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.
Sunderland finished at the 17th spot in the previous Premier League season as they barely managed to drift away from the bottom relegation zone but this time around might just see them being relegated as even the coach of the squad believes that they will need a miracle in order to avoid the bottom drop spots.
“I’m very honest and I know where I am. If you look at the table and the games we have got left to win, we need a miracle. We need something unique’’.
“As soon as we chased the game and opened up and needed to go attack for attack we became a very easy team to play against. As soon as we go forward we cannot defend, we cannot make decisions. We cannot go one vs one. We cannot pass the ball; we cannot get a shot on target. There are so many things that we cannot do. And there is no place to hide’’.
“The good thing is that I am responsible and I will take responsibility.” Gus Poyet admitted.
Those were the statements that the head coach of Sunderland, Gus Poyet revealed after they had suffered a 5-1 defeat against Tottenham as they played at White Hart Lane on Monday.
Fabio Borini and Lee Cattermole were the standout players for Sunderland but it wasn’t enough to stop Tottenham cruise past them and now the possibility of being relegated is starting to sink in as Sunderland suffered its 4th consecutive defeat.
Gus Poyet and Sunderland still have a few matches left that can give him the chance of climbing higher spots in the Premier League but considering that they have to face off against clubs such as: Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea in their upcoming next few matches, it will be difficult for Poyet to rescue Sunderland out of the danger zone.
Sunderland was knocked out of the FA Cup and the Carling Cup after losing against Hull City and Manchester City which gives Gus Poyet and his team the chance and time to solely focus on the Premier League where they currently are struggling as they located at the bottom of the standings and with only 9 matches remaining, the next results will decide if they get relegated or not.
The Premier League club has announced their financial state and registered a €23 million loss and it will get even worse for the club if they are unable to survive in the Premier League for the upcoming season.
If Sunderland gets relegated, this means that the TV income will go down from €44 million to €26 million as well as having many other losses including the possibility of having to cut down their wage bill by releasing players and not being able to sign new players unless they are free agents.
Ellis Short is the owner and chairman of the club and he stated even if things do get even tougher for Sunderland and they do get relegated, he has pledged to continue supporting the club.
“The directors consider the major risk of the business to be a significant period of absence from the Premier League. Ongoing investment in the playing squad aims to reduce this risk. The directors consider the main market risk to the business to be the interest rates on the bank loan and the banking facilities.” Ellis Short revealed
The remaining matches that Sunderland has left will see them facing off against Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Everton, West Ham, Norwich City, Cardiff City, Manchester United and Swansea City.
Sunderland almost came to creating a shocking the League Cup final after managing to hold the lead over title favourites Manchester City for much of the match. In the end, they suffered a 3-1 defeat and saw the opposition left the title – the first available to English clubs in the season.
After the match, Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said that he could not have been much more pleased with the performance put in by his players, but they were ultimately beaten by a very strong team. Sunderland took the lead after just 10 minutes through Fabio Borini.
After losing 4-1 at the hands of Arsenal only last weekend, there was a danger of Sunderland losing quite badly at the new Wembley. However, the early goal appeared to give them a lot of confidence and they managed to stay in front for a long period. It only took a wonder goal from Yaya Touré to equalise, but it was the end of the resistance from Sunderland. Samir Nasri’s goal just 90 seconds after Toure’s goal put City in front. Jesus Navas scored a late on to make the game safe for the title challengers. City are the only team in England to be in contention for all four trophies even in the first week of March.
“If we do this every week, I’m sure we’ll stay in the league. The Sunderland fans made me feel better because of the way they talked to us on the walk up at the end. It’s a horrible walk to get the losers’ medal, it’s difficult to take. I’m sorry I wasn’t the happiest when I was going up there. We need [the fans] now. I’ve said from day one, it was nearly an impossible job to stay in the Premier League,” said Poyet after the match.
Sunderland’s chance to remain on the Premier League is in danger as they currently are at the bottom last spots of the English league. Gus Poyet will want to sign a few players that can help them avoid the relegation zone and stay at the top tier league of England at least for another season.
The Argentine striker Ignacio Scocco has been a long term interest of Sunderland and according to his father, his most likely football destination is the Stadium of Light as he was trying to be signed by River Plate and Valencia but Sunderland are leading the way on signing his services.
“The most likely today is that Scocco joins Sunderland. River and Newell’s asked for him but Internacional’s demands are too high and they don’t want to loan him out. That’s understandable as they want to recoup the investment they made and no club in Argentina can afford what they want.” Ignacio Scocco’s father stated relating the future of his son.
The playmaker of Sunderland, Emanuele Giaccherini shut down the rumors and reports involving him with a possible move to Juventus. It was believed that he wanted to leave Sunderland and join a different league but the 28 years old midfielder said that for the moment he will be staying where he is right now.
“I feel good in England, even if things could go better,” he told Radio DeeJay.
“We will see in May what will happen, but for the moment the most important thing is getting safety.It’s normal to be missing the city of Turin and Italy, especially when you leave a club where you won two Scudettos, where you felt good and that allowed you to get into the national team’’.
“I’d always be grateful to coach Antonio Conte. I spoke with him twice before moving to Sunderland’’.