After that incredible game of football there was a mixed bag of good and bad performances – which I guess you’d expect when we score three but concede four. Here are our thoughts on the heroes and culprits;
Jozy Altidore scored. Phil Bardsley scored minutes after an own goal. We scored from three set pieces. John O’Shea scored. We scored three goals. We witnessed one of best performances from an opposition player at the Stadium of Light. Erm, what's ganin on?!
It was nice that, the not being bottom thing, yet before another ball is kicked by Sunderland we're back where we started last weekend. In truth, it should have little impact on today's game, which was intimidating even when we were riding high in 19th. Our inability to score away from home makes games like this quite frighteningly important.
This ladies and gentlemen is what it is like to witness a good away performance over ninety minutes without the red cards and other nonsense. I’m not beaming with pride nor racked with disgruntlement. I don’t feel it’s necessarily to lavish a great deal of praise but neither do I sense that impending doom is upon us. Despite how big a point it is and how admirable a performance it was, it all feels a bit…meh…really.
Well, that whole Stoke malarkey didn't go to plan whatsoever. Time for a new plan and give ourselves a fighting chance of that illusive away victory. Next is Aston Villa in what should be an intriguing encounter.
We visit Aston Villa on Saturday in yet another huge game. Well, let’s be honest, every game is massive when you’re bottom of the table. For some insight from the other side, Damian from Villa’s best blog site The Villa Blog (@thevillablog) kindly spent the time answer some questions on Sunderland, Paul Lambert and the match.
So the Britannia is next, a Stadium which hasn’t imposed it’s famed toughness on us in recent years. It is a huge game to help us keep up the momentum built in our two momentus recent home wins. It is also a big game for Stoke City and we were lucky to get a few moments of ESPN blogger James Whittaker’s time (@northstokie) to talk about Sunderland, Stoke, Mark Hughes, the relegation battle and of course the weekend’s match.
I think the international weekend was perfect timing, contrary to the belief it could have dampened the high of winning two massive home games. I’m sure the players selected went about their national team duties with much bigger smiles on their faces than the break in September whilst those left back at home continued to swat up on an information-heavy footballing philosophy. Preparation is key and we visit Stoke City who are a completely different prospect to the Stoke who have only scored once against us in the last four meetings.
Well, I'm not sure if I was expecting that. Tribal loyalties mean I'm not on as much of a high as I was after the Newcastle win, but the organisation of our defence and the heart our players proved the seeming ease we are showing to a commitment to possession football from the back make this the most heartening performance from the club in months.
Well, that was certainly fun but now we have got to face up to the stark reality once more that we are still stuck in the rut of a relegation battle. It would be pretty ludicrous of me to suggest this weekend’s game against Hull City is as important our win against the Mags – but it can’t be too far behind in the context of our season.