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Sunderland vs. Burnley

Stadium of Light

Saturday 17th April 2010


Clarets have Double Vision at the Stadium of Light

Four matches to go as the Clarets continue to plot the 'Great Escape` after a stunning 4-1 thumping of fellow strugglers, Hull City at the KC Stadium last Saturday. That was of course our first away win and first double of the season! We still have it all to do though to avoid the drop with the Clarets third from bottom and still four points behind West Ham in 17th spot and five points behind Bolton & Wigan. Burnley are looking for three wins from their last four games to be confident of survival and what a tall order that will be with Sunderland next up this Saturday at the Stadium of Light followed by Liverpool at home and Birmingham away. Will our fate have been decided by the time we play our last game of the season against Spurs at Turf Moor or will our survival hopes go down to the wire? Nobody can be sure one way or the other but on paper, Sunderland away could be our best chance of picking up some points and the Clarets will be desperate for their second away win and second double of the season. Although the Black Cats have an impressive home record this season they have been inconsistent and the Clarets will be hoping they have one of their off days and take their eye off the ball allowing the lads to sneak in and nick the points.

Hopefully the lads` confidence will be high after getting the hoodoo of no wins away all season off their backs and Clarets fans will simply have to hope we show the same passion and determination that we did against the Tigers last week. Tigers in theory have more bite than little Black Cats so here is hoping! Up the Clarets!

Predicted Team Sheet

Brian Laws is expected to show faith in the eighteen that travelled to Hull City last week after they came away with that memorable 4-1 victory and first away win of the season.

We can probably expect the same starting eleven as well and the predicted line up would be as follows:

Jensen, Mears, Duff, Cort, Fox, Alexander, Elliott, Cork, Paterson, Nugent, Fletcher,

Subs: Weaver, Carlisle, Caldwell, Bikey, Blake, Eagles, Thompson

Sunderland Team News:

Steve Bruce's main concern is midfielder Lee Cattermole who is a doubt for this clash. The 22-year-old damaged a calf in last weekend's 1-0 defeat at West Ham and failed to turn up to training this week due to the injury.

The highly-rated defender, John Mensah who has been sidelined with injury since early March though could be ready for a return on Saturday

Captain, Lorik Cana however is struggling with a groin problem.

One player who won`t feature is winger Andy Reid who will be out for rest of season with a hamstring injury.

Player to watch: Darren Bent

Darren Bent has scored 22 goals so far this season in the Premier League including one of course against Burnley in the earlier clash at Turf Moor last September. He is the third highest goal scorer in the top flight this season to date behind only Rooney and Drogba.

The 26 year old England striker has never looked back since moving from Spurs to Sunderland in August last year for an initial fee of 10 million plus add-ons. He promptly scored in his debut in the Black Cats 1-0 victory over Bolton at the Reebok on the opening day of the season. Curiously enough that is the only away win the Black Cats have enjoyed all season but Bent has been knocking them in since both home and away. The Clarets defence will certainly have their hands full trying to contain the lively striker but they will certainly need to if we are to stand any chance of coming away with some points.

Burnley Team News:

The Clarets have no new injury worries or suspensions with only Chris McCann still definitely sidelined whilst he recovers from torn cartilage surgery. Jordan though remains doubtful with a knee injury.

Brian Laws is expected to name an unchanged team against Sunderland.

Player to watch: Jack Cork

The midfielder from Chelsea has put in some memorable performances since arriving in February on loan until the end of the season. He was particularly influential in the engine room last week at the KC Stadium and Brian Laws will be looking for more of the same as the Clarets plot their second away win and second double of the season.

Back to the Future

Our record against Sunderland over the years has not been a good one.

Until this season we had played them sixteen times since 1977 in various cup competitions and lower league battles and had only won once, drawing 7 and losing 8.

