Tony Gillan: If there is to be any hope for Sunderland at all then Burnley is a now huge fixture

Jermain Defoe in action against Man City
Jermain Defoe in action against Man City
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Eeeeeee well. It’s been another bad week.

I would like to add something savagely witty and original on the matter.

But Sunderland lost again and most of the other results were unwanted. That’s it.

PG Wodehouse couldn’t decorate such bald facts on a near-weekly basis, so don’t expect me to.

It wasn’t such a bad performance. There was no lack of effort and the game would have been more interesting had Jermain Defoe’s effort hit the net rather than the post.

But Sunderland were beaten by a better side. Class told.

The move for Manchester City’s first goal began with a dodgy clearance by their goalkeeper that almost presented Adnan Januzaj with a chance to score.

Sixteen seconds later City were one up. Only a side of their quality can do such things.

And what City did when they went two up is what they do to better sides than Sunderland.

With the exception of last October’s match against Arsenal, Sunderland have performed reasonably well against the top six.

The eight games so far against Chelsea, the Manchester clubs, Tottenham and Liverpool have seen some decent performances. They even managed no to lose two of them.

The problem is that fans watched those games and thought; well if they play equally commendably against Burnley/Swansea/Middlesbrough/Southampton/Palace at home...

Sadly it wasn’t the same against Burnley, Swansea, Middlesbrough, Southampton or Palace at home.

They were embarrassing in those fixtures.

There was no shame against Chelsea etc. That has so far been reserved for matches against the lesser lights.

Resignation is setting in deeper with each passing game. But it takes more than mere reality to make me abandon hope.

SAFC are in what people with no imagination call the last chance saloon. But they aren’t done yet.

This weekend sees Sunderland without a fixture. This is welcome news in itself because, let’s face it, blank weekends are among the highlights this season.

Then come Burnley; along with Leicester the only side in the league without an away win.

Those who revel in pessimism will be keen to suggest that Burnley will still fancy their chances at the Stadium of Light, where only three home wins have occurred.

To wit: “They’ve got to win away some time.” This isn’t quite true. Five clubs have gone an entire Premier League season without winning on their travels.*

If there is any hope for Sunderland at all, then Burnley is a huge fixture. Far bigger than Manchester City. The fans will be a vital component.

It has come to this. If there isn’t a good result in 10 days time then even the straw clutchers among us will think better of it and go and have a lie down.

l The five are, fact fans; Leeds 1992-93, Wolves 2003-04, Norwich 2004-05, Derby County 2007-08 and Hull 2009-10.