David Jones
Football Presenter

Sunderland: Ki and Lee Cattermole can help Black Cats survive

Sunderland are in strife, says David, but Ki can help them improve

The dramatic extra-time victory over Chelsea was just the Christmas present Sunderland fans had been hoping for.

After all, they had been good all year; supporting their team through thin and thinner and for a time under Paolo Di Canio becoming the laughing stock of football fans nationwide.

"Ki shines like a lone beacon as a success story from a summer of slapdash recruitment."

David Jones

At last, here was a moment of hope, far removed from the doom and gloom of the Barclays Premier League, which Sunderland will prop up on Christmas Day.

Fitting, too, that the moment of joy was delivered at the Stadium of Light which is where Sunderland's league fate will be decided over the coming days, weeks and months.

Survival is not beyond them, but it soon will be if they can't turn their home into a fortress: just look at the evidence.

Saturday's game against Norwich will be their first at home since the opening day against a team in the bottom half of the table.

They have 11 more matches at home, all winnable and only one against a side in the top eight (Everton): the door is still open for an unlikely escape.

Saying it though is one thing, doing it consistently has proved beyond them for some time, as four wins in 31 games testifies.


Ki Sung-Yueng quite rightly grabbed the headlines against Chelsea with his well taken goal, and he shines like a lone beacon as a success story from a summer of slapdash recruitment masterminded by director of football Roberto De Fanti.

Poyet delighted with win

Cliched as it sounds, the South Korean really is the key to Sunderland's survival; he has thrived as Gus Poyet's playmaker and can continue to dictate games with the muscular presence of Lee Cattermole beside him.

It looks like Cattermole has earned his manager's trust and now he must keep it with the quality of performance he showed against Chelsea.

Emanuele Giaccherini buzzed around the pitch, too, with his best display in the red and white stripes, showing off the kind of trickery that should be too much for lesser opponents.

Now all they need is a striker with the finishing touch: for all Jozy Altidore's commitment to the cause, goals elude him; Steven Fletcher could be the answer but only if the supply line improves.

Perhaps Poyet's Christmas wishes will be answered by his owner Ellis Short - who must surely wish he turned to the Uruguayan when he dispensed with Martin O'Neill back in March - in the form of a new player or two in the January window.

Short has gambled before to protect his t Premier League investment and may choose to again.

You will forgive the upbeat indulgent message, after all it is Christmas and if you can't be positive at this time of year you might as well give up... and no one on Wearside is ready to do that.

Catch Sunderland play Cardiff, from 5pm, Saturday, Dec 28 on Sky Sports 1.