Wise Men Say: Sunderland’s derby euphoria is over, but they now need to make a point at Everton

editorial image
0
Have your say

As the parties on Wearside went on into Sunday night, I doubt there were many Sunderland fans who started putting any sort of negative spin on a sixth derby win in a row.

Even by Monday morning when the hangovers kicked in, it’s likely that optimism and pride were still the overriding feelings as they trundled into work.

The world of social media can be a despairing and vile place at times, observing people arguing needlessly among themselves, while shamelessly take their insecurities out on the world can be a gloomy experience.

Yet, for Sunderland fans, it was a marvellous place to visit on Monday morning; indeed it helped stretch that initial post derby elation to well into the week.

The overreaction to the defeat from those of black and white persuasion is incredible. It’s enough to almost convince you that the fact they played quite well for 44 minutes before a dodgy sending off equates to them being victims of the biggest miscarriage of justice of all time.

Fan blogs and Tyneside papers have never produced content displaying as much bitterness and spitting as much venom.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve bemoaned a referee for making a crucial error at a pivotal time, or acknowledged we played very well for a certain part of a game before being victims of our lacklustre opponent’s clinical finishing.

It’s football. We all strive to win when we don’t play great, it’s the mark of an efficient side.

I’d say something like ‘get over it’, but I’m not sure we actually want them to get over it, the reaction has been too funny.

I’m aware I’ve now deviated away from my remit of discussing this weekend’s game somewhat and it may indeed be time to come back down to earth. Because, and whisper this very quietly, Sam Allardyce won’t be happy with that first half performance and better sides than Newcastle will take advantage, leaving us all questioning if things are actually any better at all.

Indeed, a loss at Goodison, compounded by wins for teams around us, and the online world may be less appealing to reasonable thinking Sunderland fans once more come Monday.

In a bid to avoid defeat, I’d expect to see a very defensive shape employed in an aim to absorb pressure from the home side on Sunday, something fans may have to get used to against sides seemingly better than us.

It may not be ambitious, but there’ll be a conscious attempt to keep the single points ticking over at the expense of going all out for wins and being ripped apart on the counter. And there are a lot of better sides than us at present.

It will mean Steven Fletcher has to work extra hard in the channels, as well as trying to locate himself in the box to put pressure on a goalkeeper currently struggling for form.

Expect Sam to order his side to try and shove the ball down Tim Howard’s throat whenever they can.

We’ve had many false dawns with Fletcher of course, but I make his performance against Newcastle his fifth good one in a row when including a couple of productive outings for Scotland, with six goals in the process. Yes, I’m aware three were against Gibraltar, but still.

By the time you read this, you’ll have a better understanding on the injury situation than I, but here’s hoping we can patch a side together that can be well drilled from a defensive point of view, while still being a potent threat on the counter.