(Kyle’s Note: Braxton pretty much explains it all himself! Enjoy. I’ll be back soon.)
It’s day three of my “what if the season EPL season ended today” series and the last of the three teams set to be relegated is Sunderland.
Sunderland’s struggles were evident from the first kick off of the season. Sunderland didn’t score a victory in the EPL season until Oct. 27 against Newcastle. That losing streak includes a dreadful 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace on Sept. 31. The club did get back-to-back victories over Southampton and Manchester City in early November, but I take that Man City win with a grain of salt because of City’s mighty struggles away from the Ethiad. Things won’t get much easier for Sunderland at the end of 2013 as the side will take on Everton today and a better than expected Cardiff City.
In the Man City win, Sunderland didn’t actually win the game. They got a lucky goal early and then caught some lucky breaks on defense as 40 of the last 45 minutes of the match were played in the Sunderland defensive half.
Arguably, the strength of Sunderland is the back line with Phil Bardsley and John O’Shea being the anchors, but great defense doesn’t necessarily equal wins because you have to be able to put the ball in the net. Sunderland is suffering with Jozy Altidore much like Seattle did this season with Clint Dempsey. They just aren’t the same players in club play as they are in international play with the USMNT.
In the January transfer window, Sunderland must sign some serious offense to hope to climb out of the bottom three and stay in the EPL. Unfortunately for the club, they’re going to have to rely on name and previous successes alone to sign players in the transfer window because like I mentioned in yesterday’s post about Fulham, no one is going to sign a long term deal with the threat of spending next season in the FL Cup.