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Sunderland were bad last week - lets hope New York trip did them some good!

It's been a week since Sunderland last played and I'm still narked about how bad our performance was.

Sunderland v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

I'm glad that Sunderland can't ruin my weekend this time around - although I'm sure they'll find a way to at least try and annoy me.

Because it's time for the FA Cup fifth round we have a Saturday free from pain, exhaustion, depression and anger - yet, I still cannot get over just how poor we were last Saturday, and how disappointing our entire display made me feel.

Everyone was on such a high after the 4-0 win at Crystal Palace only to then be completely let down by the result and, especially, the 'performance' against Southampton.

Our display against the Saints was simply unacceptable and I don't know how many times fans have expressed their discontent, to put it nicely, at watching our team collapse with almost alarming regularity.

The opening twenty minutes or so I thought we were decent but we didn't really test Fraser Forster anywhere near as much as we should have done. Still, there were some signs that we could, finally, get out of the bottom three - especially as Southampton also had a cup final on the horizon right after playing Sunderland.

Even in the five minutes before Manolo Gabbiadini opened the scoring, I could sense Southampton were starting to get a foothold in the game and we didn't deal with them well enough. What made it worse was that we effectively killed the game at half-time. If we had kept it at 1-0, we would've had a realistic chance of claiming a point and while it wouldn't have got us out of the bottom three, it would've at least closed the gap somewhat to safety. But after Gabbiadini's second goal, all hope of getting anything from the match was gone.

The lack of fight, drive and intensity in the second-half was immensely worrying. The ease in which Southampton scored their third and fourth goals was embarrassing to watch.

I'll give Southampton credit for the win because they deserved it and they are a good team. But while they are a good side, this was an outstanding chance to get out of the bottom three and we failed to take advantage of that. Southampton were really out of form - they hadn't won away since mid-December, their confidence was low, they may have had one eye on their trip to Wembley, and we were at home. We had also come off the back of two good results so for me, given all of that into consideration, we shouldn't be losing in the manner that we did.

The goalless draw against Tottenham, one of the best sides in the Premier League, and the win at Palace meant that in my opinion we had no excuse to let our heads drop the moment we went behind. I know our players are mentally fragile right now but those two results should have had them confident enough even at 1-0 to still get at least a point. After going behind, we stopped pressing Southampton and allowed them the freedom to do whatever they wanted.

Bizarrely before the Tottenham game I would have taken four points and, as mentioned in the podcast earlier this week, we won the fixture we really needed to win - away at Crystal Palace. But the way we crumbled on Saturday is what's so aggravating because all the work we'd done beforehand has been completely ruined.


In other news, the team seemed to be all smiles as the lads travelled to New York for a team bonding trip. This has certainly got a reaction to say the least.

Assuming this trip was booked around the time we went out of the cup, that would've been at least a month ago - so this trip had been planned for at least a few weeks in advance. The game against Southampton was never going to change that, obviously, the result in isolation was always to determine how some fans felt about the trip. Had we got a positive result, hardly anyone would be complaining.

David Moyes has done this before when he was at Everton and it's worked for him in the past - so as far as I'm concerned we should trust him with it. I know on some level people want to see the players punished, and to an extent I can't say I disagree, but let's see what happens after they return. If it works then great. If not, then fair enough we can question it later in the season.


Our first game after this break is at Everton. Joy!

Even if they don't have Ross Barkley I still don't see us getting anything at Goodison Park. Just to make it worse, I've forked out £60 to go to Merseyside and I've never seen us win away from home in person in the Premier League. We also owe them one for the game at the Stadium of Light in September. Let's hope we can get some Toffee-filled revenge.