Mixing and Matching: From Celtic to Bordeaux to Sunderland

By Ryan Fleming

It wasn’t easy, nothing really has been for Celtic during this season. Sunday morning the Glasgow side defeated Dunfermline, 4-2, in the Scottish Cup. New signings, Diomansy Kamara, Robbie Keane and Morten Rasmussen tallied goals and an own goal by Calum Woods lead the Hoops to victory and increasing ,perhaps boosting, their confidence coming into tomorrow’s matchup at Parkhead against Hearts.

Throughout the week the players and coaches alike continued to state that the confidence they once had after the Winter transfer window signings is still there even despite the team’s loss at Kilmarnock back on February second. If you watched Robbie Keane’s long celebration after scoring from the penalty spot late in the match on Sunday, his confidence never left. It must have been a huge lift off the Irish international’s shoulders – getting his first strike on his new team out of the way.

Goalkeeping, though, continues to be an issue with Celtic. It appears as if Polish keeper Artur Boruc isn’t what he used to be, but he still has many faithful fans on his side. Yet, to many, it appears as if he’s a bit overweight and quite lax when he should be steadfast and ready. Boruc has to be mindful that he has still competition in ?ukasz Za?uska, an international teammate. Zaluska has only started five matches this season, but I wouldn’t put it past Mowbray if we started to see a bit more of him.

Celtic’s supports continue to look for an overwhelming win, but they’re unlikely to get it tomorrow when a stingy Hearts team visits Glasgow. The team’s have split the previous two meetings, both winning 2-1; the road team has yet to win.

Ligue 1: Plan B

After the current Ligue 1 champs, Bordeaux, were handily defeated by Stade Rennes, a definite weaker side, Bordeaux’s manger, Laurent Blanc, who has recently been linked to take control of the French international team, decided that he’s going to play his “B” team to give his starters some rest. Recently, Blanc has been fighting with Ligue 1 over the congested schedule that the southern France team now faces.

With FCGB’s loss and Montpellier’s win, Bordeaux’s gap is now closed to only three point at the top of the table. Currently, Blanc’s side was given some relief when their Ligue 1 clash against Auxerre was postponed so les Girondins have extra time to prepare for their Champions League match against Greek side, Olympiacos. Before the delay Bordeaux was scheduled to play five matches in 13 days before the ruling.

Down and Out

Sunderland started the season as well as they probably could have. Recent signing, Darren Bent, was flourishing and the Black Cats were knocking off top teams like Liverpool. But now, it seems all is lost and the Black Cats seem almost destined to relegation.

After tying last weekend’s opponent, Wigan Athletic, 1-1, Sunderland hasn’t won a Premier League match since beating Arsenal at The Stadium of Light on Nov. 21. In that stretch, five points are all that has been salvaged.

Manager, Steve Bruce, remains optimistic in these deeply troubled times and says that the pressure mounting on him is nothing to worry about.

Later today Sunderland travels to Portsmouth, who finds itself at the bottom of the league table. The Black Cats are only four points out of the relegation zone and a loss today would only deepen the frustration and add to their woes.

Ryan Fleming can be reached at ryanrfleming@gmail.com.

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