What start to 2014. Really loved spending copious coin on a taxi in the torrid weather conditions to watch it, I don’t know about you. So who's fault was it? Not Jozy's or Ji's...
It's just excruciating, isn't it? The stage couldn't have been set more perfectly for a Phoenix-like rise from the Premier League dungeon. Four league games unbeaten, facing an Aston Villa side in truly awful form, on New Year's Day, at home - it was destined to go wrong, wasn't it? We've done this whole Sunderland supporting thing too long to think any different.
The incredible comeback can't completely cover the cracks evident particularly in our back four, neither can its importance be undervalued. Not only does it continue our unbeaten run into a huge January - but it ensures we creep that bit closer to 17th. It's that grit and determination which could ensure our Premier League survival. Time to rate some players then…
Now this is all just getting really, really ridiculous. How is a person supposed to lead a happy, healthy lifestyle in tandem with enduring relentless torture every time Sunderland step on the pitch? Incredibly, we play the worst 75 minutes of football since our last trip to Wales, yet somehow score two away goals in one game for the first time this season to rescue a point – creeping ever closer to safety.
The bigger bonus than your Christmas box I’m sure, this was such an enormous and unexpected win. Simple maths would have you realise if we lost as we were expected to we’d be six points adrift. No prizes for guessing who got our man of the match…
Wey, we’ve only gone and beaten Everton away. Perhaps we didn’t do it with much panache and we certainly rode our luck throughout the second half – but for once this ride on the fickle lady didn’t end before full time. A win made even more gargantuan by Palace and Fulham’s irritating away victories, but we are just three points away from safety.
I'm really trying my best not to be generous with these ratings, such is my overwhelming frustration. However, the fact is overall we were not poor, but we relied on players who were poor to win us this match. Perhaps it's players who take the brunt of the blame, but maybe Gus Poyet deserves a little criticism. That is purely in hindsight mind, I don't think too many were arguing with the team selection before kick-off.
I think we all needed last night to cool down a little, gain some perspective and realise that yesterday was actually...yeah who am I kidding. This cloak of positivity is much too small to cover the major cracks oozing through.
There isn’t much point in me raiding the vocabulary bank in search of some superlatives which may vaguely describe just how important this match is. Quite simply the only thing that truly matters in a game like this is winning three points. We need to turn the mountain that is survival into a molehill and replicating the quality and application shown in the latter stages of that incredible win over Chelsea will go some way to securing that. We probably all earmarked this game at the start of the season as a win but let’s not be too naïve in dismissing the very real possibility that Norwich can cause us problems.
Nights like these is what being a Sunderland fan is all about. It's was not all rosey, there was a contrast in brilliant and poor performances. Thankfully the majority were brilliant, as was Gus Poyet who made the perfect substitutions at the right moments.