Sunderland Duo In Team Of The Week (6/2/17)
Sunderland are represented in the latest Premier League team of the week that has been selected by BBC pundit Garth Crooks.
Actually Garth is now down as a 'Football Analyst' these days, a posh term for a pundit then!
The performances by Lamine Kone and Jermain Defoe in the four nil victory over Crystal Palace at the weekend at Selhurst Park was enough to earn them a place in the side alongside the other, in the opinion of the former Spurs striker anyway, most impressive performers in the topflight over the latest weekend.
I think we'll already know ourselves, and not just based on the latest performance, why Crooks, we'll also not argue with it, selected the duo as part of his team but explaining his choice he told the BBC.
'Back from the Africa Cup of Nations and boy was Lamine Kone missed. The sheer presence of the Ivory Coast defender at the back for Sunderland was immediate, but did anyone expect the central defender to make such a difference on his return or to open the scoring against Crystal Palace? As for the Eagles, I thought that the sacking of Alan Pardew was premature and by definition the appointment of Sam Alladyce a little early. What Big Sam went through during the England departure would have knocked anyone's confidence and a little more time for him to rehabilitate might have been wise. I wonder if the former Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn manager has lost a bit of his mojo. His team certainly have.'
'David Moyes is a very lucky man to have Jermain Defoe leading his attack. I can think of half a dozen Premier League clubs who wanted Defoe's services. The reason Moyes has him is because he inherited the signing and the Sunderland manager is astute enough to resist whatever overtures he's had during the transfer window in order to keep him. The transfer threat has gone for now and just as well because the Black Cats have a monumental relegation fight on their hands. In fact they don't come much bigger than against Crystal Palace, nevertheless Sunderland absolutely destroyed them. To be three goals up at half time must have been a glorious feeling for Defoe, who took his goal with the usual dexterity. But to get the fourth must have been as gut-wrenching for Palace as it was exhilarating for Sunderland. Defoe is Sunderland's Premier League lifeline. However, the question is, can they keep him?'
It's always good to see the club represented in this way, and well played to both for their recognition, but the most important thing about the weekend was of course the win.
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Michail Antonio (West Ham), Andrea Ranocchia (Hull City), Lamine Kone (Sunderland), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Jermain Defoe (Sunderland), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City).