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Sunderland AFC v leicester (A)...
match report

Sunderland fell to a 2-0 defeat away to Leicester in a game that will certainly push beating relegation out of the realms of possibility. Goals from Islam Slimani and Jamie Vardy were enough to see off Sunderland, who were boosted by the return of Lee Cattermole and big Vic Anichebe, but sadly still did not have enough quality to force a result.

See Sunderland are in the news again. Their manager, David Moyes, caught saying something naughty. Something about giving a woman a slap. Is it sexist? Dunno. Is it a stupid thing to say? Most definitely. Will it get Moyes the sack? Well if being bottom of the table and playing consistently terrible football doesn’t get him sacked, I doubt this will.

Hopelessness aside, we have one thing to celebrate – Cattermole is back.

Pickford,
Jones, Kone, Denayer, Oviedo,
Larsson, Cattermole, Rodwell, Ndong,
Borini, Defoe

Unfortunate news came through this afternoon that John O’Shea’s dad had sadly passed away, so understandably the defender was not included in the squad. The omission may have actually prompted Cattermole to be inserted back into the midfield, with Denayer filling in for John at centre back.

Sunderland started unusually brightly, with a searching cross to the back post only narrowly met by Danny Simpson, who cleared it for a corner. Leicester would always possess a threat, given the amount of quality and pace they have in comparison, but were seeing very little of the ball despite being at home.

Cattermole’s presence was tangible, both in attack and defence. He worked well to plug gaps and make a nuisance of himself when Leicester moved forward, and he offered a much-needed passing outlet for the Sunderland defence when advancing — the type of role that our other midfielders simply aren’t brave enough to grasp.

We won a series of corners but were unfortunately unable to make anything of them. Jack Rodwell proved our most imposing attacking threat from set pieces, with Kone also eager to commit forward despite the absence of O’Shea. Kone finally lost the tracking Huth but his header flew over the bar.

Cattermole got himself booked after 35 minutes, to my delight; it’s almost like a tourist attraction at this point. Leicester engineered the last chance of the half when Demarai Gray attempted to curl one into the top corner, but Pickford pulled off an appropriately brilliant save to keep the game level.

In truth, we looked the better side going in at half-time. We hadn’t forced a clear-cut chance, but we’d held onto the ball well and snuffed out any Leicester attacks, besides the long-range shots.

Borini had a great chance a few minutes after the restart, but opted to let the ball run across his body instead of taking the early shot, giving the defence a chance to get in the way of it. Seb Larsson’s much-deliberated free kick was sent flying miles over the bar, a somewhat comical waste of what would have been a good chance for the Swede about four years ago.

GOAL – Leicester – Slimani – 68 mins

Sunderland did nothing to close down the crosser Marc Albrighton, and the ball was headed past Pickford by substitute Islam Slimani looked to give Kone a push in the back, but I suppose a huge centre back like Lamine is supposed to be able to take it, so you can’t complain too much about that.

The introduction of Khazri and Anichebe was certainly exciting, and Anichebe nearly marked his return with a great goal. Big Vic did well to set himself for a shot, and his strike was deflected agonisingly onto the post. Sadly and typically, Leicester went up the other end and scored.

GOAL – Leicester – Vardy – 78 mins
Sunderland were caught on the break and Vardy does what he does. After being slotted in by Albrighton, Vardy took a touch and then thundered it past Pickford to seal the win for the home side. ‘Champions of England, we know what we are’ sang the Leicester fans, who will be written into history as a flash in the pan, but a flash no less.

Darron Gibson came on for Jack Rodwell in what probably should be the last substitution that David Moyes will ever make, but it won’t be. Moyes will keep his job, Sunderland will be relegated, and I’ll be writing match reports on Championship matches next season.

Haddaway and shite.

Final Score: Leicester 2-0 Sunderland

ALS Man of the Match: Lee Cattermole, despite lack of match fitness.

Chris Thompson

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