The last time we played them was of course at Turf Moor this season and we achieved a good 3-1 victory this time after a memorable brace from substitute, David Nugent. The game was played last September in front of a crowd of 20,196 fans. In the first-half Darren Bent had beaten the offside trap after 39 minutes to equalise after Alexander had scored from the spot on 13 minutes. The Clarets had been under the cosh to be honest in the first 45 minutes and were lucky to go in 1-1 at half-time. The second half seemed to be going the same way with Sunderland looking the most likely to take the lead. Paterson was doing a lot of running around but getting few chances to threaten the goal and Fletcher playing a wider role was also ineffective and not getting enough service. All that changed when first Nugent replaced Pato on 57 minutes followed a few minutes later with Eagles coming on to replace Fletcher. The game instantly livened up for the Clarets and we soon took the lead again when a glorious header by Nugent flew into the net with 67 minutes played. . In the 86th minute, a pass by Tyrone Mears found Nugent under pressure with two defenders on his back. He turned both of them sending them the wrong way to let rip with a sweet left-footed shot that sailed into the top corner of the net to secure a 3-1 victory for the Clarets. It was not a good day for Chris McCann though. He was injured in the 28th minute following a strong tackle by Michael Turner and limped off towards the tunnel. Clarets fans would later find out he had damaged both his cruciate and medial ligaments and would face a long lay-off and could possibly be out for the rest of the season. In the end he would make a remarkable recovery and be back in action in January before cruelly picking up another but unrelated knee injury after just two matches. That would prove to be a slightly torn cartilage and would sideline him again.

Our last game at the Stadium of Light was a five goal thriller with the Clarets sadly on the end of a 3-2 defeat. We played them in the Championship during their 2006-07 promotion season in the penultimate game of that season and nearly came away with three points. Although going one goal behind after 14 minutes, a penalty by Gray after 39 minutes and a stunning goal by Elliott from distance to make it 2-1 gave Clarets fans hope. It wasn`t to be though and the Black Cats came back strongly converting a penalty of their own after 54 minutes and then securing victory 3-2 with a Carlos Edwards goal after 80 minutes.

The last time the Clarets were in the top flight (Division 1) back in the 1975-76 season, Sunderland were in Division 2 and about to be crowned Champions at the end of that season. As the Black Cats were promoted, Burnley were relegated but Sunderland`s fortune was not to last and they found themselves back in the second division at the end of 1976-77 after finishing third from bottom.

Ref Watch:

A familiar face for the Clarets will referee this clash with Howard Webb in charge. This will be the fourth time the Rotherham referee will have been in charge of a Clarets game this season. He was the referee in our home games against Stoke and Villa and the clash away to Everton at Goodison Park.

Match Prediction:

Sunderland will be a different kettle of fish to Hull City and will be far more difficult to beat with the Black Cats having lost only two of their home games all season. The Clarets will be hoping that Sunderland have one eye on the summer holidays with their season effectively over. They are effectively safe, if not mathematically safe in 13th spot on 38 points; 11 points clear of the drop zone. They are heading for a midtable finish with nothing to play for but pride and Burnley will be hoping to take advantage of any complacency by the Black Cats. Although Sunderland have only lost two games all season at the Stadium of Light they have drawn another seven games and I suspect we could be about to make it eight. They have drawn against other strugglers in the relegation zone at home including West Ham, Portsmouth and Wigan but at the same time have tonked Bolton (4-0), Hull City (4-1) and Wolves (5-2). This result could depend on which of our teams turns-up and we have to hope it`s the one that played so well against Hull and not the one that looked so shaky in the first 15 minutes of that match. If Sunderland get the lead early on they will probably punish us more than Hull City did last week. I will go with a 1-1 draw. A point might sadly not be enough to avoid the drop but it would be hard -earned if we achieved it.

Next Match

Three games remain after Sunderland and the 3-2-1 Countdown begins with Liverpool the visitors to Turf Moor in a rearranged game on Sunday 25th April (3pm Kick-Off). The game was put back a day due to Liverpool`s exploits in Europe with their first leg of the Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid on Thursday 22nd April. Hopefully the result at Sunderland will have gone our way with our survival hopes still very much alive but this will be a tough, tough game with Liverpool still eyeing a fourth place finish.

