Blogs & Opinion

Sunderland: Ki and Lee Cattermole can help Black Cats survive

David Jones - David Jones Posted 18th December 2013 view comments

The dramatic extra-time victory over Chelsea was just the Christmas present Sunderland fans had been hoping for.

After all, they had been good all year; supporting their team through thin and thinner and for a time under Paolo Di Canio becoming the laughing stock of football fans nationwide.

Sunderland are in strife, says David, but Ki can help them improve

Sunderland are in strife, says David, but Ki can help them improve

At last, here was a moment of hope, far removed from the doom and gloom of the Barclays Premier League, which Sunderland will prop up on Christmas Day.

Fitting, too, that the moment of joy was delivered at the Stadium of Light which is where Sunderland's league fate will be decided over the coming days, weeks and months.

Survival is not beyond them, but it soon will be if they can't turn their home into a fortress: just look at the evidence.

Ki shines like a lone beacon as a success story from a summer of slapdash recruitment.

David Jones
Quotes of the week

Saturday's game against Norwich will be their first at home since the opening day against a team in the bottom half of the table.

They have 11 more matches at home, all winnable and only one against a side in the top eight (Everton): the door is still open for an unlikely escape.

Saying it though is one thing, doing it consistently has proved beyond them for some time, as four wins in 31 games testifies.


Ki Sung-Yueng quite rightly grabbed the headlines against Chelsea with his well taken goal, and he shines like a lone beacon as a success story from a summer of slapdash recruitment masterminded by director of football Roberto De Fanti.

Cliched as it sounds, the South Korean really is the key to Sunderland's survival; he has thrived as Gus Poyet's playmaker and can continue to dictate games with the muscular presence of Lee Cattermole beside him.

It looks like Cattermole has earned his manager's trust and now he must keep it with the quality of performance he showed against Chelsea.

Emanuele Giaccherini buzzed around the pitch, too, with his best display in the red and white stripes, showing off the kind of trickery that should be too much for lesser opponents.

Now all they need is a striker with the finishing touch: for all Jozy Altidore's commitment to the cause, goals elude him; Steven Fletcher could be the answer but only if the supply line improves.

Perhaps Poyet's Christmas wishes will be answered by his owner Ellis Short - who must surely wish he turned to the Uruguayan when he dispensed with Martin O'Neill back in March - in the form of a new player or two in the January window.

Short has gambled before to protect his t Premier League investment and may choose to again.

You will forgive the upbeat indulgent message, after all it is Christmas and if you can't be positive at this time of year you might as well give up... and no one on Wearside is ready to do that.

Catch Sunderland play Cardiff, from 5pm, Saturday, Dec 28 on Sky Sports 1.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Toffees come unstuck

Man Utd's men with a point to prove can take advantage of Everton's midweek blow, says Jamie Redknapp....

Paul Merson

Merson's predictions

Paul Merson says Liverpool WON'T beat Norwich - and Chelsea and Man City will close the gap....

Jamie Carragher

Bruce almighty

Steve Bruce deserves a mention when this year's managerial awards are handed out, says Carra....

Latest News RSS feeds

Premier League round-up

Cardiff and Aston Villa could only record draws on Saturday, as Swansea beat Newcastle and Crystal Palace won again.

Tottenham dent Fulham's hopes

Tottenham dented Fulham's Premier League survival hopes with a 3-1 win over their London rivals at White Hart Lane.

Home draw hampers Cardiff

Cardiff City's quest for survival in the Premier League took a blow as they were held to a 1-1 home draw by Stoke City.

Late Bony goal lifts Swansea

Wilfried Bony's last-gasp penalty earned Swansea a crucial 2-1 win over Newcastle to pile the pressure on Alan Pardew.

Jedinak spot on for Palace

Crystal Palace made it five wins in a row as Mile Jedinak converted from the spot to secure a 1-0 victory over West Ham.


Comment: Another win for Tim Sherwood but Tottenham need a manager of substance next season

Comment: Another win for Tim Sherwood but Tottenham need a manager of substance next season

Tottenham weren’t at their best on Saturday, but it rarely looked likely to be a problem. Christian Eriksen’s wicked dead-ball delivery did for Fulham as Spurs emerged as 3-1 winners to make it seven points from nine in April. They’ve scored 11 goals in the process too.

PFA awards

PFA awards

Ramsey but no Henderson? Do you agree with the PFA Player of the Year nominees? Have your say.

Welcome back?

Welcome back?

David Moyes could be in for a mixed reception when he returns to Goodison, writes Vinny O'Connor.