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Sunderland
November 26, 2010
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 11/26/2010

The shattering news that centre back Michael Turner has joined Titus Bramble on the long-term injury list, following his gutsy clearance off the line on Monday night against Everton, is a real threat to the good run currently experienced by Sunderland. A lot of the progress in the first third of the season has been built on a solid back four of Onuoha, Bramble, Turner and Bardsley. So how will Steve Bruce react? Well, the first thing to say is that we at least have a decent squad now, and Anton Ferdinand is capable of doing a sound defensive job for us. I am sure the back room staff is guiding John Mensah back to fitness as soon as humanly possible, with Paulo Da Silva also waiting to be called into action at short notice.

November 24, 2010
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 11/24/2010

In a gutsy and compelling Premiership game between two teams looking to attack at every opportunity, Sunderland edged ahead of a hard-working Everton in the last quarter of the game, only to concede a deflected equalizer late on for a 2-2 draw.. It could even have been worse for the hosts as Beckford drove over the bar in the closing stages.

Everton showed their attacking intent in by scoring in virtually their first attack, with Baines lofting a ball over from the left for Cahill to head home in the 6th minute. Then an amazing run by Zenden cutting into the box from the right ended with a cross that was poked in instinctively by Welbeck. It was the young loan star who edged the home side ahead on 70 minutes, with an excellent header from a Richardson cross. His form in front of goal has illustrated the talent of this England U-21 star, who has shown amazing drive in the last 3 games. In a compelling second half, Arteta’s deflected drive from the edge of the box provided a late equalizer for the Toffees, for whom defeat would have been harsh.

November 20, 2010
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 11/20/2010

The impact of the stunning 3-0 win at Chelsea will be felt for some time. There is no doubt that it will increase the expectations of Sunderland fans, but will also mean an overdue improvement in the away record of the Black Cats, which has been nothing to write home about under either Roy Keane or Steve Bruce, until now. The tactics on Sunday were well thought out and very well-executed, and the confidence the team has gained from this dismantling of the Blues will be seen in future games.

I was impressed by the refreshing honesty from Ancellotti, who said Chelsea deserved to lose. When did you last hear Arsene Wenger or Alex Ferguson say that? A Soccernet headline claimed that Sunderland produced one of the finest away performances in the history of the Premier League to hammer Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge. Nedum Onuoha, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck scored - and it could have been more. Was it one of the finest?

November 14, 2010
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 11/14/2010

Sunderland came in to this game with all the statistics against them: Chelsea would set a new Premier League record of 12 consecutive wins by one team against a single opponent if they beat the Black Cats. The Blues had also had a run of 9 clean sheets in a row at Stamford Bridge.

The only glimmer of hope for Sunderland was that Chelsea had a number of high-profile absentees, Essien, Lampard, Alex and Terry, but their squad is so deep that the only player out of position was Ferrera at centre-back. The Black Cats looked to take the game to Chelsea, certainly more that they did in the first half against Spurs the previous Tuesday, by naming Welbeck in support of Gyan. Not many people watching expected the spectacular display that Sunderland came up with...this rout has opened up the Championship race.

November 12, 2010
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 11/12/2010

So although some of the headlines are about a 21-year old striker with a ponytail going missing from the England Under-21 squad, the real news is about a possible call-up for the home-grown Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson. He is very highly rated by his manager Steve Bruce (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/nov/11/jordan-henderson-england-call-up), is clearly very talented and has a great temperament. He has started every league game this season, and has really been excellent with his box-to-box movement, in just his second season in the first team.

November 9, 2010
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 11/09/2010

A Sunderland side with 6 changes took a little while to settle down a against a Spurs team looking to climb the Premiership table after a couple of consecutive defeats. The Black Cats handed starts to Zenden and Riveros, with Richardson being rewarded for his positive display against Stoke in an advanced role close to Gyan for those forward forays.

Craig Gordon was back between the posts at the ground where his arm was originally broken last November in a collision with Jermain Defoe - the start of his recent injury woes. For Spurs, Crouch was absent in the first half, a puzzling move - who was the wingers Bale and Bentley going to target crosses at? Predictably, Tottenham surged forward from the start, leaving Sunderland with just the occasional half-chance.

Posted by Lars Knutsen on 11/09/2010

Saturday was a day when our players had to stand up and be counted. It was the day when the team started their rehabilitation in front of the fans who suffered terribly 6 days earlier, and the crowd were a bit restless at the start.

The game overall was much closer that the 2-0 score suggests, the difference being the stunning finishing of Asmoah Gyan. He gave Stoke an early lesson in goal-poaching, latching on to a saved shot from Onuoha to steer the ball home expertly after an excellent move by The Lads. Stoke are known to be a hard team to play against, and they were very good at closing down the home side, especially in the fist half when Kenwyne Jones ploughed a lonely furrow on his return to the SSOL. In the second half though, the referee was a talking point, after the tigerish Cattermole seemed to wrestle the ball off the line from a Jones header.

November 1, 2010
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 11/01/2010

After a performance and result like that it’s good to stand up and admit that we were beaten by a better side on the day.

After the first 15 minutes the Sunderland performance was abject, and the players just did not show up. Steve Bruce admitted that it was this defeat that had hurt most since he arrived at Sunderland, and now the team has to just lick its wounds and rebuild for the next game.

About
Lars Knutsen Lars Knutsen was born in Sunderland of Norwegian parents across the Wear from the SSOL back when shipbuilding not car manufacture was the city’s main industry. His first game was in 1968 and he has followed the Black Cats since then, with great memories of the 1973 FA Cup. He hopes the “yo-yo” days are over and defines supporting a team by whether the result affects your mood (but maybe not in the way portrayed in the book “Fever Pitch”!) so has been cheerful recently. He endured school in Newc**tle, has a Ph.D. in Chemistry, a Professorship at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, and works in the Pharma industry as a consultant Medicinal Chemist.

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