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The Tyne Wear Derby is the one fixture the whole of Tyneside and Wearside look forward to the most. There’s nothing more satisfying then getting one over your heated rivals. Sunderland have somewhat of a winning streak over the Mags and are hoping to continue that trend when the two sides meet at St James’ Park, but until then, there’s plenty other games to play including a Capital One cup quarter final against Aston Villa, and that match kicks off the month of December!
Tuesday 2nd December 2014: Capital One Cup Quarter Final
Sunderland 2 Aston Villa 1
Mannone/ Robson/ Coates/ O’Shea/ Bryam/ Giaccherini/ Larsson/ Gomez (Alvarez)/ Mavrias (Buckley)/ Wickham/ Fletcher
Goals: Wickham 42’ 68’ N’Zogbia 57’
MOTM: Wickham (Sunderland)
My target for this competition was to reach the quarter finals, anything else is a bonus. Former Newcastle winger, Charles N’Zogbia, made things nervy for us after he levelled things on the 57th minute but our quality saw us through thanks to a second from Connor Wickham. We march on to the semi-finals where former cup winners Swansea City stand between us and a second cup final appearance.
Saturday 6th December 2014: Barclays Premier League
Liverpool 1 Sunderland 1
Mannone/ Van Aanholt/ Ake/ O’Shea/ Jones/ Wickham/ Cattermole/ Rodwell (Bridcutt)/ Johnson (Mavrias)/ Alvarez (Altidore)/ Fletcher
Goals: Fletcher 24’ Balotelli 45’
MOTM: Mignolet (Liverpool)
For a club that’s gunning for the Premier League title they didn’t seem to look like one. We were Liverpool’s equal for the entire game, just a shame we never got the well-deserved victory but still, a draw against Liverpool at Anfield is still a great result and helps continue this impressive run in what is a difficult Christmas period.
Saturday 13th December 2014: Barclays Premier League
Sunderland 2 West Ham United 0
Mannone/ Van Aanholt/ Ake/ O’Shea/ Byram/ Wickham/ Cattermole/ Rodwell (Bridcutt)/ Johnson (Larsson)/ Borini/ Fletcher (Alvarez)
Goals: Borini 36’ (p) Johnson 48’
MOTM: Johnson (Sunderland)
A well-deserved victory for us. The victory was never in doubt as West Ham just didn’t seem to turn up for the game. No wonder they occupy one of the relegation spots in the table. Our win has handed to us on a silver platter but we mustn’t think this will happen on a regular basis.
Up next, it’s the Tyne & Wear Derby. Recently, Sunderland have been victorious over the Mags in recent seasons. My press conference was all about whether or not I could continue this winning streak against our fierce rivals
“Let’s not kid ourselves here, this is going to be a tough game. Newcastle are a tough side filled with some quality players, they top the league for a reason and that’s because they are a good side. We just need to stick to our game plan, take our chances when they come and walk away with a pleasing result which will stratify our supporters.”
One of the follow up questions was regarding the famous Paulo Di Canio “dirty knees” celebration. My response
Saturday 20th December 2014: Barclays Premier League
Newcastle United 0 Sunderland 3
Mannone/ Van Aanholt/ Ake/ O’Shea/ Byram/ Wickham (Larsson)/ Cattermole/ Rodwell (Bridcutt)/ Johnson/ Fletcher/ Borini
Goals: Borini 64’ Rodwell 79’ Fletcher 89’
MOTM: Fletcher (Sunderland)
Did I get dirty knees? Nope, but this result did earn me Legend status amongst the Sunderland fans and we now undefeated in four Premier League games against the Toon Army. It wasn’t all plain sailing though. Newcastle are top of the league for a reason so I decided to play defensive for the entire 1st half just so to tire them out and frustrated them. We held off a lot of their offence but the plan worked out in the end. Fletcher’s goal was probably the easiest goal he would ever score in his entire career and that was pretty much down to worn out defenders. The first of what will be many Tyne-Wear derbies in my career!
Tuesday 23rd December 2014: Barclays Premier League
Sunderland 3 Manchester City 2
Mannone/ Van Aanholt/ Ake/ O’Shea/ Byram/ Giaccharini/ Cattermole/ Rodwell/ Johnson (Mavrias)/ Borini (Alvarez)/ Fletcher
Goals: Fletcher 45’ Borini 75’ Mavrias 84’ Cavani 43’ 47’
MOTM: Fletcher (Sunderland)
The victory over Newcastle seemed to give us confidence to get a victory over the champions, Manchester City. In typical Sunderland fashion, we didn’t make things easy for ourselves. Cavani’s early strikes put the pressure on us but we continued to work hard and refused to give up. Of all the players to score the winner the Greek international Mavrias scored a volley from a corner which had Joe Hart rooted to the spot. So far, this is the match of the season!
Friday 26th December 2014: Barclays Premier League
Sunderland 0 Hull City 0
Mannone/ Van Aanholt/ Ake/ O’Shea/ Jones/ Wickham/ Bridcutt/Mavrias/ Larsson/ Alvarez (Mandron)/ Fletcher
MOTM: McGregor (Hull City)
Disspointed not to get the victory over bottom of the league Hull City but I admit they were the better side. They won every tackle, were creative than us and were the toughest fighters. Steve “I was sacked from Sunderland because I’m a Geordie” Bruce had his men fired up for this encounter but they couldn’t find that one goal. It was a good point for the tigers but a poor one for us.
Sunday 28th December 2014: Barclays Premier League
Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 2
Mannone/ Van Aanholt/ Coates (Vergini)/ O’Shea/ Byram/ Giaccherini/ Cattermole (Bridcutt)/ Rodwell/ Johnson (Buckley)/Altidore/ Borini
Goals: Borini 4’ 32’
MOTM: Borini (Sunderland)
Spired on from our poor display against Hull City, we returned to winning ways against Aston Villa. Villa has always been somewhat of a bogey team for me so to get the victory, and a clean sheet, away at Villa Park is a good personal accomplishment for me.
Player of the Month: Adam Johnson
Once again, our star midfielder wins the player of the month award and deservingly so. He set up the majority of goals we scored this month with his exceptional crossing. It was also because of his performances that he received a call up to Roy Hodgson’s England side.
The league table doesn’t lie. We head into 2015 in 4th position in the League. Happy days! I got the fans dreaming and the mood around the city is upbeat. I want to continue this trend going forward. The January window is now open and I look forward to strengthening the side.