Bill Murray stars as 'David Moyes', a football manager in a recurring nightmare. He must keep facing Burnley until his injury ridden team finally defeat Sean Dyche (played by Randy Quaid in this reboot) and his group of hard working, battling, groundhogs (principally portrayed by Joseph Barton).
What is David to do though? Well, he has two options. The first option is a logical one, where the manager plays his strongest possible team and tries to win the game. It’s not that straight forward though, since those eleven players are pretty much the only ones he has left. Should any of them get injured, he risks having even less men to choose from for Saturday’s crucial clash away to West Bromwich Albion. They could simply be exhausted as well, since the cup tie could go into extra time, which isn’t ideal after 90 minutes of football just three days previously.
So with that in mind, Moyes could always go with option B. Ring the changes. Chuck the kids in. Rest the decent players we still have fit, hope the youngsters pull a surprise out of the bag or, at the very least, see that the damage is kept to a minimum. This ensures a fresh(ish) team for the weekend's league match at the Hawthorns.
That said, Moyes didn’t opt to use any of his Under 23s in original tie between Sunderland and Burnley, so why would he use them now and even if he did, what would it achieve if he doesn’t see any of them having a future at the club?
It’s clear that this game is just an inconvenience for Sunderland. Don’t get me wrong, I want us to win it. I want us to win it badly. This season has been horrible and a cup run would be a small ray of light through some very, very dark clouds. The type of clouds that rain financial doom and impending trips to Bristol City. Burnley don’t seem to do losing at home this season though, even to good teams. So I doubt they’ll be rolling over to Sunderland’s reserves, unless The Clarets also make some changes of their own.
It means that the star of our story can’t escape his hellacious loop. Whichever of the two options David Moyes chooses, he’ll still end up in Punxsutawney, or Burnley in this instance. If he goes full strength and sneaks a win, he leaves his remaining troops feeling lethargic for their next battle and that’s with the presumption that they make it through this one unscathed. If he chooses to go nuclear and end it all, then just adds to the bad feeling surrounding him and he’s doomed to keep repeating the cycle until he finally finds happiness. God knows when that will be.
So just embrace it, Davey. Go mad. Through caution to the wind. Play all the right backs you like and dazzle everyone while you do it. It may not even see you get that fabled win against Burnley but Andie MacDowell is in the crowd and she’s impressed with your gaul. The love from her can inspire you to beat anyone after this night. Even Tony Pulis.
Whatever happens at Turf Moor, let’s at least see a spirited gaffer - a man who fears no one, embraces every challenge and inspires those around him. Never let us see Groundhog Day again.