Everton’s Tim Cahill is no longer the threat to Sunderland he once was

Everton's Tim Cahill shows his dejection as he rues a missed chance.
Everton's Tim Cahill shows his dejection as he rues a missed chance.
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WE ALL know who they are ... those pesky pariahs who have plagued Sunderland over a generation.

The names of Clinton Morrison, Andrew Johnson and DJ Campbell will forever spark resigned groans when spewed forth from the PA system after finding the net time and again against the Black Cats.

But one arch-foe stands tall above all others. Even in the midst of a 12-month goal drought, few at the Stadium of Light would have been shocked yesterday if “Eight Goals for Cahill” had followed “Seven Swans-a-Swimming” and “Six Geese-a-laying” in the festive chanting.

In his 12 outings against Sunderland prior to Boxing Day, Tim Cahill’s seven goals had cost the Wearsiders FA Cup glory, hit their survival hopes and dented lofty aspirations for the top six.

The Aussie could easily have added ‘halting the momentum of a new manager’ to that inglorious CV yesterday after being presented with two oh so Cahill-esque chances in the opening 15 minutes.

But although Howard Webb prevented Sunderland lifting their Everton curse, there has to be a suspicion that the days of being haunted by their arch-nemesis could be a thing of the past.

For this is not the Cahill of old. For a midfielder whose game has revolved around his goal-getting prowess, a lean spell of such magnitude does not arrive by pure chance.

A year-long wait to find the net has understandably knocked his confidence.

Read Chris Young’s full verdict, plus more reaction and match reports from the Everton game, in today’s Echo.