Sunderland today moved within a point of safety after they defeated reigning Premier League champions Leicester City 2-1 at the Stadium of Light. An own goal from Robert Huth and a strike from the in-form Jermain Defoe set the Black Cats up for victory.
City’s Shinji Okazaki pulled one back but the home side held on for three vital points. The result puts Sunderland up to 18th, just a point away from being out of the relegation places. Leicester are in 15th as their league struggles continue.
Sunderland’s Revival Continues
Three wins from four games
Believe it or not, Sunderland are the in-form team in the bottom half of the table. At the end of October, after a 4-1 defeat at home to Arsenal, all looked lost. Confidence on and off the pitch was low and goals and positives were very hard to come by. However, since November, David Moyes has found a formula to get Sunderland going.
Off the bottom
Victories over Bournemouth, Hull City and current champions Leicester have given the club and their fans a new sense of hope. The league table, although not great, makes much better reading. Sunderland are now just a point from safety and with teams above them currently stuttering, a continuation of recent form should make the table look even healthier. Swansea City and Watford are to be played in the next three games, and if they can pick up points here, Christmas may be a joyous one around Wearside.
Jermain Defoe strike again
Once again the Englishman was on the score sheet. His second half strike gave him his eighth goal of the season. It was also his 151st Premier League goal and 250th in English club football. It’s no wonder he is such a massive fan favourite. Can England ignore him for much longer? Surely not.
Victor Anichebe’s good form continues
Since the former Everton and West Brom man came into the side, Sunderland’s form has picked up dramatically. Three goals, assists and excellent hold-up and link-up play have made him an unexpected but welcome guaranteed starter.
His performance today continued in the same vein that we have seen in recent games, playing a big role in the Defoe goal. His form has delighted fans and the manager who knows him well. Long may it continue for a man whom many had written off.
Jordan Pickford’s superb late save to deny Leicester’s Wes Morgan helped the Black Cats to cling on to victory. The performances of the local lad this season has made him a big crowd favourite. On this form, Vito Mannone is not getting back into the side any time soon. The current battle to be Sunderland’s number one could be coming to an end.
Sunderland dominated the opening period of the game, something rarely seen of late. Confidence is big thing in football and cannot be underestimated. The previous home win against Hull boosted the confidence within the side and it was there to see. Along with confidence the hard work on the training pitch is now showing.
Injuries strike again
Once again David Moyes has to contend with new injuries. This time both Steven Piennar and Jason Denayer came off at half time; Piennar due to an eye injury and Denayer through illness. The worst was yet to come though. England U-21 international Duncan Watmore was stretched off with a knee injury. David Moyes later admitted that it didn’t look good for the youngster.
Sunderland have undoubtedly turned a corner. Defeat at title-chasing Liverpool has been the only downside in a while. Although the Black Cats must face both Chelsea and Manchester United before 2017 begins, they also face Swansea, Watford and Burnley.
Points are definitely there for taking, but nothing can be taken for granted. One or two bad results could see recent positives forgotten. The signs at present are positive, however, and forward steps are being made. If they can get through December unscathed and with more points accumulated, the season could look brighter as we head into the transfer window.