Tag Archives: Sunderland

Sunderland feeling affects of injuries and absence of Bent

The Stadium of Light hasn't had been so bright for Sunderland sincethe sale of Darren Bent to Aston Villa during the January transfer window. (Courtesy Les Hull)

By Ryan Fleming

It can be hard to swallow, but the exit of Darren Bent has directly led to the downfall of Sunderland. Digest it fully, because it’s true. When Bent, an England international, was shipped to Aston Villa for 15m, manager Steve Bruce maintained that the team would trudge on without it’s best player.

Nothing that Sunderland has done backs up what the one time Manchester United star has said, and the most recent 3-0 loss to Fulham at the Stadium of Light further exemplifies the utter struggles that the team inherited.

In the team’s most recent loss, Bruce relied heavily on Stéphane Sessègnon up front to provide the needed attack while Asamoah Gyan, Danny Welbeck and Frazier Campbell sat out due to injury. The almost-forced experiment was a complete failure.

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Bent move makes sense now and Arsenal setting up title challenge

Darren Bent's exspensive move to Aston Villa was highly criticized, but it proved to be the right move last weekend. Bent's goal sealed an important win for Villa over Manchester City. (Courtesy Bad English Flickr)

By Ryan Fleming

It makes you think that maybe, just maybe these managers know what they are doing. A week after acquiring £24 million man Darren Bent from Sunderland, Aston Villa not only played with Manchester City, but beat them thanks to Bent’s first-half strike, not to mention impeccable keeping from American international Brad Friedel.

Personally, I have a soft spot for Sunderland, so after seeing him go, and the way it all happened, I was rather disgusted to see that outcome, but it got me thinking.

Perhaps Gerard Houllier does know what he is doing and maybe Steve Bruce, despite losing his No. 1 scoring threat can still get things done. Aston Villa had to dig deep, but they picked up Bent to assure that the club would remain above the relegation zone. My initial thoughts were skeptical. How could one player ensure that a club doesn’t go off the deep end and begin next season in the Championship? At least for now, the ex-Liverpool manager is looking pretty smart.

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Darren Bent move to Aston Villa could leave Sunderland lacking attacking punch

Darren Bent's proposed move to Astonv Villa would be his fourth transfer in England. (Courtesy Vic. T.)

By Ryan Fleming

If rumors of Sunderland’s and Darren Bent’s demise … I mean, change of paths are true, then I am utterly confused – sort of. After handing in a written request to manager Steven Bruce, Bent showed his desire at moving away from the Stadium of Light and on to bigger and better things. Really? Not quite.

Aston Villa have reported offered somewhere between £18 million and £24 million for the England international. The move makes complete sense for Villa, a team struggling against relegation zone and are as inconsistent as weather in New England. With the move for Bent, Villa are showing, to its supporters at least, that the team’s dedication to success can no longer be questioned and the fight not only against relegation, but to make an impression in the second half of the season, is on.

In regards to Sunderland, the move really doesn’t make much sense at least in the short term. Despite being managed by one of the best in the English Premier League, Bruce’s side has also struggled with inconsistency, especially as of late. Sunderland were embarrassingly shown the door out of the FA Cup by League One side, Notts County, after defeating Blackburn 3-0 and Villa 1-0.

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Upsets make Cup competitions worth it

By Ryan Fleming

It felt good. Really good. No, I’m not talking about an evening walk with someone far more attractive than I should be spending time with. Nor am I referring to getting a nonexistent raise or finding a real full-time job. What I’m gloating about is the FA Cup – all domestic cups for that matter.

Back in the good ol’ days Leeds United used to be the cream of the crop. Not just in England, but the world. Nowadays they are seemingly trapped in England’s Championship, continuing to fight, scratch and claw their way back up to supremacy, or at least a chance at it. This year could be the year that Leeds reach promotion to the EPL, currently fifth, good enough for the promotion playoff.

