Now this is not really cricket, is it? All season Sunderland have hummed around with such innocuous, harmless fluff that we all rather forgot they existed, and a gentle away point (or three) beckoned. Until now. Two days before they entertain our lot they go and beat the blinking champions, and what had not so long ago seemed about as harmless as a neutered kitten is now likely to require cunning and nous and graft and quite possibly He-Man’s Sword of Omens. Bother.Still, the laws of physics simply prevent any team for whom Danny Rose is a luminary from posing any greater threat than a particularly reticent snow-flake, so there is certainly hope for our heroes. After his exploits on Boxing Day our handsome young Welshman will presumably be afforded even tenderer tender loving care than usual, so someone else within our mob may be forced to don a thinking cap and provide a little ingenuity going forward.
AVB has shown little inclination to rotate so far this yuletide, beyond a little mixing and matching of Daws, Gallas and Naughton, but Parker, Hudd and Sigurdsson will presumably be primed for action, and Dempsey may be involved again. In theory, with Reading at home to follow, a point at Sunderland should be handy enough – but come now, how many planets would E.T. have conquered if he had adopted that meek and mild attitude? We’ve just won 4-0 away from home, let’s jolly well outscore this lot too.
(Don’t hold your breath for a match report on this one, AANP is absconding for a day or two)