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.

Playmaker

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:

Ray Wilkins

Wilkins: Rooney for captain

Ray Wilkins says Wayne Rooney is the "standout candidate" for the England captaincy....

Jamie Carragher

Carra: Gerrard hard to replace

Jamie Carragher says there’s no natural replacement for Steven Gerrard in the England team....

Martin Tyler

Tyler: We need Stevie's values

Steven Gerrard can inspire the next generation of England stars even in retirement, says Martin Tyler....

Latest News RSS feeds

Live transfer updates

Real Madrid sign James Rodriguez for £63m, Steven Caulker joins QPR and Liverpool close in on Javier Manquillo.

Liverpool close on Manquillo

Liverpool are set to beat Arsenal to the signing of Atletico Madrid left-back Javier Manquillo.

Stoke bag Bojan from Barcelona

Stoke City have secured Barcelona's winger and forward Bojan Krkic on a four-year deal.

QPR sign Caulker from Cardiff

QPR have signed Cardiff City defender Steven Caulker on a four-year deal for a fee of £8.5million.

Vorm, Sigurdsson set for moves

Swansea keeper Michel Vorm has agreed personal terms with Tottenham, with Gylfi Sigurdsson set to move the other way.

Features

James Rodriguez is a Real Madrid player for £63million - now Carlo Ancelotti must work out how to fit him in

James Rodriguez is a Real Madrid player for £63million - now Carlo Ancelotti must work out how to fit him in

“Why put another layer of gold plate on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?”

Steven Gerrard international retirement: England captain deserves our admiration and will be missed in midfield

Steven Gerrard international retirement: England captain deserves our admiration and will be missed in midfield

“He is an incredible man and a fantastic footballer who we have all been blessed to see in an England shirt so often.