But now, unlike back in the 1970’s when things were simpler. Honestly, Leeds will never reach the glory or come close to the glory of their past. That goes for teams like Queen’s Park Rangers, Celtic, Rangers, Ajax, Benfica or even the basically unheard of Clubb Brugge (yes, they made it to a final). These are now the days of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich. This is not implying that these teams weren’t dominate before – they were – but now they stand above the rest even more.

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Chelsea: Not the Dominant Team We Thought It Was

Carlo Ancellotti will have plenty of thinking to do after Chelsea lost at Stamford Bridge to Sunderland, 3-0. Courtesy Dan Farrimond

By Kevin Koczwara

Sunderland thrashed Chelsea on Sunday, 3-0. No way around it for Blues fans, the London side couldn’t handle the aggressive, fast attack the Northerners brought to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea looked more like a team fighting for a middling spot in the table rather than leading the pack in the Premier League.

The Black Cats thumping of Chelsea broke Peter Cech and the Blues shutout streak at the Bridge – 915 minutes without conceding a a goal in league play at home. It was an amazing run, but not many could say they expected the almighty Chelsea to end its streak in such a ball of flames. A 2-1 win over a strong side, such as Arsenal or Manchester United, would have been the safe bet for the first goal to be scored at the Blues’ London home.

But it wasn’t, and now the pressure has to be felt by Chelsea manager Carlo Ancellotti, from the deep-pocketed Russian upstairs.

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What The Soccer Guys are Reading — Sept. 22, 2010

Wesley Sneijder was sold by Real Madrid last summer to make way for Kaka and Ronaldo, now he could be on his way back to Spain if Jose Mourinho has his way. Courtesy Paul Blank

The Independent — Serie A strike called off

Good news for Italian soccer fans: The player’s union and Serie A have come to an agreement and there will not be a strike this weekend. Players will play, and this weekend’s round of games will go on as planned. The player’s union and the league came to an agreement on six of the eight points of contention in the talks over a new collective bargaining agreement. The two sides will try and hash out the details for the remaining two issues at hand in the near future.

BBC — Sunderland’s Titus Bramble arrested over rape claim

Steve Bruce hasn’t had much time to celebrate his team’s miraculous, 1-1, draw with Arsenal on Saturday. Today, Bruce had to wake up and open the newspaper and see one of his summer signings topping the headlines. Titus Bramble has been brought into police custody because a woman has charged him and his brother with rape. Bramble moved from Wigan this summer to the Stadium of Light to bolster Sunderland’s defense.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading– Sept. 21, 2010

The Guardian — Tom Hicks fails in latest attempt to secure Liverpool private equity — by Owen Gibson

Liverpool fans have been begging and pleading for the club’s American owners to finally move on and sell the club that they bought in 2007 with so much promise. Tom Hicks and his partner George Gillett have struggled to pay off the enormous loans they took on when buying the club in 2007. Now, the debt has become too much for the American owners to keep delaying the big payoff and wait for a new buyer. The Royal Bank of Scotland has already started the process to take over the club and sell it if Hicks and Gillett can’t. Hicks was hoping to seal a new loan deal to buyout Gillett and try and find a suitable buyer. Doesn’t look like its happening.

The Independent — Messi was ‘hunted’ by Atletico says Pique

It looked like a break when the replay was shown, but Barcelona got some good news when the team found out that Lionel Messis injury wasn’t as bad as first thought. Messi was carted off the field after an ugly challenge from Tomas Ujfalusi left the player wilted on the field. Ujfalusi received a two match ban after the review board of La Liga looked over the tackle by the Atletico Madrid player.

Sky Sports — Cesc out for three weeks

Arsenal blew a goal lead to Sunderland on Saturday. And the team lost a lot more than three points, the team lost its captain Cesc Fabregas for three weeks. Fabregas injured his hamstring while scoring Arsenal’s goal on Saturday. Arsenal’s captain  joins Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner on the shelf. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal’s captain, could be seeing his English Premier League title hopes fading as his team suffers one injury after another.

