Barclays Asia Trophy - What Have We Learned?

The aftermath of our frolicking in the far east has settled down - so what exactly have we managed to fathom about our new look side? Full backs are key in a 4-4-2, so having some would be preferable. Okay, so Colback looked strong when coming up against a good number of attacking moves. In fact, he possibly looks as strong or even more so as a left back than as a central midfielder – where his short passing wouldn’t fit into our new (or indeed old) ethic. [More]

Opening Day 2000 - Sunderland v Arsenal

In the second part of our build up to the opening game of the season, we look back to the turn of the millennium. Sunderland were entering into the era dubbed as ‘second season syndrome’ and quite possibly a pivotal year for Peter Reid. To make things a little easier, their curtain raiser for the season was against an Arsenal side... [More]

Brown Back In Town

Although pretty much all incoming transfers are interesting – which has made this a particularly interesting close season, of course – I must say that I haven’t got a clue whether Valentin Roberge or Modibo Diakite are any good at all. I would hope that they are better than the men they replaced (Matt Kilgallon and Titus Bramble), without the baggage, and probably cheaper too... [More]

Match Report: Sunderland v Manchester City Barclays Asia Trophy

Despite brushing aside Tottenham in the semi-finals, Sunderland march into the Barclays Asia Trophy final as the underdogs against 2011-2012 Premier League champions. There was a tentative start to the game as both teams tried to get to grips with the pitch, which was the resemblance of a mud-pit and arguably worse conditions than on Thursday as both teams struggled to maintain any possession. [More]

Stuck In The Middle With Seb

With Charis Mavrias soon expected to join Adam Johnson and David Moberg-Karlsson in Paolo Di Canio's options on the right flank, it is fairly apparent to all of us that Sebastian Larsson is no longer seen as a right midfielder by the manager. His pace is not what it used to be and without that trait, he doesn't really seem to fit into Di Canio's sharp, quick attacking strategy. The manager prefers the idea of having inverted wingers – hence Adam Johnson being seen as a right-sided player with his deadly left foot – and Larsson’s style of play would not be suited to being deployed on either wing as long as this game plan is kept intact. [More]

Sunderland v Tottenham - Barclays Asia Trophy

Sunderland looked very convincing in a 3-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Hong Kong to seal their place in the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy. Torrential downpours had threatened to postpone the game prior to kick-off, organisers instead deciding to delay the start for a half-hour and reducing the playing time down to forty minutes each way. The rain had eased by the new start time, however the large amount of standing water [More]