Since Paolo Di Canio took over at Sunderland, the fans have been on a bit of roller-coaster ride. They saw their side pull off an emphatic 3-0 win over their fierce rivals, Newcastle. However, just weeks later, they were then thrashed 6-1 by Aston Villa.
This once again brought the possibility of relegation back for Sunderland and left the fans feeling a bit uneasy.
They did manage to avoid the drop finishing just one place above the relegation zone. After the disappointing season, Di Canio has recruited well and is looking to survive comfortably.
Sunderland have been one of the busier teams in the transfer window this year and they have made some excellent signings so far.
The two that particularly stand out are Emanuele Giaccherini and Jozy Altidore. Since Altidore’s loan spell at Hull City where he only netted once in 28 appearances, he has gone on to establish himself as a great goalscorer.
He made sixty-seven appearances for Dutch outfit AZ Alkmar and found the net thirty-eight times. This is a great record for a striker that only cost what is believed to be in the region of £6 million.
Emanuele Giaccherini recently joined from Juventus for an undisclosed fee. He has appeared for Juventus 40 times in the last two seasons and has also received 14 caps for his country. Giaccherini was mostly played as an attacking central midfielder for Juventus but for Italy we have seen him deployed on either wing. Being only 5″6, his strength is obviously not one of his strong points. He instead relies on his pace and quick feet to beat a defender and then create chances for his team mates.
Also, after the sale of Simon Mignolet, they were forced to buy a new goalkeeper. Paolo Di Canio decided to buy Arsenal goalkeepeer, Vito Mannone. After joining Arsenal at the age of 18 he failed to establish a place in the first team and saw himself loaned out three times. At the beginning of last seasln, Mannone was the first choice for Arsenal as Wojciech Szczesny was injured.
Even after his good run of format, the return of Szczesny saw him once again out of the team. It looked as though a move was certainly going to happen for the goalkeeper, and it did.
The Sunderland fans saw their side produce a comeback to beat Tottenham 3-1 and reach the final of the Barclays Premier League Asia Trophy. It certainly looks as though exciting times are ahead for Sunderland.
Tyias Browning injury could save Brendan Galloway’s miserable season
Browning’s absence means Galloway might get a chance in the Sunderland first-team
Everton fans have often been wondering why Cuco Martina is playing at left-back this season, when the club have a talented player in that option out on loan. Brendan Galloway is currently at Championship side Sunderland but was not recalled in January despite the injury to Leighton Baines.
In fact, he might have been recalled simply because he is not playing at the Stadium of Light.
The Zimbawe-born defender has failed to have a telling impact on Wearside this season. He has not played for the Black Cats, who are bottom of the Championship, since the 9th December.
Instead Galloway has been playing with the under-23s. Sunderland boss Chris Coleman simply did not fancy him but now, it seems, he may get a chance. If he does, it will be due to an injury to fellow Everton loanee Tyias Browning.
Browning has suffered a groin strain, putting him out for the rest of the season. With Sunderland already short on central defenders, Galloway is in contention for a recall. Coleman explained as much to the Sunderland Echo:
“Brendan’s had a few U23 games and he asked to play in those so fair play to him.
“He’s trained hard, he might get a call depending on what happens with Sheasy on Friday, he could be in the squad. It is hard for him, it hasn’t worked out but I said to him 6 weeks ago, if you don’t move, stay fit because you never know. He has done that and so he may get a chance. “
This could present Galloway with the perfect chance to finally get his career back on track. When he first broke through at Everton it seemed as though Galloway was destined for the first-team.
But he has simply not developed since. A loan spell at West Brom last season proved to be a disaster and his spell at Sunderland has been, arguably, even worse. Being dropped from a team performing as badly as the Black Cats hardly acts as a measure of confidence.
Galloway could, however, have the chance to prove himself to Coleman and get back into first-team action. It will be at centre-back, not his favoured position, but right now the Everton loanee will take what he can get.
The England under-21 international is still contracted to Everton until 2020 so will be hoping he has what it takes to make it at Goodison Park.
This weekend might be his last big break at Sunderland to show what he is capable of.
Mousa Dembele links from 2015 highlight Sunderland’s plight this week
Sunderland’s hopes of survival in the Championship are fading fast. The Black Cats were comfortably beaten 3-0 at home by Villa last night to continue their miserable season. The appointment of former Wales boss Chris Coleman has not changed their fortunes and currently Sunderland stare down the barrel of Championship relegation.
Tonight, Tottenham Hotspur take on Juventus in the Champions League. One man who will be expected to star yet again will be Mousa Dembele. He tore Juventus apart in the first-leg and has done similar against some of the best midfielders in the Premier League all season.
Sunderland fans will be aghast at the fact, just three years ago, their side tried to sign the Belgian.
Back in the summer of 2015 Sunderland had just survived another relegation battle. Dick Advocaat was manager and the club wanted to stay well away from the bottom of the table.
