After two games Moyes predicted a relegation battle at Sunderland, in the end he couldn't even deliver that

It's all over at Sunderland bar a few cries that we're not mathematically down yet. Another four defeats and that will be the case and we can probably expect the drop to be confirmed before Easter at the current rate of form. 

He said Sunderland would be in a relegation battle after the second game of the season. In the end, David Moyes couldn't even deliver that.  Defeat to Watford yesterday removed the Black Cats from the battle proper and confirmation of relegation will follow in the coming weeks. 

Sam Allardyce revelling in defeat at Chelsea hardly helps but credit to Big Sam for sorting the job out at Selhurst Park. This afternoon if Swansea beat Middlesbrough the gap to safety will stretch to an insurmountable ten points and there's zero sign of life at Sunderland to suggest anything other than a sub-30 point total will conclude the season. 

Another flat performance yesterday at Vicarage Road despite Moyes suggesting after the game his side should have come away with something. There is nothing to cling on to in recent performances to suggest Sunderland will be capable of winning any more games. 

One win in the last eleven and five games without a goal is shocking form for a side supposedly staring down the barrel and whose last hope was the fabled inner-strength that emerges in the relegation run-in to resurrect the club. 

At Watford, Jermain Defoe, fresh from the headlines surrounding his England appearance, was isolated again and didn't have a shot at goal all afternoon. Adnan Januzaj spent last week declaring that critics who doubted his desire were wrong, only to prove precisely how limp he can be with a tame shot when presented with Sunderland's best chance of the game in the second half. 

Jordan Pickford was - as has been so often the case - the only bright spot for Sunderland in yesterday's game. Moyes again inexplicably left his record-signing, Didier Ndong, on the bench as if he was trying to prove a point that his decision to do the same last week was actually the correct one. It wasn't then, and it wasn't yesterday - but everything the incumbent Black Cats boss touches turns to something smelly, so that was no surprise. 

As for Moyes, Sunderland supporters need to prepare themselves for another onslaught of why he's the right man for the job still ahead of likely defeat away at Leicester mid-week then at home to Manchester United next weekend. The former Red Devils boss still has the debate sewn up and perhaps he does deserve a chance to rebuild the club in the Championship. It's just, well, the evidence on his prospects of doing just that is underwhelming. 

Set aside his success at Everton and his nine month labour at Sunderland has evidenced little sign of progress. The ethos of developing young players which is attributed to Moyes applies only to loanees, big money signings or those likely up for sale - Januzaj, Denayer, Ndong and Pickford. The rest of the academy lads haven't had a look-in all season and by certain accounts a chunk are likely to leave this summer. 

As for his first team - not one player has improved this season since his arrival except perhaps Billy Jones who has had his best campaign at Sunderland but who remains distinctly limited. The likes of Borini, Kone and Khazri have regressed alarmingly. 

Moyes' impact on the fan base is more difficult to quantify but a monetary figure may be applied once an indication of season ticket renewals is received. Many have switched off from his weekly expectation-busting sermons and watching Sunderland is little more than a chore. 

The man himself said last week that "there's a building job going on and hopefully we can try and all get it done together". A hint of realisation that there will be some fall-out and a chunk of support lost perhaps - many have no desire to join Moyes on this job 'together' with him.  

But with April having just begun and nine games to go, the relegation battle is now something that will happen to others - Hull, Swansea and Middlesbrough will fight it out for the final two spots - Sunderland are simply out of the fight that their manager infamously predicted they would be in. 


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A Tricky Task - Selling Sunderland to Players; Even Swansea City's Neil Taylor Doesn't Want to Come

A Tricky Task - Selling Sunderland to Players; Even Swansea City's Neil Taylor Doesn't Want to Come

Another transfer window is drawing to a close. Most of us will miss much of the finale due to the not-so insignificant matter of there being a match on Tuesday night. But, with some key positions desperate to be filled - have we now reached a leper-like status in world football - and no one wants to come to Sunderland mid-season?

A match-free weekend is usually a blessing; but when it's a few days before the transfer window closes and all you've managed to bring in is Joleon Lescott, it might be nice to be reassured by seeing at least one other new face holding the scarf aloft at the Academy of Light before Countryfile tonight. 

It doesn't look like it's going to be. In fact events are unfolding so slowly that - at the time of writing - Patrick van Aanholt still hasn't finally departed. Whatever your memories of Sam Allardyce, no one would it put it past the awld bugger to mess that around a bit to irritate Sunderland. 

It probably doesn't help that our Chief Executive has already slammed the door shut on his chances of further negotiating if there happens to be a last minute hitch. Martin Bain declared on Friday morning that the player no longer wanted to play for Sunderland and that he had all but kicked him out in pursuit of the £14m being offered. 

The club's official twitter account even followed suit by posting that 'Patrick van Aanholt has left Sunderland for Crystal Palace'. When he hadn't - not even yet, officially. Someone should take a look at that twitter account, it's a law unto itself. 

But, you know you're in a spot of bother when the promise of a little bit of money is now burning a hole in your pocket, and you need a left-back in by Monday to get him registered to face Tottenham, and even Swansea's Neil Taylor decides he really doesn't want to come. 

Taylor is an unpopular figure in South Wales. Swans supporters believe him to be lazy and possess an ego bigger even than Patrick van Aanholt. They were clapping their hands during the week when they read David Moyes might buy him. The nicest thing anyone had to say about him was that they would drive him up here themselves, but probably just kick him out at Ferrybridge and make him walk the rest of the way up the A1/A19 to make him have a good hard think about himself. 

But, it matters not, because according to the Daily Star this morning, the 27-year-old has turned down the chance to join Sunderland and might join Aston Villa instead. Brilliant.  

Neil Taylor really wasn't the answer - no matter what the question was - but if Neil Taylor doesn't even fancy it, there might be something of an image problem here. Taylor joins those slightly bigger names, but non-glamorous faces, Robbie Brady and Robert Snodgrass as two decent-but-hardly-superstar figures who wouldn't join Sunderland for all the riches in Ellis Short's mothballed war chest.  

It likely doesn't help that we've spent five years, almost solid, in the bottom three of the Premier League does it? And that this season looks like being the most likely yet that we'll finally succumb to the drop - because there just isn't any hope this time. No money, no hope, no plan, no thought to the future. 

And the manager has said that if he does manage to engage you in a bit of negotiation, that's only because he thinks you're cr*p. Whatever David Moyes meant at his press conference the week before last, when he said that anyone he signs probably won't make any difference - it didn't come across well to those who are constantly on the look-out for an opportunity to engage in a little Moyes-bashing. 

The Sunderland boss will always be punished for having the temerity to believe he could manage Manchester 
United. Despite possessing a better win-percentage than Jurgen Klopp presently does at Liverpool, Moyes will get a kicking for not being Alex Ferguson until the day he shuffles off this mortal coil muttering 'find me another right-back'. 

So he has a task on his hands in the next 48-hours. Either that or he's given up - perhaps evidenced by his trip to St Mirren yesterday to watch some 17-year-old kid who has yet to manage half-a-dozen senior games in Scotland's second-tier. Not really what we need right now David - nice all the same, thanks for looking. 

Let's hope something positive happens today - Manolo Gabbiadini, now that would be nice; but we really do have a problem if Neil F****** Taylor doesn't want to come. 

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