We can all take an awful lot out of the Capital One Cup final, that includes Seb Larsson, who looked a completely different footballer on Sunday. He looked a player with direction and even some composed impetuous, all of which doesn’t sit with the vast majority of his showings for SAFC. With his contract running out in the summer – is this a one-off or can he earn himself a new deal?
After being dropped from the squad altogether for the Capital One Cup final it is well and truly make or break time for Jozy Altidore. How he reacts to the disappointment will define his SAFC and possibly even Premier League career. Our FA Cup quarter final tie against Hull City couldn’t be a better opportunity for him, should he get it.
Look, if you haven’t already gotten over last weekend’s cup final defeat to Manchester City then it’s definitely about time you did. Don’t have another lie in, have a shower. It’s time to get out of your pit and cheer yourself up. Maybe even throw those lucky underpants that you’ve had on since Sunday in the washing machine, because you’ll be needing them again for Sunday.
When Vito Mannone saved Rafael Da Silva’s penalty at Old Trafford last month, my mind jumped into warp speed; “we’re going to Wembley! Are SAFC really going to Wembley? When is it?” Since Gus Poyet arrived on Wearside has almost been nothing but positive; players performances - positive, mental attitude in games - positive, cup runs - positive.
To say that this weekend has been the greatest of my life would be an understatement. After daring to dream for months, the wait was over. Over 31,000 SAFC fans made the long trek from Wearside down to Wembley. It was the first time I’d been personally, and the first time I’d seen my team in a cup final, with the last one coming over a year before I was born.
The best thing Gus Poyet can do to show his players how much Sunday means to the people of Sunderland is to play back the DVD of the 1973 Cup Final on Sunday morning. I assume managers have probably done so in the past before big games in an effort to bring the players to our level, and some may have failed when it came to the big occasion, but I sense that the current group of players might respond well to it, knowing in hindsight what their potential achievements can bring to their lives and their status within the world of football.
What do you want your club to achieve as a fan? An occasional win against one of the big boys, another win against the Scum, a top half finish, winning the league, a European place, survival or a trip to Wembley and a cup win?
The Premier League has felt like a sideshow, and in recent weeks an inconvenient one, since Vito Mannone’s save sent SAFC into the Capital One Cup final. The players have had four League games with a FA Cup tie sandwiched in between to stake their claim for a spot in Gus Poyet's starting eleven – so who deserves it? I’m sure most of you won’t agree with me but this is the team I’d like to see walk out at Wembley.
I am partial to a piece of humble pie. I wrote back in the beginning of October that John O’Shea should be stripped of the captain’s armband, advocating that his influence on the pitch wasn’t enough to warrant the accolade and lambasting his naïve and hesitant defending. Ask most Sunderland fans regarding the most talented defender in red and white and they will invariably point to Wes Brown (and quite right they should do so) – but it’s about time O’Shea gets a huge pat on the back. It’s took a while, but I’ve prised my own foot out of my mouth to do just that.
Sunderland have had undeniable success in the loan market this year, with Ki Sung-Yueng, Fabio Borini and Marcos Alonso all establishing themselves on Wearside. But what is SAFC’s best loan team? In the first of three parts, we’ll look at some of our best defensive loan signings.