The odds on Sunderland being relegated from the Championship
plummeted once again after they slumped to a second consecutive defeat at the
The Black Cats were woeful in the face of adversity and rolled over to
allow Ipswich to leave Wearside with a comfortable 2-0 win. It was our fourth
defeat in five games and leaves us marooned in the relegation zone, in 23rd
place, a point off the bottom and two away from safety. We are on the brink
of suffering a second relegation in a row and dropping down to the third tier
of English football for the 2018-19 season.
Heritage sports will have odds, check them out and you will see that
Sunderland are odds-on to go down this season. Bottom club Burton are as good
as down for the bookies, priced at 1/5 to be relegated. Then Sunderland are
next in the betting at 8/13. Barnsley, who are a point above the relegation
zone, are 6/5, while Bolton and Birmingham – both out of the drop zone at
present – are 2/1 and 5/2 respectively. Hull, who occupy 22nd place,
are all the way out at 5/2 as well, with the bookmakers clearly seeing light at
the end of the tunnel for the Tigers.
It is easy to see why the odds on Sunderland
surviving are so short.
Chris Coleman’s arrival has failed to galvanise this beleaguered group of
players enough thus far, and Sunderland have won just once in 2018. The Welshman must sometimes
wish he had not accepted the job. The Black Cats were in the relegation zone
when he arrived, he inherited a defensive mess and he was not given a penny to
strengthen in the January transfer window.
We have taken
just 25 points from 30 games this season and that is absolutely pathetic. Even
the most optimistic of Sunderland fans could not have expected the club to
yo-yo straight back up to the Premiership, but this is ridiculous. This primarily after plunging into a financial mess. Simon Grayson was given just £1.25 million to bolster the squad in the
wake of a raft of departures. Contrast it with Middlesbrough, who kept most of
their squad together and spent £50 million on new players like Britt
Assombalonga and Martin Braithwaite, it was clear Sunderland would struggle to
even finish in the playoff places. A mid-table finish, a season of
wound-licking and consolidation, and then regrouping for a title bid in 2018-19
seemed about right. What fans would now give for a mid-table finish.
We probably need another 25 points from
their remaining 16 games if
we are to beat the drop, and it is hard to see where they are going to come
from. There were faint glimmers of hope in the Ipswich game: loan signing
Ashley Fletcher looked lively and held the ball up well, while Liverpool youngster Ovie Ejaria was full of
energy and industry. Sunderland could have done with some more January signings to
bring a fresh dynamic into the squad, but we will have to make do with what they
have got. Coleman is clearly a talented manager, but, as Ipswich boss Mick
McCarthy quipped, turning the situation around is like steering an oil tanker.
Coleman is not a miracle worker, but there is still hope.
Barnsley’s form is
wretched and they can be leapfrogged, and Sunderland might just be able to
muster up the energy to overhaul a Bolton or a Birmingham. Saturday’s trip to
Ashton Gate is crucial. The Robins have lost four of their last six and are
plummeting down the table, so they will be low on confidence and vulnerable. If
Sunderland can plunder a result there it could spark renewed belief on
Wearside, but lose and the spiral of doom will only lengthen.