soccernet blog
February 25, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 02/25/2011

Every one admires what David “Gollum” Moyes has achieved at Everton, on a tight budget and by playing good football. To quote erstwhile Black Cats manager Roy Keane, they are a ‘proper football club”. And what did he mean by that? To me he was saying that they are rôle models for teams like Sunderland, who have perhaps taken over their mantle this season. They manage to not just stay in the top flight, but generally to excel. They have however been blowing hot and cold in 2010-11, currently in 14th spot, just 3 points above the relegation zone, and Moyes was particularly scathing after the recent defeat at Bolton. This perhaps inspired the excellent FA Cup display at Chelsea this week, when a superb Baines fee kick at the end of extra time forced penalties, and the Blues were eliminated on spot-kicks.

February 24, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 02/24/2011

No game last weekend: but feast your eyes on these Sunderland games of the past! The festive season has come and gone, New Year is a distant memory but the joys of Spring are still a while away – we still have the wintry conditions of late February to to get through.

So if you are a fan, why not settle down and warm your spirits with some excellent Sunderland memories? These game span the years I have been following the Lads, and I wish to thank those fans who posted these excellent games on Youtube...if you enjoy watching the lads, prepare yourself for a treat.

February 18, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 02/18/2011

Sunderland Chairman and club legend Niall Quinn has been hitting the headlines with his thoughts about the local pubs in the Wearside area. These watering holes are making it easy for fans to skip games by illegally broadcasting Black Cats’ home games from hook-ups to foreign channels. Anyone who has a laptop and broadband can usually find a live feed of a game, admittedly of sometimes dubious quality, from many of the shadow online rebroadcasters of live Premier League football. To hook the laptop up to a TV is not complicated, but to broadcast like this in a public context is against the law.

February 12, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 02/12/2011

For this crucial clash against Spurs, Sunderland opted to “rest” the self-confessed fringe-player Ferdinand who maybe was the scapegoat from the previous two games, where 7 goals were conceded. Malbranque was brought back against his former team, he is now the last former Spur at the SSOL since Bent, Reid and Chimbonda moved on. To quote the Soccernet Spurs Correspondent: In recent weeks the focus has been on the team’s misfiring strikers and on Harry's failure to bring in a forward during the January transfer window, despite being associated with just about everyone going. Peter Crouch puts in a good effort when he plays but two league goals is a pretty abysmal haul for a centre forward…Defoe has admittedly suffered with injury but has looked worryingly out of sorts in recent weeks. Perhaps there has been too strong a focus on the Champions’ League, which would play in Sunderland’s favour with the AC Milan game looming. After two defeats the home team would see this game as a chance to put things right.

February 9, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 02/09/2011

Steve Bruce opted to change the defensive formation and fielded 3 centre-backs at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday to deal with Stoke City's aerial threat from set pieces. However unfair it all seemed to the Sunderland fans, after we played the better football and led for most of the game, the tactics did not work as the home side scored all three of their goals from this route. I agree with Bruce that John Carew was offside for the first and second goals but there was a problem which became clear after studying the highlights: playing John Mensah as the extra centre-back made the penalty area very crowded, and it was tough for Craig Gordon to come off his line and intervene. The box was full of bodies advancing towards him whenever Stoke crossed the ball.

February 4, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 02/04/2011

With the Chelsea revenge mission out of the way, we can now focus on Stoke in tomorrow’s early match up at the Britannia Stadium. I will not over-analyse what happened at the SSOL on Tuesday; it was a terrific game for neutral observers, and the Black Cats played a full part in an excellent spectacle against the expensively-assembled visiting team, who have rediscovered the confidence which deserted them after the 0-3 setback at the Bridge. Plus points: Goal machine Phil Bardsley, Sessegnon's debut and Kieran Richardson chipping in with a goal again. The negatives: an uncharacteristic hesitancy in defence, with 4 goals conceded at home for the first time since Man. Utd. on Boxing Day 2007, and a crowd of “just” 37,855. The take home message is that we need Mensah and Turner available for selection and Cattermole doing what he does best, protecting the back line, as soon as humanly possible – the latter two starred at Stamford Bridge in October. News of the young skipper’s continued absence for another month is a blow.

February 1, 2011
Posted by Lars Knutsen on 02/01/2011

What is going on across the Tyne? We know that Andy Carroll the footballer has a physical presence and has made an impact this season with 10 goals. But as Fox Soccer pundits said last night, £35M is a lot of money for potential! I suppose one could say that yesterday was all driven by a domino effect known as the Champions League. Chelsea decided that they need Torres to have any chance of winning the trophy this year, and that set off a series of related events, ending up with Newc**tle apparently pushing Carroll out of the door. and other media reports suggest that he did not want to leave Newcastle. The striker told the Evening Chronicle: I didn't want to leave. Make sure the fans know I didn't want to leave. But the next moment he suddenly became the 8th most expensive striker in history!

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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