Thursday, November 15, 2007

Season Summaries--16. Sunderland

16. Sunderland (My preseason prediction: 17th)

I'll tell you what, Sunderland boss Roy Keane has done an outstanding job at the Stadium of Light, not just in leading the Black Cats to promotion last season but also guiding them through some times this season. If you based the table on competitiveness and how hard each team plays, Sunderland would be much higher up than they currently are and I'm very impressed with how they've competed in almost every single game this season.

With all of that being said, however, the table is based on points and right now, Sunderland have 10 through 13 games. They've already played Liverpool (2-0 loss), Arsenal (3-2 loss), and Manchester United (1-0 loss), but unfortunately for them, they've also played Wigan, Birmingham, Middlesbrough, and Fulham, and didn't gain enough points from those four games to create a buffer zone between them and the teams in the relegation battle. Trinidad and Tobago international striker Kenwyne Jones has been a revelation for the Black Cats (a poor man's Didier Drogba), and Craig Gordon has been pretty good between the sticks despite the team's overall record. Kieran Richardson's return from injury will be a major boost for this club as he played well in the three games before he got hurt and provides pace down the wing and good aerial service for Jones. I don't think Sunderland will go down this season and a lot of that is based on just pure grit, heart, and effort, things that can make up for a lack of widespread talent and things that Wigan, Boro, and Derby don't have.

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