs regard as an unwanted distraction. In previous years, Tottenham managers like Harry Redknapp and Andre Villas-Boas decided to use second string teams for the Europa league in order to protect their interests of reaching the top four in the league. Pochettino, though, says that he wants to feel the strong team in this competition, which is taken much more seriously by the likes of Spanish and Italian clubs. Despite a disappointing 0-0 draw, Pochettino said that he was happy with the performance since he could not have asked a much more from his players.
“It was difficult but we need to look at the positives. Like Fazio and Stambouli making their first starts for us. They did very well. It was a tough game and it is difficult to play well and move the ball quickly in these conditions. The pitch was difficult, that is not an excuse but it is true. I am happy with the performance. We competed, kept a clean sheet and it is important not to lose these games,” said the Tottenham boss.
Thomas Vermaelen has finally made his way away from the Emirates Stadium and his new destination is Camp Nou. He has been bought by Barcelona for 15 million Pounds and he is all set to feature in La Liga for the first time ever in his career.
Vermaelen’s departure to Barcelona is something that has happened all of a sudden. The Belgian centre back was initially linked to Manchester United, but, the deal between the Red Devils and Arsenal couldn’t get finalized due to some reason and after that, Blaugrana cashed in.
Barca was keen for one more centre-half after Jeremy Mathieu and they have got that in the form of Vermaelen now. There will be tough battle between these two for becoming the club’s first choice in the heart of defence.
Vermaelen’s stint at Arsenal was 5-year long. He played 150 matches in that period scoring 15 goals.
Vermaelen had been pivotal at the Emirates Stadium until the 2012-13 Season. Last season, he had seen a bit of a tough time because of the injuries. He had fallen down the pecking order too, but, he was still a key man for the Gunners.
Veramelen’s experience was an asset for Arsenal and his exit is certainly going to have some effects on their defence.
The Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has hinted that he would be bringing in somebody as a replacement for Vermaelen before the deadline day of the window.
Whoever comes in will have a lot of pressure on him because he will be expected to fill in big shoes.
When asked if he has his eyes on someone whom he wants to land at the club on the place of Vermaelen, Wenger said, “The possibility of a defender to be bought is very much there. I would not give you a particular name at this point of time though.”
Sunderland have been sweating over the fitness of striker Jozy Altidore in the last few weeks. The US International suffered a hamstring injury while on international duty. Altidore may not have been utilised much by the US national team manager Klinsmann at the World Cup 2014, but he was a key player in the team nonetheless. Altidore came on the back of his first season in the Premier League. Many expected him to struggle despite having scored a lot of goals in Dutch football and it was the case. He managed a very poor return of just 2 goals in the 38 appearances.
Sunderland could have very well been relegated into the Championship as a result of this poor form and it was only the last few weeks of the season that they managed to climb out of the relegation zone. Despite this, manager Gus Poyet appears to regard Altidore as an important player. He has stated that the coaching staff are extremely confident that the 24-year-old will return in time for the pre-season.
Hamstring injuries usually take around six weeks to cure fully, but Altidore may return much earlier than expected.
Due to the World Cup, pre-season is much shorter this time around and players need to get back to full fitness as soon as possible.
“From the beginning, the doctor has been in touch with the US medical staff. In the beginning it looked bad but it got much better during the weeks and Jozy was nearly available for the last 16. If, say, the US had got through to the next stage, Jozy would have played a part. We know hamstring injuries are tricky and that you have to be careful not to come back too quickly. Jozy deserves his holidays now,” said the Sunderland manager, Gus Poyet.
Jack Colback’s previous season with Sunderland saw him making 32 league appearances for Sunderland but now that his contract is just about to expire, rumors have been spreading around in relation to the future of the English midfielder.
Newcastle United, West Ham United and Aston Villa are some of the Premier League clubs which are interested in signing him and West Ham has even offered the midfielder around €50,000 a week in order to bring him into the club which is more than triple the amount of money that he is currently earning.
Even with the substantially high wages that West Ham United is willing to offer Jack Colback, reports are heavily linking him with a move to Newcastle United but nothing still can’t be officially announced or confirmed until the midfielder returns from his honeymoon in about a week.
While Jack Colback might be seeing his way out of Sunderland in this summer transfer window, the club wants to sign new players into the squad with the captain of Swansea City, Ashley Williams being a priority target and an offer in the region of €5 million expected to take place.
Gus Poyet and the sporting director of Sunderland Lee Congerton are trying to reshape the squad at the Stadium of Light in the summer but they have a really busy schedule and line of work lying ahead of them with some players who have already left the club such as: Phil Bardsley and Craig Gardner.
The versatile defender who made 31 league appearances in the previous season Sebastian Larsson has already agreed to remain at the Stadium of Light for at least 3 more years but Jack Colback’s future is being linked each time further and further away from Sunderland.
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has stated that he now believes in miracles after his team managed to achieve safety in the Premier league despite being bottom of the table on Christmas Day. Only one team has managed to achieve this feat in the history of the Premier League. Sunderland will now be joining West Brom as the only two sides that have managed this achievement. Sunderland’s achievements is more remarkable considering that they had matches against title rivals Manchester City and Chelsea in the last few matches of the season.
As a result, none of the pundits and critics gave them hope to survive in the league. However, four points in the space of three days against City and Chelsea give the club a new lease of life. They have then gone on to achieve back-to-back victories against Cardiff and West Brom to secure their Premier league status. This has been the season Sunderland have come very close to the relegation zone since coming back to the Premier league a few years ago under Roy Keane. Poyet was brought to the club as the replacement for Paolo Di Canio in the summer. He has done an admirable job to keep the club in the division.
“It’s been difficult. I don’t know if you will see something similar ever. It’s one of the best days of my life. For moments, it looked like we were going down. It’s football, it’s miracles, it’s something unique. The connection between the players on the pitch in the last few games and with the fans means there is only one result: winning football games. Can I go another year like these seven months? No. I’m strong, but I don’t want to die. I don’t want to have a heart-attack,” said the manager after the 2-0 win over West Brom.