Filed: Monday, 20th September 2010
By: Preview Percy
This match rather crept up on us, to be honest, what with our current league position keeping us awake at night. Preview Percy remembered it though. Unfortunately.
Next up we have a travel unfriendly trip up to Wearside for a 7.45 Tuesday night kick-off at the Stadium of Light where Sunderland will be our hosts for a 3rd round League Cup tie. As with all League Cup matches these days, this one will be played to a finish with both extra time and penalties available to separate the sides should this be necessary.
In the league they currently lie in mid-table, having won one, lost one and drawn three of their five matches thus far. Their last outing saw them pick up a point in the battle of the whiney managers when Darren Bent's late goal secured them a draw against Arsenal slightly deeper into stoppage time than Wenger would have liked. By all accounts they were well worth the point, with Arsenal's goal scoring highly on the fluke-ometer. Here's a funny thing. In 1994, whilst playing for Civil Service FC away at Carshalton I scored a goal identical to Fabregas's effort. However, the fact that I was actually in my own half at the time makes me officially better than Fabregas, who, I am sure, didn't have to drive himself to the match in a clapped-out Nissan Cherry.
In the previous round they saw off Colchester 2-0, the goals coming as a result of goalkeeping errors from which Darren Bent was able to profit. As is the modern trend, the match was used to give a few squad players a run out, including defender Michael Turner for whom the match was a rare outing this season. Turner, with whom your correspondent shares a London hairdresser, has been behind Titus Bramble and ex-Hammer Anton Ferdinand in the central defence pecking order over the past few weeks, having missed the start of the current season as a result of a suspension carried over from last term. This being the League Cup he may well get a start this time out, with Ferdinand moving over to the left of defence to accommodate Turner in the middle.
As well as Ferdinand, Sunderland have another couple of ex-Hammers in their squad. Kieran Richardson started his career in Tony Carr's academy before being poached by Man Utd. A more meaningful contribution to first team affairs came from George “Linda” McCartney who spent two years at the Boleyn before returning in controversial circumstances to Sunderland whence he came in the first place. He's had a few injury problems and has found himself out of favour with Bruce (which puts McCartney up in my estimation) who has commented publicly on McCartney's “personal problems”. McCartney has yet to feature in any of Sunderland's matches this season – including the Colchester tie, and, though he was named in the 25 man Premier League squad, I'd personally be surprised if he were to play a part in Tuesday's proceedings. (Watch Bruce pick him now!)
Bent's usual strike partner up front in recent weeks has been former Man Utd striker Danny Welbeck. Welbeck has been selected in place of Frazier Campbell whose anterior cruciate ligament injury picked up in the 1-0 win over Man City will keep him out for most, if not all of the rest of the season. Sunderland's big signing during the transfer window was Ghanaian striker Asamoah Guyan. Gyan is, of course, famous for missing the last minute penalty in the World Cup quarter-final tie against Uruguay, a miss that contributed to Uruguay's passage to the semi-finals earning your correspondent £150 from his old office's sweepstake in the process. Gyan has yet to start a match since his arrival from Rennes, though it would seem logical to start him in a League Cup match if you're rotating the squad for such matches.
Us? Well there will have been a bit of a confidence boost from the deserved point up at the Britannia on Saturday, though that result will, arguably, be of limited relevance in this particular tournament, especially if Grant continues his own League Cup rotation policy which saw starts for Stech, Spector, Tomkins, Stanislas and Sears against Oxford. The arrival of cup-tied Jacobsen at right back for the league might see Faubert chucked into the mix for the League Cup. Obinna and McCarthy might also be given the chance to boost their match fitness. Kieron Dyer has also (much to his annoyance allegedly) been absent from first team action for a couple of weeks and is another that might get the nod.
Prediction? Well it's a League Cup match which is likely to feature a fair number of non first-team regulars on both sides. So it's a bit of a lottery really. But, having got one match against a team in red & white stripes right, I'm on a roll. So I'll go for 1-1 after extra time and you can flip a coin as to how the penalties go. We rarely win them but let's say a penalty win for us as I'm in a good mood.
Enjoy the game!
Last season (league): Drew 2-2 Went 2-0 up, opposition down to ten men, what could go wrong? Story of last season in a nutshell.
Danger Man: Darren Bent I can't see him as an international striker to be honest, but he's the sort of journeyman who tends to score against us. Especially if we have a non-first choice defence on display. Or even if we haven't.
Referee: Howard Webb Usually a decent ref, I thought he had a poor season last term. And that was before his World Cup Final shambles where his early leniency against Van Bronckhorst and de Jong was taken as carte blanche by the Dutch to continue kicking lumps out of the Spanish. Last seen by us failing to issue the statutory red card to Distin up at Everton when Cole was upended with only the keeper to beat.
Daft fact of the week: When Kevin Keegan advertised Sugar Puffs on the box a few years back, sales of the product plummeted by 20% in Sunderland, though the manufacturers are not believed to have lost too much sleep at the resulting £3 per week reduction in income.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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