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Sunderland AFC v swansea (A)...
LINES FROM LONDON: EXILES BLOG

I think we’ll get at least a point today and that would be enough to get us out of the relegation zone providing Hull don’t win. Swansea look like strong bets to go down and even though they won two weeks ago, they’ve still leaked nine goals in two matches. It was sad of course to hear of Watmore’s serious injury but the news that Fab will be in the squad today is both very timely and pleasing. It looks like both Denayer and Pienaar will have recovered too. With maybe Fab, Big Vic and Defoe upfront I’m sure we’ll get a couple of goals today. For Swansea Sigurdsson is always one to watch out for but Ki is out and they don’t have the impressive Ayew anymore. It’s going to be a real six-pointer but there’s more pressure on Swansea to improve on their lousy performance against Spurs last weekend. Match prediction: 2-1 to us.

Swansea made five changes from last week but our only change was that Seb replaced Watmore. That meant that Djilobodji was still there in the back four while O’Shea was on the bench. With Mannone, Kirchhoff, Khazri and Borini also on the bench we were finally looking as though we had some strength in depth.

I got the match on the internet via firstrow sports and saw we were wearing that horrible pink strip. Swansea did most of the early pressing but didn’t create anything. In the fifth minute there was applause all round for Bradley Lowery during which we won our first corner. We started to press a lot more ourselves and by the fifteenth minute it was going end to end. In the twentieth minute we had our best chance so far when a great clearance from Pickford went straight to Anichebe who flicked it across to Defoe and he shot narrowly wide. Then we had another good chance set up by Anichebe but Defoe took it off the toe of Seb who was in a better position to shoot. It was pouring with rain and the pitch was looking very heavy; no doubt this was going to be a factor. We conceded a free-kick on the left angle of our box and Sigurdsson  hit it into the box where Mawson headed it just over. The internet stream was being regularly interrupted by pop-ups and messages from my anti-virus software but I stuck with it even though it was getting on my wick. There was a bit of argy-bargy on the half-hour when Pienaar hit the deck and the home fans were up in arms about us getting a free-kick. Anichebe was injured with about five minutes to the break but thankfully was able to continue. Denayer joined Ndong in the book but just afterwards Leon Britton escaped punishment for a similar foul. From the ensuing free-kick we won a corner and Kone headed narrowly over. There were two minutes of stoppage-time but it remained goalless at the break. It had been an entertaining half but both sides had been lacking in the final third. Other results were going badly for us with both Burnley and Hull winning.

Seb had a chance early on and then Defoe made a good run and should have made better of his opportunity. Next thing Swansea won a penalty for a Denayer handball and Sigurdsson put it away and we were one-down. Pickford made a great save from a deflected shot but when the ensuing corner came over Llorente smashed in their second and gloom descended. There were still thirty-five minutes on the clock but it wasn’t looking at all good for us. We brought on Januzaj for Seb and then Kirchhoff for Ndong. The commentator said that Swansea had conceded three goals within the space of nine minutes in their last two matches so I hoped it’d be three in a row. I couldn’t see it, though, as Swansea were well on top with Sigurdsson firing in the crosses. With about twenty minutes to go we won a free-kick in a dangerous position when Amat fouled Anichebe but for some reason Djilobodji took it and it came to nothing. Our midfield weren’t getting involved enough and it didn’t look like we were even going to get one goal back as fifteen minutes remained. Montero came on for Barrow. The rain finally stopped but any hopes of a brighter outcome were crushed when Montero crossed for Llorente to head home their third. Defoe had a good chance just afterwards that went for a corner and then we finally forced Fabianski into a serious save as we won a second corner in a row. Manquillo replaced Pienaar shortly before the end and there were three minutes of stoppage-time but it couldn’t end soon enough for me.

This was a terrible result and with Hull getting a point we’re back on the bottom again. Bring on Chelsea, well, not just yet.

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