Moyes’ rep­u­ta­tion tak­ing an­other hit at Sun­der­land

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

MANCH­ESTER, Eng­land (AP): AVID MOYES called it just nine days into the sea­son. Asked af­ter con­sec­u­tive losses whether it will be an­other rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle for Sun­der­land in the Premier League, the team’s re­cently hired man­ager said, “I think it will be. I don’t think you can hide the facts. That will be the case, yes.”

Ad­mirable hon­esty, sure, but ex­actly the kind of pes­simism Sun­der­land fans didn’t want to hear so early in the sea­son. It has set the tone for an­other woe­ful start to a league cam­paign by the north­east club.

Sun­der­land are in last place in the Premier League, with just two points from nine games, and are the only side in Eng­land’s four pro­fes­sional leagues with­out a league vic­tory this sea­son. It’s the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive sea­son in which Sun­der­land have failed to win any of their first eight league games, which hasn’t hap­pened since Bury did so in 1905 and 1906.

With Ar­se­nal head­ing to the Sta­dium of Light to­mor­row on an un­beaten run of 13 matches in all com­pe­ti­tions, the like­li­hood is that Sun­der­land’s mis­ery will be pro­longed an­other week.

Even for the great­est es­capol­o­gists of the Premier League, stay­ing up this sea­son will be some feat. The Black Cats may have run out of lives.

Sun­der­land have nar­rowly avoided rel­e­ga­tion for the past four years via the same means: A mid-sea­son man­age­rial change fol­lowed by a dras­tic up­turn in late-sea­son re­sults. Steve Bruce was the last man­ager to com­plete a full sea­son at Sun­der­land – and that was in 2009-10.

Since then, Martin O’Neill (16 months across two sea­sons), Paolo Di Canio (six months), Gus Poyet (18 months across two sea­sons), Dick Ad­vo­caat (seven months), and Sam Al­lardyce (nine months) have come and gone through the Sta­dium of Light’s re­volv­ing door.

Moyes is the lat­est in the sorry cy­cle, and re­cent his­tory sug­gests that he will not last the sea­son be­fore the club’s Amer­i­can owner, El­lis Short, reaches for an­other saviour to keep Sun­der­land in the world’s most lu­cra­tive do­mes­tic league.

“You can change one guy,” Moyes said, “but it has been proved in the past here, that is not the an­swer.”

DJOB TOO BIG

Moyes was in charge of Ever­ton for 11 years be­fore be­ing hired by Manch­ester United in 2013 as Alex Fer­gu­son’s hand­picked re­place­ment with the aim of cre­at­ing an­other dy­nasty at Eng­land’s big­gest club. He lasted 10 months at Old Traf­ford, the job prov­ing far too big for him.

Moyes at­tempted to re­build his rep­u­ta­tion at Real So­cieded in Spain, but was fired a day be­fore com­plet­ing a year in charge. Now it’s all go­ing wrong at Sun­der­land.

The squad lacks depth, al­though long-term in­juries have robbed Moyes of key play­ers such as goal­keeper Vito Man­none, mid­fielder Se­bastien Lars­son and for­wards Adnan Januzaj and Fabio Borini. His pol­icy of sign­ing for­mer play­ers from Manch­ester United and Ever­ton – in­jury-prone pair Steven Pien­aar and Vic­tor Anichebe among them – had an air of des­per­a­tion about it. Wor­ry­ingly, Jer­main De­foe, the 34-year-old for­mer Eng­land striker, ap­pears the only re­li­able source of goals.

Moyes’ lat­est dis­ap­point­ment oc­curred on Wed­nes­day, when Sun­der­land lost 1-0 at Southamp­ton in the fourth round of the English League Cup. Near the end of the match, Moyes was dis­missed from the dugout for swear­ing at an of­fi­cial when a penalty was not awarded for his side.

Has the 53-year-old Scot sim­ply lost his touch?

“Our luck’s out at the mo­ment, but it will change,” Moyes said.

TOT­TEN­HAM VS LE­ICES­TER

Le­ices­ter have lost by a three­goal mar­gin in each of their last three Premier League away games: 4-1 at Liver­pool and Manch­ester United, and 3-0 at Chelsea.

It doesn’t get any eas­ier for the cham­pi­ons, who must visit un­beaten Tot­ten­ham to­mor­row, Sun­der­land’s man­ager David Moyes.

four days be­fore play­ing in the Cham­pi­ons League against FC Copenhagen.

WEST BROM VS MAN CITY

Pep Guardi­ola is in the worst run of his man­age­rial ca­reer af­ter City’s win­less streak ex­tended to six games with a loss to Manch­ester United in the League Cup on Wed­nes­day.

While City re­main top of the league, Guardi­ola will avoid the kind of crit­i­cism that has been aimed at coach­ing ri­val Jose Mour­inho at United this sea­son.

West Brom are pos­si­bly the most dan­ger­ous team in the league from set pieces, and that is an area man­ager Tony Pulis will surely tar­get at The Hawthorns to­mor­row. I

ISUNDAY, OC­TO­BER 30

I I

MON­DAY, OC­TO­BER 31

I Sun­der­land’s Jer­main De­foe.

FILE PHO­TOS

6:30 am: Sun­der­land vs Ar­se­nal 7:30 a.m: Ever­ton vs West Ham

Bournemouth

11:30 a.m: Crys­tal Palace vs Liver­pool

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