Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Friday December 18 2009
City of Manchester Stadium
Steve Bruce has yet again demanded that the mentality changes within Sunderland Association Football Club but we still fear this game on Saturday against Man City. Sunderland have only won one on the road and this looks likely to continue unless we get stuck in, take any chances we create, and keep it tight at the bac. Easier said than done but it is possible against City who are leaking goals more than any other top team in the Prem at the moment.
Sunderland need to find their feet and get back to old ways of shocking teams with their style of play. Cattermole is important but we also need massive games from Fulop, Richardson, Reid and Jones. As long as we try I will be happy to go down to Eastlands. If we don't we face a slide down the league into the bottom half for the first time this season.
Mark Hughes said: 'We're back at home after two difficult fixtures away and we've got to get back to the level we produced against Chelsea. We're more than capable of doing that. We've just come through a period in which we`ve beaten Arsenal and Chelsea, and also shown great spirit and courage in difficult circumstances against Bolton to come back three times. Whether that had a negative impact on what we were able to produce at Tottenham, who knows? We've picked the bones out, but sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say: 'We weren't good enough on the night.'
Steve Bruce sighed: 'You are only ever as good as your last game and that's the frustration of football, especially, in my experience, in the Premier League,' Bruce explained.
'You are going along very, very well... we beat Arsenal a month ago and looked at the fixtures and thought, 'What a great opportunity'. We had a great win against Arsenal and shot ourselves in the foot against Wigan and Fulham in particular.
'Some would say - and a steward told me the other day - that's typical of Sunderland. It's typical, and that's what we have got to try to change.
'I have got to try to change that mentality and that's going to take time. But it is frustrating for us.'
City are looking tight for options going into the busy Christmas phase and have shipped some nasty injuries which will extend into January's crucial fixtures.
Johnson is of course out for the season. Bridge and Lescott are out for 5-6 weeks and SWP is rated doubtful.
Nigel De Jong serves a one match ban for accumulated bookings but Craig Bellamy returns in his place.
Bellamy has some kind of ritual over Sunderland as he always seems to either score or play a blinder against us! He will be fit and raring to go as he missed the defeat to Spurs on Wednesday for his red card last weekend. We need to keep a close eye on him and stop him from linking up with Tevez and Adebayor.
Sunderland will try and get Turner into the starting eleven but it looks difficult as he recovers from a swollen ankle in the last defeat to Aston Villa.
Cattermole will come in for Cana who serves a one match ban through suspension. Mensah may be drafted into defence if Turner is not passed fit.
Even VMC's page has declared Cattermole as the main danger to their points this weekend, at least we agree on something! Lee's arrival back to the squad could not be more welcome as we need more bit and directness in our midfield as lately we have created next to nothing for the strikers.
Sunderland have lost all of their last four league games.
City have shipped 13 goals in the last six games.
City 2 - 0 Sunderland Unfortunately I cannot see us getting a point on Saturday as we do not cause teams enough problems and Bruce still cannot pick his favoured centre back players and it is December!
Sunderland face Everton on Boxing Day in front of a sell out at the Stadium of Light.
Date:Friday December 18 2009
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|15. AFC Bournemouth||35||11||7||17||-20||40|
|16. Crystal Palace||36||10||9||17||-10||39|
|20. Aston Villa||36||3||7||26||-45||16|
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