The Spurs game at the SSOL was one which everyone agreed was “forgettable”, although having just seen the highlights on SAFC TV there were some good moments, but to be fair they were few and far between, and if any game needed a goal, it was this one.
We are extremely reliant on Stephane Sessegnon these days and if he is not having a good game the whole team looks flat. Perhaps we treated Tottenham with a bit too much respect, but Martin O’Neill has a horrible record against the North Londoners.
At the moment we are only playing teams in blue, as Spurs showed up that colour. But for Sunderland the drive and enthusiasm we showed against the light blues of Man. City seemed strangely lacking on Saturday. It is not that we did not show up, but the teams just cancelled each other out. There were two suspected handball incidents, one involving Scott Parker and the other Michael Turner. So in the end there was a kind of fair equilibrium in the game, but all of our main attackers Sess, Bendtner and McClean all were very well marshalled by the Spurs back line.
After this 0-0 versus Spurs Martin O’Neill said "We weren't going to allow them to come here and pick up three points. We had some chances ourselves. While we didn't reach the heights of last week at Man. City in terms of possession we were up against a top team vying for a Champions League place. It has been a commendable effort from our players. We played two teams in the top four. We should have won at City and have got a draw here today."
On Easter Monday we faced Everton, and boss David Moyes juggled his squad ahead of the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool. Leighton Baines, Tim Cahill and Nikica Jelavic are rested and Sylvain Distin and Darron Gibson dropped to the bench, with Johnny Heitinga, Marouane Fellaini, Leon Osman and Denis Stracqualursi returning to the team and James McFadden handed his first Barclays Premier League start since returning to the club in October 2011.
Sunderland were without striker Nicklas Bendtner, who failed a late fitness test, so David Vaughan came into midfield and Stephane Sessegnon was on his own up front, with Lee Cattermole and Phil Bardley both shaking off knocks they sustained in the Saturday fixture.
This Easter Monday game at Goodison was an unmitigated disaster. In the previous 3 matches against the blue half of Merseyside we have at least competed, but after a fairly neutral first half we just fell apart. OK, the Blues players had the incentive of a place in the FA Cup Semi vs. Liverpool but we were useless and did not show up.
Martin O’Neill needs to address this – we went all season before the Northern Irishman arrived without losing heavily in any games. And yes, the season picked up fantastically well from December, but we have lost 0- 4 twice. Tiredness is definitely a factor at this stage of the season but we cannot just capitulate In away games.
We will need to sign some players of character, who can perform week in, week out without surrendering as tamely as we did last Monday. It is true that we have a whole defence out injured , but these players were up for it against Manchester City, and somehow we were not on Monday.
Everton were good, we were not; oh well...
©Lars J.S. Knutsen