The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday April 16 2010

Time: 10:52AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Oh well at least I am going to the Stadium of Light with our hopes still alive. A bloody win would be massive but I wish I was confident
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16/04/2010 10:54:00
Tough to beat on their home patch, I reckon a draw is the best we can hope for but I've opted for a pessimistic 2-1 defeat on the prediction thread. If we fight like billy-o we might do better but I fear the spirit shown at Hull could have been a one-off. Would love to be proven wrong!
Brompton Claret
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16/04/2010 11:07:00
Some more team news from the Black Cats camp: STEVE BRUCE hopes defenders John Mensah and Alan Hutton will be passed fit to face Burnley tomorrow. Hutton has been out of action with a groin strain and Mensah with a hamstring problem, and both have been absent for the last three games. Also Fraizer Campbell has been suffering from a stomach bug this weekend and could be doubtful
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16/04/2010 12:42:00
The games are running out, we just have to give it all we have and hope its enough!!
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16/04/2010 13:02:00
I know the 18 last week did really well, but do we really need 3 centre backs on the subs bench? Wouldn't two do? The you could have McDonald or Rodriguez on bench just to give you some more attacking options if you need them. Really hoping we can pull out a victory!!
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16/04/2010 13:59:00
I think Bikey is there more for his potential in midfield although to be honest he looks much more comfortable playing his normal role in the back four. McDonald had a poor game against City and was rightly subbed. He hasn't looked on the ball for sometime and of course the incident in the KSC 110 and the club fine didn't do his cause much good either. I suppose the thinking is that if Mears gets injured, Duff could go into r/b slot and then you have two choices at centre back
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16/04/2010 14:04:00
I'd keep Bikey in for midfield reasons, but I still think he and one other centre back gives us more options. We miss McCann.
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16/04/2010 14:07:00
If they play with the commitment and passion they showed last week then anything is possible, but how many times have we said that ? The difference this time is coming off the back of a 4-1 away win, and knowing that a win is essential to keep survival hopes alive. I hope they get stuck in to them and give them no time or space whatsoever , and sneak an early goal. C'mon you Clarets.
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16/04/2010 14:53:00
I'm really looking forward to going to this game, even though I know in my heart of hearts we are unlikely to win, but hey ho, is never been an easy for us Burnley fans. This is the last game I will see till Spurs, as Brum and Liverpool I have to work. Not happy as I've usually manage to change my shift or take leave for the few home games I am supposed to work. That said it will probably be the best home game of the season and we will trounce them!!! Then I will be throwing my toys out of the cot while jumping for joy!!!
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16/04/2010 18:46:00
Hope you lot stay up this season but I honestly think we will beat you 2moro as Richardson moves to his best position and Mensah and Hutton make us an entirely better team in defence. We will beat Hull for you next week to keep you hopes alive tho.
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16/04/2010 20:28:00
Chris Eagles comes in for David Nugent who misses out through an injury Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Cort, Duff, Fox, Eagles, Elliott, Cork, Alexander, Paterson, Fletcher. Subs: Thompson, Bikey, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Blake, Weaver Sunderland: Gordon, Turner, Hutton, Malbranque, Campbell, Richardson, Bent, Mensah, Henderson, Jones, Meyler. Subs: Carson, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Kilgallon, Da Silva, Zenden, Benjani
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17/04/2010 14:29:00
Damn Campbell scores for Sunderland 1-0 Burnley
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17/04/2010 15:26:00
Darren Bent makes it 2-0 to Sunderland sigh!!
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17/04/2010 15:43:00
Half-time Sunderland 2-0 Burnley a Mountain to climb!
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17/04/2010 15:48:00
I've said it since the Hull Game, when everyone got all excited, we won because Hull are as bad as us (worse actually) and the poor midfield and defence has not improved. Against a better side like Sunderland we are shown up for what we are - not good enough. Shocking defending again, especially by Mears this week. We are not good enough and neither is our manager and a win against Hull doesn't change it.
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17/04/2010 16:03:00
Second-half Thompson on for Paterson
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17/04/2010 16:05:00
Thompson scores from a Blake pass Come on ten minutes to go!
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17/04/2010 16:42:00
Yes we bring Robbie on with only 10 mins to go and he gets us one back - why did we leave it so late? We should brought Robbie on as soon as we went 1-0 down or certainly after 2-0. Laws is crap (sorry VinRouge but a win against Hull didn't do anything for me).
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17/04/2010 16:52:00
Full-time Sunderland 2-1 Burnley, we left it to late to bring Blake on, bye bye Premier League :-(
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17/04/2010 16:57:00
