Been away... Missing my acerbic wit?
Unlikely. Does anyone actually read this stuff?
SNAFU at Sunderland, it would appear. The one ray of light is that the results are minimizing the goal difference erosion. That means, it's turning round, and like a supertanker, it takes an awful long time. I keep harping on about goal difference because it tells you what's really going on. Sunderland are shipping over one goal per game MORE than they score. That's bad. You can't win anything like that. You can't stay in the Premiership like that. You don't actually need to score many (although you can't win games without scoring), but so long as defensively you can hold the other teams at the same goal level, you're going to garner just enough points. Problem is, sometimes you don't, therefore you've got to score some goals and you've got to win some games.
The bigger problem for Sunderland is that other teams in the lower part of the table are playing like they don't want to get relegated. Although to be fair, yesterday's (Saturday 14th Dec) results would suggest that West Brom, Fulham and Sunderland really ought be relegated. The Sunderland game was reminiscent of the final game between two of the teams that got relegated last season (I can't even be bothered looking them up - QPR was it? That game was so turgid that the FA should have demoted them two divisions instead of one. West Brom haven't hung around apportioning blame, nor Fulham for that matter, only the week or so before. Funny. Is Poyet's job secure? I guess so, for the moment. I believe that Pulis can rescue Palace. His job's secure anyway. Why Stoke let him go is anyone's guess. So, there you go, Sunderland can't assume they have a god given right to stay in the Premiership. They can't just expect three other teams to fuck up. They've got to show blood, sweat and tears. They've got to fight their way to survival, like it's life and death - football's much more important than that... Palace look to be doing that. Sunderland don't.
At the other end of the table, the Arsenal/City match was fairly telling. City's goal difference is pushing 2 goals per game, which is nearly TWICE as good as all the other teams around them. They're winning big. That'll surely win them the league. I think Arsenal needed to win that game to psychologically show that they can't be stopped, but City have, I believe, inflicted a mortal blow. Now, it's down to other teams to stop City. And yes, I know Sunderland did it, but so what? Sunderland aren't challenging for the title. Sunderland are fighting for their lives. Not only do they have to beat the likes of City, but they've got to screw the easier targets, like West Brom, like Fulham, like Cardiff, like...
Another ray of light (for me at any rate) is Wolves looks as though they might have decided that automatic promotion might be the way to go - surely it is). Yesterday's game was worrying though. Once again, the thought of dicking about in the promotion playoffs seems to be halfway acceptable to some of the team. They've got fight like it's life and death too... So it doesn't matter where you are or in what league, the problem is the same, there's 17 or 21 teams that want to utterly destroy your club. Unless you want to do the same to them, you're fucked. And City have just done it to Arsenal. City WILL will win the league.