The most recent three fixtures have provided a mixed bag of results for Sunderland. In the space of ten days we’ve gone from wrapping up our first home win of 2017 to getting thumped on Boxing Day, with a less than impressive 1-1 draw in-between.
It’s four years and counting since we were last victorious on Boxing Day; we didn’t come close to changing that earlier this week either.
The whole situation felt like a very Sunderland thing to do.
We had built up some momentum in the few matches prior - the two home games as well as the hard fought point against Wolves at Molineux. Sheffield United hadn’t won in seven matches and we were unbeaten in three, so it seemed fitting that it was Chris Wilder’s side that claimed the win.
The home games against the likes of Birmingham, Reading and Millwall are match-ups many of us would have looked at when the fixture list first came out as contests we should be aiming to win. The fact we didn’t beat any of those teams is proof enough of why we find ourselves in the Championship relegation zone right now.
The three points against Fulham should have had us going into the Birmingham match on a huge high; however in reality we never really got going against the Blues, one of the few sides in the division worse than ourselves.
It was an ideal chance to make it back-to-back wins but we made very hard work of the 1-1 draw. Our visitors that day were yet to win on the road - exactly the sort of team we should be punishing at the Stadium of Light.
The good and the bad of the Fulham and Birmingham home games were put into perspective by Tuesday’s horror show at Bramall Lane.
Every social media outlet and Newspaper covering the match (even the usually optimistic SAFC.com coverage) reported that we were incredibly poor - some claiming that it was perhaps Sunderland’s worst display of the season.
The game just had a sense to it that as soon as the hosts made the breakthrough, they’d get two or three. This is of course exactly what happened and, combined with our feeble looking attack in the absence of Lewis Grabban, there was only going to be one winner.
Admittedly, the relentless nature of the festive fixture list is becoming much harder due to our injury list. It seems likely that Grabban will miss both the Forest and Barnsley matches, so it really could be another chance to shine for the likes of Joel Asoro and Josh Maja.
I think it would be good for everyone’s morale if we weren’t in the bottom three heading into 2018, however the chances to do so run out upon the completion of Saturday’s game against Nottingham Forest, as 2017 comes to an end.