Sunderland’s latest capitulation at the SoL, against Aston Villa,followed the regular pattern of recent home games. In three of the last four home games we’ve been 2-0 down at the break, by the time we get things together it’s too late to even attempt a comeback.
I didn’t expect any points from the Villa game, but after a steady improvement in performances I felt I could be forgiven for thinking we wouldn’t get hammered. Listening to the match on the radio is becoming a labour of love which is barely loveable now. The atmosphere sounds flat and, well, no one in the SoL can be blamed. Two home wins out of 18 so far this campaign is awful to say the least.
Villa were one of the better sides we’ve come up against this season, but despite this we made them look like world beaters I got the impression that if they’d actually moved out of second gear they could have put six or seven past us, maybe they thought our -27-goal difference was bad enough for now.
In his post-match press conference, Coleman sounded as though he was suffering just as much as the fans. And that’s the thing with him, he really sympathises with supporters. He arrived in November knowing that he was inheriting a squad with poor players and very little money. He’s all too aware of how toxic the atmosphere is at the SoL on match days, claiming that he’s looking forward to the next match as it’s away from home. It’s bleak, but it’s the truth. Its 10 defeats at the SoL this campaign now, with five home games remaining that will, no doubt, be added to.
Our defensive set up was fragile enough without the injuries to Browning and O’Shea during the 3-0 collapse. This resulted in Billy Jones being thrown back into the side! Jason Steele took a step back from his performance at Millwall to once again show that he is, for the most part, a poor goalkeeper. Yet he is still our best fully fit senior goalkeeper, a fact which terrifies me. With another match in just four days, the injuries to O’Shea and Browning could see us venturing down to Loftus Road with just the one fit centre half in Lamine Kone.
Saturday’s match is one of our few remaining matches against relegation rivals. We need to win but, to put it bluntly; we don’t look capable of beating anyone in the division and that will probably continue for at least this weekend.