So football surprises us yet again, which is what makes The Beautiful Game so fascinating. An excellent performance from the Black Cats in an absorbing game; they put their injury woes behind them and put Blackburn and their hard to beat image to the sword. This was a performance of almost total dominance, despite the post match comments from opposition manager Kean, and each of Sunderland’s recognized strikers scored a goal. I wrote in my last blog that we have come to expect at least a goal a game from one of Bent, Welbeck and Gyan, and Bruce needs to ensure a rapid return to form for the strikers ahead of Saturday’s visit of Blackburn Rovers to the Stadium of Light. Well our top-class manager did just that, with the top 3 scorers providing the ecstatic home supporters with excellent goals, even though the first was a little lucky. But I believe you make your own luck, and Welbeck obviously had to shoot to score. Being 2-0 up after 19 minutes after that terrific Darren Bent header meant that there was a cushion, leading to some relaxed football and dominance from Sunderland.
Blackburn had their chances but Gyan’s strike in the 89th minute was the icing on the cake and showed again what a top class striker he is. He expertly curled the ball inside the left had post for his 6th Premier League goal of the season.
When I assess where I thought Sunderland would be early in the New Year, we are definitely running ahead of expectations, with a larger, more gifted squad than last year, a good points haul and the club are well up there in the top 10 in the best league in the world. The big 4, especially Chelsea, have had their feathers ruffled by a lot of teams, and Man. Utd. have hit the front without really looking too convincing, but remaining unbeaten. Sunderland have claimed a spot vacated by Everton, Liverpool and Aston Villa who have been unseated from their expected top 6 positions, allowing other teams to emerge. The Black Cats are well on towards beating their best Premiership points total of 58 and 7th spot, achieved in 2000.
©Lars J.S. Knutsen