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Behind Enemy Lines Part 8

Behind Enemy Lines Part 8

More misery last night. Everton didn't even have to break sweat to take the three points at Goodison Park. Once again, two horrendous goals to concede due to defenders not getting close enough. A few hundred fans who travelled to Merseyside and the tens of thousands who missed a cracking Carling Cup semi-final to watch another inept performance from SAFC on the road. Season after season, apart from the odd high of promotion from the Championship, our magnificent supporters just aren't getting what we surely deserve. Yes, we haven't got a divine right to win games at the top level, but a stress free season once in a while isn't too much to ask is it?

At the beginning of this season, for the first time in a long time, our manager was making decisions that the fans thought was right. No players were playing out of position, the players the fans wanted were playing and his substitutions were good. Since November, though Steve Bruce has started making some strange calls. Yes, injuries and suspensions have crippled us this season but when mistakes are made like last nights you start to question whether Bruce is right for the club. Bruce decided to play John Mensah at right back and Nyron Nosworthy at centre half. This, in my opinion, cost us the game. Nosworthy was at least partly at fault for both goals due to his poor positioning. Mensah was very solid at full back and I believe he could have prevented Cahill & Donovan's goals. Bruce now has two high pressure home games against Stoke & Wigan to come. If he continues making these stupid decisions then Niall Quinn's opinion that 'Steve Bruce is absolutely the right man for Sunderland' may have to change...and fast.

Stoke City, Monday night, live on TV, from the Stadium of Light. Put this down as up there with last years games against Hull City & Chelsea. 2008's games against Middlesbrough, West Ham etc. It is huge. Another defeat wouldn't be critical to our season but the mood of the ones will be. If the fans turn on the players and/or Bruce, we are in serious trouble as the players confidence already looks well on the way to being shot. Another injury to Cattermole means we are once again short in midfield and it will be interesting to see if Bruce picks Jones on Monday, as the transfer window will have closed by kick off. One or two new players to lift the mood of the crowd may be important and Benjani could be one of them if we can agree personal terms. I'd love to think we can get back on track in this one, but sadly all optimism has been drained from me and Monday night could get ugly!

Prediction: SAFC 1 Stoke 3

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Take an improving Everton to win away at struggling Wigan. Put that in with wins for Cardiff & Forest in the Championship.

That's all for now,

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Writer:Paul Wallis
Date:Saturday January 30 2010
Time: 10:58AM

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