clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Has hope hindered Sunderland’s progression?

Twelve points from safety? No bother. Not won since the beginning of February? Yeah, so what. Only scored two goals in three months? Who cares. Despite everything pointing to relegation, there is still that slim glimmer of hope that we could actually pull off a great escape once more.

Arsenal v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Hope is a weird thing. Hope can drive a man insane. Hope keeps us going in times of immense despair. And hope is exactly what this club constantly offers us year after year; however it isn’t really something to cherish.

It is only human nature to cling on to the slimmest glimmers of hope. No matter how bleak a situation is, there is always the hope that it may get better. A situation can feasibly change in an instant despite it looking, well, hopeless. Pesky reality would suggest that there is absolutely zero chance Sunderland will pull themselves out of the relegation mire, but there is always just that ounce of hope.

Maybe it’s the fact that we’ve all gone completely delirious trying to remember the team scoring a goal prior to Easter Saturday, but we couldn’t pull off the impossible again, could we? We’ve done it before, in fact we’ve done it three times before. We’ve done it with a worse squad (Danny Graham and Jordi Gomez, anyone?), we’ve done it with a harder run-in and we’ve done it with less games to spare.

Manchester City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

So, could we do it?

David Moyes may be completely useless, but the West Ham game at least showed that there is some fight in this team. The usual problems remain - we can’t defend, we struggle to create and then waste good chances and we’ve got the inevitable clanger in us. However, with six games remaining and with a favourable run of games it is not outside the realms of possibility that we can survive.

The ingredients are all there from our previous escapes. The beleaguered manager (Gus Poyet, 2014), the unlikely hero (swap the Brylcreemed Connor Wickham for the perfectly smooth head of Wahbi Khazri) and the old stager looking for one last hurrah (literally Jermain Defoe every game he plays).

Wednesday represents what could possibly be the start of the most unlikely of resurrections. Middlesbrough are almost as rotten as we are, and while they will still hold out hope that they can survive themselves, the nerves will be jangling at the Riverside Stadium. On the flipside, our dire situation could perversely lift a little pressure priming us to give the Teessiders an absolute pasting.

Sunderland v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The trio of games against Bournemouth, Hull City and Swansea City would ordinarily be an opportunity to haul ourselves back into contention. Bournemouth will be dreaming of spraying giant bottles of champagne about in Marbella while both Hull and Swansea could be hitting that ultra twitchy stage of the season.

We on the other hand can play with a little bit of freedom. We've known we've been relegated since August (well, Moyesey has), so we should throw caution to the wind and perform with a little willful abandon. What is there to lose? Relegation may look like a foregone conclusion but an unlikely set of results and we put ourselves in with a fighting chance.

Allow me to indulge a little. Collect nine (perhaps ten) points in the next four games and that would put us two points adrift with a game in hand (providing the others don't put together a similar run). Then all that remains is facing Arsenal and Chelsea, both of which will have an FA Cup final on the brain, and the latter may have already wrapped up the title.

Catch them on an off-day and, hey presto, we've done it again.

Do I honestly believe this will happen? Of course not, but where this is a glimmer of hope we will hold on to it.