Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Slump Goes on as Blank Cats Fail to Test the Reds; Sunderland ...............................0 Liverpool ...................................1

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Slump Goes on as Blank Cats Fail to Test the Reds; Sunderland ...............................0 Liverpool ...................................1

Article excerpt

Byline: James Hunter Sports Writer twitter: @JHUNTERCHRON

HOLD tight, it is going to be a bumpy ride.

Sunderland's defeat against Liverpool was depressing for lots of reasons - of which more later - but the fact the bottom four sides all won has dragged the Black Cats right into the relegation battle.

Victories for Leicester, Burnley, Crystal Palace and West Brom have closed the gap, the Baggies' win over Hull lifting them above Gus Poyet's side.

The picture has changed dramatically in the space of just three weeks.

After their Tyne-Wear derby win at the beginning of Christmas week Sunderland had a four-point cushion between themselves and the drop zone.

The four games since have yielded just a solitary point and the Black Cats' safety margin has also been whittled down to a point.

Of course, Sunderland's situation is by no means as bleak as it was this time last year when they had spent virtually the entire first half of the season propping up the table.

Yet there can be no doubt they are again involved in a relegation scrap.

The January transfer window offers hope of salvation - although there is little prospect of a spending spree.

Sunderland have been linked with an PS8.5m move for Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk this month but if that kind of money is available - and I am not convinced it is - then it needs to be spent elsewhere.

Because Sunderland's defen-sive record is not the problem. It is their paltry tally of just 20 goals scored in 21 games - and of those only six (four for Steven Fletcher and two for Connor Wickham) have come from recognised strikers.

Finding players who can score the goals to take Sunderland forward has to be the priority for sporting director Lee Congerton.

That lack of a goalscorer was not the issue against Liverpool, however.

Poyet tweaked his tactics against the Reds, and it did not work. In the first 45 minutes Liverpool should have taken advantage of Sunderland's diabolical defending. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.