Black Cats lack an inch of self re­spect, Toons were bet­ter value

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS - BY GARY CHAP­PELL

SUN­DER­LAND are the most point­less club in foot­ball. What a com­plete waste of a Premier League place they are.

In fact, the sport would have been bet­ter served if Sun­der­land had been rel­e­gated last sea­son and New­cas­tle had stayed up in­stead.

It ap­pears from the out­side that they make no ef­fort to stay in the Premier League, let alone bother to try to do any­thing in the ac­tual thing. Jer­main De­foe – the club’s best player by a coun­try mile – must be cry­ing his eyes out ev­ery night at the sheer mis­ery of it all. Be­cause that is what it is with Sun­der­land; com­plete unadul­ter­ated mis­ery. There is not one jot of joy within their DNA.

And be­fore fans get all pre­cious and start whin­ing that you are a big club etc etc and no one ap­pre­ci­ates or loves foot­ball like those in the north-east, it is you we all feel sorry for. This sea­son alone Sun­der­land’s aver­age at­ten­dance is 41,845. That is the sixth high­est in the Premier League.

Tell me why those who run this sad ex­cuse for an or­gan­i­sa­tion de­serve such un­con­di­tional love, such un­re­lent­ing sup­port? It is quite un­fath­omable.

And how much longer can David Moyes con­tinue as man­ager? While the dog’s din­ner of the Black Cats is hardly his fault, surely he is one of the most over­rated man­agers in ex­is­tence? Why go for him af­ter Sam Al­lardyce? What could pos­si­bly have been on his CV that stood out? Won noth­ing with Ever­ton. Sacked when found out of his depth early on at Man­ches­ter United. Sacked at Real So­ciedad.

You can imag­ine the Sun­der­land hi­er­ar­chy rub­bing their hands to­gether at such medi­ocrity: ‘I know – let’s ap­point him’. What goes on in that Sun­der­land b o a r d r o o m? What stan­dards are they set­ting t hem­selves? What goals? Be­cause from the out­side look­ing in, there does not ap­pear to be any­thing re­sem­bling am­bi­tion what­so­ever.

They are bot­tom of the Premier League. They have two points from their 10 games – al­most a third of the sea­son – cour­tesy of two draws against Southamp­ton and West Brom.

Fol­low­ing their 4-1 thrash­ing by Arse­nal on Satur­day, book- ies were keen to dish out odds on them to fin­ish the sea­son with less than the record low­est points to­tal of 11, set by Derby in the 2007-08 sea­son. Moyes de­scribed that as ‘damn­ing’. Damn­ing? The big­gest dose of re­al­ity there ever was more like.

You just can­not see where their first vic­tory is go­ing to come from. They face Bournemouth away on Satur­day, then Hull. With Mike Phelan’s strug­gles since tak­ing the job per­ma­nently, that might be their best chance of notch­ing a win be­fore next year; their matches af­ter that are Le­ices­ter, Swansea, Chelsea, Wat­ford, Man­ches­ter United and Burnley.

But let’s be hon­est, their peren­nial strug­gle has be­come bor­ing. That drab story of will they won’t they sur­vive is tired and stale. No more re-runs please. It must come to an end.

Ne w c a s t l e would at least have com­peted. Rafa Ben­itez would have caused a few sur­prises. But Sun­der­land?

They ap­pear as if they have no self re­spect. So who cares any more? So please, just go. Go now and spare us all the bore­dom. – Ex­press News­pa­pers Olivier Giroud is fi­nally up and run­ning, over two-and-a-half months into the sea­son. The

The up­turn in form at Chelsea ap­pears to be the fi­nal nail in the cof­fin of Cesc Fabre­gas’s stay at Stam­ford Bridge. The mid­fielder is cur­rently side­lined with in­jury, but he strug­gled to break into An­to­nio Conte’s side when there were three mid­field slots and, now there are two, he sim­ply doesn’t fit into this side. N’Golo Kante and Ne­manja Matic have strength­ened Conte’s de­fence to over a pro­tec­tive shield, and if Conte is only go­ing to de­ploy two cen­tral mid­field­ers, Fabre­gas will not get a look-in. The ques­tion is does he leave in Jan­uary or stick it out un­til the end of the sea­son?

Palace con­tinue to ex­pose Liver­pool’s de­fen­sive vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties

For all of Liver­pool’s en­ter­tain­ment, they sim­ply can­not de­fend against the high ball. Twice, Crys­tal Palace pegged them back in their 4-2 de­feat by the Reds through James McArthur head­ers when they failed to clear their lines, and goal­keeper Loris Sun­day was one of those rare days when Ross Barkley looks like the world beater he’s been billed as. Far too much pres­sure has been put on the young Eng­land mid­fielder, and as a re­sult he too of­ten tries to take on the bur­den of beat­ing ev­ery man on the op­po­site team that usu­ally ends up with him los­ing pos­ses­sion. The 2-0 win over West Ham though saw Barkley back at his best, and mainly be­cause he put a big­ger em­pha­sis on dis­tribut­ing the ball rather than do­ing it all him­self. The mid­fielder smartly de­layed his run into the box so that Romelu Lukaku could pick him out un­marked to score the sec­ond goal with a con­trolled half-vol­ley, and he was rightly awarded man of the match. The ques­tion for Barkley re­mains can he per­form to this level ev­ery week? With his dip in form last sea­son end­ing the ru­mours of a move to ei­ther City or Chelsea, a few more per­for­mances like this could grab their at­ten­tion - and that of other ti­tle-chas­ing clubs - once again.

Mour­inho Fabre­gas Giroud

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