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What the Soccer Guys are Reading — Sept. 13, 2010

It has been a great year for 23 year old Justin Braun. He has scored nine goals for Chivas USA and his manager thinks it is time for the youngster to get his international career underway. Courtesy chivasblog.com

The Guardian — Nelson Valdez hails a ‘dream come true’ as Hércules shock Barcelona — by Sid Lowe

The most improbable of wins, La Liga new comers Hércules defeats Barcelona at the Camp Nou, the Catalan’s home and a place that teams not wearing the Barca shirt lose. Barceloan just doesn’t lose at home. It doesn’t happen. Never mind to a team that was just promoted and by two goals. They don’t lose by two goals either, but it happened. And Nelson Valdez’s two goals are the reason, and he earned those two goals over his long journey from homeless child to international soccer player.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — August 31, 2010

Manchester City broke the transfer record fee in England when they signed Brazilian forward Robinho from Real Madrid just two seasons ago. But the little playmaker has been a flop in the Premier League and had to be loaned out last summer to his boyhood club Santos for the season. Could he be on his way out of Manchester for good today?

The Washington Post – Bob Bradley to remain with U.S. National Team – Steven Goff

After leading the United States Men’s National Soccer Team to the Round of 16 in this summer’s World Cup, Bob Bradley has signed a four-year extension that will likely make him the leader of the USMNT for another World Cup. Bradley, who took over following Bruce Arena’s dreadful performance as manager in the 2006 World Cup, had been connected with the job atop England Premier League club Aston Villa, but he agreed to terms with U.S. Soccer on Saturday night. German national Jurgen Klinnsman, who has lived in California for years, was rumored as Bradley’s replacement.

The Guardian – van Persie likely out of a month – David Hynter

Arsenal fans worried that Saturday’s match at Blackburn was going to be more of the same – a loss or a draw instead of what should have been an easy three points. While the Gunners defeated Blackburn, 2-1, Arsenal fans did see a familiar sight, as van Persie left with an ankle injury. It is likely the Dutch international will miss at least one month due to the injury, which rules him out of European Championship qualifiers for the Netherlands and Champions League matches with Arsenal.

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What The Soccer Guys are Reading – August 16, 2010

Uncertainty no longer looms over the move of Craig Bellamy from Manchester City. The 31-year-old will be soon celebrating somewhere else. (Photo Courtesy lfotbol)

The Guardian – Manager, player relationship will finally see Bellamy off – Daniel Taylor

The weeks of speculation surrounding Welsh international, Craig Bellamy’s departure from overcrowded Manchester City are all but ended after manager Roberto Mancini banned the striker from all participation with the club. Bellamy is most recently linked with Cardiff City, Sunderland, Tottenham and Celtic.

ESPN Soccernet – Seasiders start dream season emphatically

After a promotion to the English Premier League, Blackpool were picked by many pundits to finish last in the league. But after the Tangerines embarrassed Wigan Athletic 4-0 to start the season, the Seasiders have started off on the right foot while Wigan have to cope with a tough early schedule and internal player issues.

MLSSoccer.com – New singing sees Revs shoot up standings – Kyle McCarthy

The streaky Revolution are currently on a eight-game unbeaten streak currently due to new signing, Illija Solica’s goal that helped the Revs past the Houston Dynamo, 1-0. Coach Steve Nichol praised his newest signing and thinks that more hard work and effort could help the Revs build into a better team perhaps aiding them into the playoffs.

Irish Times – EPL, England need dream team to believe in – Michael Walker

England is still feeling the lingering effects of a World Cup letdown and with a league that already has the top spots guaranteed to only a minority of teams, Michael Walker writes that the league’s ratings could feel the brunt of this lack of excitement. A team from the outside, like Everton, needs to create some drama.

The Guardian – Magpies staying optimistic ahead of Man U date – Louise Taylor

Former Red Devils keeper, Steve Harper and Newcastle teammates maintain a level head before today’s clash against Manchester United. The recently promoted Magpies found some interesting ways to bind together and form a sense of camaraderie that they feel can help them through their trip to Old Trafford and the duration of their season.

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