A bit of a knacker when Kone was announced as injured (how? We haven't kicked a ball in a fortnight) so Denayer got back in, but there you go and still not enough fit central defenders to play that 3 at the back thing that sort of looked like it might sort of work. Can you see where I'm going with this? At least Cec Irwin, my first Sunderland hero, was the guest. Hawaaaaaaay Cec.
I should really have stayed true to my pre-match opinion that we shouldn't expect anything from the City game, and not got upset at the defeat - but having played reasonably, I got all maudlin and bemoaned the lack of a victory, and grumbled about not producing that sort of display against lesser teams than City and Liverpool. Well, Burnley are a different kettle of fish, but a team we should in theory have a better chance of beating. Ain’t theory great?
There have been a few things to cheer us up since that game - Kirchoff playing for the reserves, hang on, strike that, his latest comeback has ended in exactly the same place as all his previous comebacks - in the treatment room. Vorsprung Durch Technic obviously translates as "technically brilliant but made of lolly sticks." Bah, humbug.
... anyway, back to the cheering up stuff... Big Vic kicking a ball again, and Agent Orange piping up. Professional gobshite Steven Taylor has been telling all and sundry how much he hates us - from the safety of the Portman Road treatment room. I didn't even know he'd come back to these shores, but he has, and is spouting stuff that shows his opinion is worth even less than it was when he was embarrassing the glorious Geordie Nation on a weekly basis - and it was worthless then. For being one of the main reasons they got relegated, we on Wearside salute you, but we don't really care what you've got to say, and neither do the mags. Comedy gold, you are, and you're the same colour as Donald Trump.
And if a Sunderland player getting picked for England doesn't cheer you up (discounting the potential fear of injury, of course), nowt will. An England manager showing common sense and picking Defoe for the first time in three years. The German game? Fair enough, it means nothing, so by all means give some promising bairns with no experience a run out, but Lithuania? There are points at stake, so do what should have been done last summer and play someone with experience and who's in goalscoring form. That's spelt DEFOE. Forget the future, because, as Iceland showed, there isn't one unles you pick the right team for the occasion in hand. The Lithuanians might well put most of their men behind the ball, so England need someone who is more interested in shots than stepovers. Well played, Southgate, and go go Defoe - with little Bradley as the mascot.
Speaking of Southgate, Boro comes to mind. I reckon they'd have been sunk if Karanka stayed, and I reckon they're favourites for the drop without him. Steve Agnew will surely steer the Smogs into the Championship, as he must still love us. He's got no hair but we don't care... -
Jones O'Shea Denayer Oviedo
Januzaj Seb Borini
No Ndong, which was a bit of a surprise. Out of desperation, I'd salvaged my "lucky" brogues from the "for the cobbler" bin and worn them to the game.
I assume Burnley won the toss, and upset our game plan, as we headed North, and they created the early opportunities, with Boyd (looking like the sort of waiter you'd refuse to be served by on account of his excessively greasy countenance. Get a wash and haircut, man) We eventually got a wee bit of the ball and created a few nearly moments, but all outside their box. Barton, living up to his reputation as the panto villain and all-round arse, was deservedly booked on 22 for a foul right in front of the bench. To be honest, if I'd been on that bench I'd have been sent to Tasmania for my reaction.
Then the ref lost it, missing stuff that Stevie Wonder would have winced at, and we won a corner Gibson had a chance to make a name for himself but shot well over. Ah well, that's us, but the last thing we needed was a referee trying to be the new Howard Webb. He turned out to be more of a Trelford Mills (ask yer Da) from the half hour, as he made decisions that would have Professor Hawkins scratching his head. The man was awful - not that it made a great difference to the outcome of the game, but i seriously resent someone being paid grand a week to be so bad at his job.
That was basically it for the first half - a fair bit of endeavour, two added minutes, precious little quality, a late effort form Gibson that was well wide of the mark, and plenty of signs that Seb (for all his honest work) ran out of ideas and energy two years ago. Quite why Khazri or Ndong didn't replace him after half an hour is one for Agatha Christie. Look, I like the Lad, but it obviously wasn't going to work for him this afternoon.
No changes for the second half - which was both surprising and daft.
Anyway, back to the action. Borini got through in the inside left channel, but his shot lacked the power to beat Heaton - but it did set us up with a bit of hope for the remainder of the game. we set Defoe away, but there as precious little space for him to work a shot and consequently their defence sorted themselves out and blocked the eventual effort. We did manage to create a few chances but they always seemed to fall to the wrong player. Jones rather than Defoe. GIbson rather than Defoe. Jones again - you can't fault the Lad for effort, but he's no Gary Rowell. It did look like O'Shea would. have to come off, which would have been really bad as he was our only leader on the pitch, but he chased Djilobodji away and came back onto the field. Gibson was the surprising choice to make way for Ndong, then a few minutes later Seb did make way for Khazri, but for all the effort of those two, there were no breakthroughs.
We can grumble, and we will. The added two minutes were of no use even if we did push forward and give us something to shout about. It rained. My brogues leaked. Serves me right.
Man of the Match? Probably Denayer, despite his half-mast socks, but he does look like a footballer.
Keep the Faith
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