Injuries Continue To Bite
David Moyes has revealed Lamine Kone is the latest injury doubt in his stricken squad. The Ivorian was on international duty this week and has reported back to the Stadium of Light with a twinge to his hamstring.
But, the Sunderland manager was quick to quell fears that there is something fundamental behind the continued felling of first team members which has dogged the start of his reign:
It is part of football and every football club has injuries, so you’re always looking to see why you have them, but ours have all been in games whereas if it happened in training you can look at what you’re doing.
It is nothing we’re doing at the training ground – but it’s a problem that we’re getting injuries because we don’t have a strong enough squad to cope with our better players being out of the team.
The current afflicted list in full is:
Out: Denayer, Kirchhoff, Borini, Mannone, Larsson, Cattermole, Januzaj.
Doubts: Anichebe, Kone and Pienaar.
Initial reports had suggested Denayer would be missing for two to four weeks with a pull to an abductor muscle, and whilst Moyes this morning described him as “a doubt”, he will still likely miss the trip to Stoke.
But, with the continuing injury crisis showing no signs of abating, questions will continue to be asked of why so many players are picking up short-to-medium term injuries, pulls and ligament troubles; especially when contrasting the current situation with the long injury-free period Sam Allardyce enjoyed during the latter part of last season.
The impact is plain to see, and it's the number of players being affected which gives cause for concern. If the start to David Moyes reign has been win-less and lacking in identity, it is clear that the injury situation is a major factor.
For now, Moyes has assured fans that "it’s not anything that we are doing in training" and “We’re working to try and get to the crux of what the problem is.”
Yann M'Vila Goes Before FIFA Tribunal
Nothing to do with us as far as we can tell, but after yesterday’s Yann M’Vila update, we thought it opportune to keep the sadly missing Frenchman at the forefront of supporter’s minds.
Never far from headlines wherever he goes, M’Vila is set to learn whether he will receive a disputed sum of monies from Dynamo Moscow from a wrangle which immediately preceded his arrival on Wearside last year.
The player has taken the Russian club to the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber over claims he was due a settlement figure when his proposed move to Moscow collapsed before he joined Sunderland.
M’Vila had trained in Moscow last summer with a view to a permanent transfer. In the end he signed for Sunderland instead and amidst some bizarre claims of his house being trashed, Dynamo cancelled the contract he had signed.
The case will be heard before a five-man FIFA committee next Tuesday; and whilst it has no impact on any possible move to Sunderland, it prompted us to recall, with a wry smile, the chequered history of Yann M’Vila:
- 2010: allegations of assault over a traffic incident and a court appearance over two prostitutes who made of with his belongings on the eve of an international match.
- 2012: allegation of assault against a 17-year old man believed to be his sister’s boyfriend.
- 2012: two year ban from the French Football Federation following a wild night out inbetween under-21 internationals.
- 2013: went AWOL from Kazan during the Russian winter break and sat amongst Liverpool fans during a Merseyside derby.
- 2014: furiously left the field of play having been substituted by Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini, and within a month his loan agreement had been terminated.
- 2015: during the period with Dynamo Moscow he was accused of trashing his rented house and some lurid headlines emerged about him wielding an axe.
- 2016: posts on Instagram in July that he wishes to return to Sunderland. On transfer deadline day updates his status to say he is in London. Then when no deal is forthcoming a further message emerges proclaiming he is “heartbroken”.
Littered throughout all of the above has been a constant kerfuffle during transfer windows. By all accounts he has had three medicals just at Arsenal alone. M’Vila had also been close to signing for Queens Park Rangers two years ago.
An observer may be forgiven for having viewed the summer rumblings and social media agitation with a modicum of suspicion.
In September, news emerged suggesting M'Vila may well sign a new contract with Rubin Kazan after all. A month later, with only six minutes playing time in the Russian Premier League under his belt, Yann responded to a fan’s question about a move back to Sunderland with “I’ll be there… if God wants”.
Clearly an adrenaline junkie, a move back to the Stadium of Light and what is looking to be another desperate relegation battle, should provide him with all the excitement he needs.
Chump of The Week
A new Friday feature, this week's media-idiots are the Evening Chronicle.
In a week when the Chronicle has been oddly excited by Steve McClaren, sports writer Craig Johns took to twitter to deny he had been taken in by this made up quote purporting to be from the new Derby County boss:
With Villa owner Tony Xia welcoming Steve Bruce to the hot-seat and proclaiming that Bruce had been his only choice and that he had not considered McClaren at all, Johns couldn't contain himself. As soon as he saw the above, he quickly logged in to tell the world that Steve McClaren had made up his "claims" of being courted by Aston Villa.
Craig sat back to wait with glee the Newcastle fans who would laugh at McClaren seemingly lying. Tragically the Chronic have now deleted all trace of the 'news'.
Even when challenged by the author of the made-up piece, Chronicle-guy simply couldn't understand what everyone was laughing at and posted this (now sadly deleted) comment:
We reckon the real reason is revealed in this article which describes the fear Newcastle fans are already feeling at the new appointments at two of the bigger clubs in the Championship. There is a tangible horror that Steve Bruce (Aston Villa) and more importantly, Steve McClaren (Derby), may upscuttle the Rafa-lution, with the Chron posing this headline:
Do Newcastle have anything to fear from Aston Villa and Derby's new managerial appointments?
Just imagine, for a moment - Steve McClaren leading Derby into the top two and surpassing Rafa Benitez and Newcastle.
As for the Evening Chronicle - if it wasn't so tragic it would be funny.