Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Groundhog Day as Cats Stumble Again; MATCH ANALYSIS

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Groundhog Day as Cats Stumble Again; MATCH ANALYSIS

Article excerpt

Byline: James Hunter

Birmingham City .......2 Sunderland ............... 1 AFTER the delight of a draw at Old Trafford and the glory of a win over Liverpool, Sunderland fans must have feared the worst against Birmingham.

Because when it comes to falling flat on their faces, no-one does it better than the Black Cats.

Steve Bruce's side have been both fantastic and frustrating in the first quarter of their Premier League campaign - more often than not, swinging from one extreme to the other in consecutive games, with good home performances all too often followed by a flop away from home against the so-called lesser lights.

So it was they beat Blackburn at home back in August, only to crash at Stoke in their next league game, and so it was in September when they crushed Hull at the Stadium of Light and then were blitzed by Burnley at Turf Moor.

Now their inconsistency has reared its ugly head for a third time, with Sunderland following their magnificent displays against Man U and Liverpool with a real stinker at St Andrew's - at least for the first hour or so.

And so concerned is Bruce about the pattern that is developing that he is considering changing his whole approach to away games to avoid yet another repeat.

"It's fair to point out that pattern - it's there for everyone to see," said Bruce.

"Away from home against Stoke, Burnley and now Birmingham, we haven't taken anything from those games.

"And it's in those three games that we haven't got anywhere near the standards that we've set ourselves.

"Out of 10 games, the three away games we've had against so-called less-fashionable clubs we have been very disappointing.

"We've seen 'after the Lord Mayor's Show' style performances too many times.

"That's the frustration and that's what we need to put right.

"Maybe we're too open away from home at times.

"We'll have to analyse that and maybe have a different approach away from home, in terms of personnel or formation. …

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