I just can't understand why we don't play Blake. Robbie can do things that others in our team (namely Eagles and Elliott) can't - he can hold the ball, pass accurately and play the deadly through ball as he did for Thompsons goal. Why don't we play him then? You tell me who is better?
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17/04/2010 17:24:00
I agreed with you ozjean ;-) A big clear out is needed including Laws, Can we give him some money then come Christmas get rid because of our results and get stuck with a load more players we don't want? A big overhaul is needed with somebody who all the fans will get behind! nothing against Laws but he ain't the man.
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17/04/2010 18:25:00
Its simple why we don't play Blake, same reason why we were calling for him to be rested before Christmas, like it or not he is not fit enough for 90 minutes of Premiership Football in Midfield with a job to do helping the full back. He was found out time and time again away from home earlier in the season. He has amazing ability but its like playing Grezza aged 56 just in case we get a penalty. If you play Blake and Eagles in the same side then you require 3 midfielders, which leaves just one striker, so you have to drop Nugent and Paterson. Fact is we have many good championship players and almost no Prem League Class players. Eagles was shocking today as were many others, however the drive down the A19 in the sunshine and down the A1 back to Lincolnshire was brill. I am resigned to our relegation but if you read WTBM the stats in those articles reveal a true picture of the season.
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17/04/2010 21:29:00
Your reading between the lines Vin We were not asking for Blake to start but he should have come on earlier! Eagles I could not care about he already has one foot out of the door, We need players who are commited to the cause, A good clear out for me keep Paterson,Fletcher if we can Duff, Caldwell,Jenson,Elliott,Mears,Alexander (another year in the Championship) keep golden boy McCann glad he has not been in the limelight, stuff the Premiership it was a dream but turned into a nightmare, I will never hate with a passion in my life anybody more than Owen Coyle seriously and I am not kind of a guy. we won't do anything under Laws and anybody who thinks otherwise is deluded, my rant anyway ;-) still what I think!!
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17/04/2010 23:30:00
Agree with you 8clarets - I don't think Blake has played a full 90 minutes for a couple of years but he is definitely worth an hour because he changes our game and provides so many crosses and through balls for the forwards. He can also keep hold of the ball and that is what the others can't do which is why the defence is constantly under pressure. Also think Laws is not up top it. His body language when we go down is awful and he appears in a state of puzzled shock all the time. Mind you, I don't think Coyle would have kept us up either. We are down now and must start now looking at what needs to be done for next season.
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18/04/2010 05:50:00
Look Robbie does it for me, I will never forget how he turned spurs inside out, but time and again he has had more than 30 minutes and not performed, Sad to say he is well past his best. Its the easiest thing in the world to blame Laws for everything but half our team are not good enough, end of.
Grimsby Claret
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18/04/2010 14:29:00
It was a nice day out in Sun and thats all I expected. Was it me or was the Stadium of Light a let down, It seemed grubby to me like it was starting to show signs of age. Plus we were crammed in below the stands and they ran out of meat and potato pies, 30 mins before kick off! And that stupid rule where they take the lid from your bottle of coke, whats that about? Anyway about the game, we just never looked good enough. Eagles had a bad game he was at fault for the first goal he didn't track back, Grezza told him so afterwards. Thompson was brought on as we were losing the aerial battle and to be fair he did make a bit of a difference. Blake was brought on with 10 mins to go and created a goal. Blake can't play 90 mins anymore but he was worth 20 mins at least. I think we payed the price of having 4 defenders on the bench, we only had two attacking substitutions and we used them. Why not put Rodriguez on bench, give Robbie 20mins and Jay 10 might have made a difference. I think we need to start planning for the Championship ahh well, burnley till I die!
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18/04/2010 15:51:00
I agree with you Grimsby - I don't think it is Laws fault that we are going down but I just don't see him as the man to sort us out and get us going in the Championship. I think it's unfair to say that Robbie has had lots of chances of 30 minutes and hasn't performed. He has often has only 10-15 minutes at the end when it's hard to get in the game. He has set up a lot of our goals and has scored two crackers himself. There are lots in the side who get 90 minutes every week who haven't performed. I'd play Robbie infront of Eagles every week - or give them a half each. I would try a few combinations now we are out of it. Up the Clarets!
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18/04/2010 16:12:00
I think the stats show that Robbie started this season away from home at Stoke 2 - 0, Chelsea 3 - 0, Liverpool, 4 - 0, Spurs 5 - 0, Deadwood 2 - 3 and scored, Man City 3 - 3. If my memory is right he was never taken off in the first half and so would have played in all these games for some considerable time. Away from home he is a luxury our defence can't afford in this League imo.
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18/04/2010 19:15:00

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