Dembele therefore emerged as a transfer target and one that looked likely. He was struggling for form and fitness at Tottenham Hotspur at the time and Sunderland felt they could get hold of the player. It was reported by the Mirror that Sunderland were keen on the player, who had started just 10 games in the previous season, after signing his Spurs team-mate Younes Kaboul. The Daily Star went on to suggest Tottenham wanted a fee of £15 million for the player which, in hindsight, looks a bargain.
But Sunderland never got their man. They survived relegation by the skin of their teeth again that season, and were eventually relegated the season after.
Now Sunderland are being thrashed at home by Villa and looking at a place in the third-tier of English football next season. Meanwhile Dembele has more than rewarded Mauricio Pochettino’s faith in him. He is set to go head-to-head with Juventus in the Champions League yet again this evening.
Not many analogies sum up the reduction in ambition and performance at Sunderland more than their pursuit of Dembele less than three years ago.
Sunderland have gone from being linked with currently one of the most in-form midfielders in Europe, to picking over the debris of another home mauling. All of this in in less than three seasons.
Sunderland fans deserve better. They deserve what Tottenham get from Dembele and co week-in and week-out. Hopefully, with relegation looking likely, they can press the reset button. In three years time, perhaps Sunderland will be amazed at their rise from such a lowly position.
Coleman unable to halt Sunderland’s decline as Black Cats face relegation
Despite optimism upon Chris Coleman’s arrival at the Stadium of Light, the Sunderland job has only proven a poisoned chalice, with the club seemingly destined for relegation.
When Chris Coleman led Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, who could have envisaged that less than two years later he would be embroiled in a desperate relegation battle at the foot of the Championship, with a club that appears determined to tear itself apart?
There were plenty of eyebrows raised when it was announced in November that the 47-year-old would be the next Sunderland manager.
The Black Cats were sinking towards the third tier of English football having suffered relegation from the Premier League the previous season and the future of the club was unclear with American owner Ellis Short actively looking to sell.
Quite why Coleman opted to take the Sunderland job is anyone’s guess.
Perhaps the 47-year-old bought into a vision that he would be able to turn the club’s fortunes around and help Sunderland to finally fulfil its obvious potential.
However, the fact that he was about to become the Black Cat’s ninth manager in six seasons should have been the warning sign that the problems and issues that have underpinned the club’s demise are deep-rooted and entrenched.
When Coleman first arrived ay the Stadium of Light he spoke enthusiastically about rebuilding the club.
However, that energy and enthusiasm has gradually been eroded week by week and it now looks an almost certainty that the Welshman will need to commence his resurrection of the club in League One next season.
Tuesday night’s one-goal defeat against Bolton Wanders has left Sunderland rooted to the foot of the Championship whilst Saturday’s entertaining 3-3 draw against Middlesbrough means that they are four points short of safety.
However, only four wins in 17 league games since Coleman took over in November suggests that the Black Cats will need to produce an unprecedented run of form in the closing weeks of the season to stand even the slimmest chance of survival.
In truth, relegation feels only a matter of time.
A club in chaos
Whilst Chris Coleman will need to shoulder a degree of responsibility for Sunderland’s current predicament, the 47-year-old has been dealt an awful hand of cards.
Financially, the club are in a mess and owner Ellis Short has now been desperately looking to sell the Black Cats for over eighteen months.
Since purchasing the club a decade ago, the American saddled Sunderland with debts reportedly in excess of £100 million and has overseen relegation to the Championship.
The supporters have not been shy to voice their discontent, frustration and anger at Short’s ownership, yet the club will be stranded in limbo until a credible buyer steps forward.
The off-pitch chaos and lack of investment has directly impacted proceedings on it.
The club reportedly has an annual wage bill of £35 million that has all but swallowed up the first year of parachute payments and the £30 million received from the sale of Jordan Pickford in the summer.
Simon Grayson was handed the task of making Sunderland competitive in The Championship but was handed no money to build a squad. He spent less that £2 million in the summer on 10 new players.
The suggestion that Coleman would be provided with significant funds in the January window, in contrast to his predecessor, was little more than blind optimism.
The Welshman, who inherited a squad lacking in quality and depth, was permitted to sign just four loan players last month despite the team desperately in need of immediate reinforcing.
Coleman may have succeeded Grayson in November, but he has been forced to work under exactly the same financial restrictions.
The 47-year-old has consequently had to rely on his ability as a coach and motivator in order to try and improve results, although with little success as he wrestles with a complex group of players – some lack motivation, some lack experience and some simply lack quality.
Quite where relegation will leave both Sunderland and Coleman is unclear.
Without a buyer the Black Cats appear destined to suffer from a lack of investment that will leave the club in a desperate downwards spiral. The future certainly looks bleak at the Stadium of Light.
For Coleman, the decision to take up the managerial role at Sunderland appears to have backfired badly.
It remains to be seen how long he will be willing to stick with the club, but he will be fully aware that with every defeat the high-profile reputation that he built whilst in charge of Wales in being slowly eroded.
It may be easier to leave the sinking ship rather than stand on the bridge as it disappears beneath the waves.
The success of the Welsh team at Euro 2016 already feels like a distant memory.
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