Vital Sunderland Editor Gaz Johnson takes our latest Q&A as City and The Mackems prepare to walk out er, on the feast of Stephen…?
1. 8th placed, shellshocked City have spent the past 30 hours facing up to the fact that they are far from the finished article many people thought they were, having succumbed pathetically to Spurs in London. The next two games against Sunderland and Stoke at home now take on seismic proportions and failure to win both will see storm clouds over Eastlands. 10th placed Sunderland have had an erratic season results wise but impressively bagged points against the rags (drew), Liverpool and Arsenal (both won).
So how’s the form and the mood amongst the Mackem army?
‘Well the form table does not lie! We are 2nd bottom just above Bolton and this is mainly due to us falling apart ever since the amazing result against Arsenal last month. We have had some major injury problems and lacked the cutting edge of Lee Cattermole alongside Cana in the middle lately. The mood amongst the Mackems is one of great dissapointment, that we could not capitalise on our strong start to the season and continue to push into the Europa League positions. We have thrown away over 15 points to teams we should be beating or at least getting a point from. You have stolen all our draws this season I think!’
2. Steve Bruce. Far from respected at MCFC. Has he made progress at the Stadium of Light and what do you think he can achieve this season?
‘I still think Brucey is the most important signing of our season as he has changed the team entirely but the sad fact is we still see the same results as we did under Keane and Sbragia.
‘He will need time to get the best out of his players and also get more in from January to remove the players who are not pulling their weight this season. Bruce is the reason we have not dropped out of the top half this campaign but he needs to start selecting a fixed 11 or we could face another season of uncertainty, the ones we have been promised wouldn’t happen again!’
3. Niall Quinn. City legend and always welcome in Manchester. How’s the big man rated in Sunderland and how do you rate his achievements?
‘I could write all day long about how much I love Sir Niall Quinn and what he has done for not only our club but the entire region in the past few years. The man is simply God. He has saved our club from relegation into League 1, got us on the map when he appointed Keano and has got an American billionaire, Ellis Short, to fund the next wave of players to grace the Stadium of Light turf. Did I mention his campaign to get Sunderland to host the World Cup won recently? There is nothing this guy cannot do for our club and area and the nicest bloke I have ever met. In summary I would marry him.’
4. ‘Shot by both sides:’ The Dangermen. Who should City and in turn Sunderland, be paying close attention to at Eastlands on Saturday?
‘Man City need to keep a close eye on the returning Lee Cattermole as he will be hungry to make an impact and show the fans what we have been missing since his injury. Sunderland need to stop Stephen Ireland as he is the heartbeat when he is on song and then this leads to Adebayor and Tevez running the show against our fragile defence.’
5. Everyone at Manchester City from pitch to state of the art turnstile are very publicly aiming to take on and destabilise the seemingly endless, increasingly boring procession of ‘The Big Four’ – Can it be done?
‘I do not think City will break into the top four this season as they have dropped too many points already and we are only six points behind you before kick-off so plenty of work to be done. Luckily for you, owned by a billionaire has it’s plus sides and this means in January and Summer you can buy anyone for any price so it is only a matter of time until you buy a title just like Chelsea did a few years back. As long as you select the right players you can be a force in the years to come.’
6. Are The Citizens guilty of ‘ruining football,’ one of the more hysterical charges levelled at the club throughout 2009?
‘I feel football was ruined a while ago when Chelsea done a similar thing, it makes it impossible for teams like Sunderland to get anywhere near them but at least it makes the title chase a lot more interesting. Players like Lescott being sold for over £20m is beyond me but this is modern football and nothing us fans can do about it now sadly.’
7. And so to battle. Your match prediction?
‘City will be looking to send Sunderland home pointless after they were battered by Spurs on Wednesday evening. We have a fragile defence and very low confidence so I can only see one result. Your defence is guilty of leaking goals but we only have Bent who is capable of scoring at free will so it will be hard to get past ex scum Given.’
8. The Bulging Sack Bonus: What do you want for Christmas?!
‘I would like a nice HDTV and also three points on Saturday but I can keep dreaming about them two items being there by Xmas day this year!’
Many thanks and respect to gaz and the Vital Sunderland team for this great interview!
VMC Link: Once A Blue Meets Vital Sunderland
Deadly Sinners so far this season:
Blackburn Rovers: Mikey D
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Akela
Arsenal: Paul Mustchin
Manchester united: Nobby Allcock
West Ham: Rossy
Aston Villa: The Fear
Wigan Athetic: Worbo
Fulham: Andrew Joyce
Scunthorpe: Luke Thornhill
Liverpool: Chubby Alonso
Hull City: Matt Wilson
Bolton Wanderers: Richard McC
Tottenham Hotspur: OxfordSpur
Sunderland: Gaz Johnson
VMC Forum Link: MATCHDAY THREAD: Man City v Sunderland – Saturday Dec 19 – KO 3PM UK Time
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