Sunderland Up Next
It's Sunderland next as we bid to continue our good form so far this season, so I popped over to Vital Sunderland for a little chat.
Is the season going as you expected and what has been the highlight and lowlight so far?
No, the season has not gone as expected!
I try and abide by the 'never too high, never too low` theory so I wasn`t expecting Europe or relegation as some supporters were. However, this has been a disappointment so far even though a lot of aspects of the season to date tally with how things have gone for Martin O`Neill at this former employers.
The highlight was Saturday`s win over Fulham at Craven Cottage. Fulham are an excellent side, particularly at home, so to record a second win of the campaign there was an unexpected delight!
In terms of lowlights, the 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa couple of weeks back was dire. I`d normally say £18 for an under-22 ticket is good value - that match would not have represented value if they let everyone in for free!
Are you pleased with the transfer dealings of the club?
Yes. I still think we are a decent 'grab-the-game-by-the-scruff-of-the-neck-and-play-a-telling-pass-kind-of-midfielder` away from moving up a notch in terms of the strength of our first XI but the summer additions addressed out immediate needs.
Steven Fletcher has obviously brought goals to the table and in a side so goal-shy, he will be worth his weight in gold - however much gold bullion £12m buys these days!
Carlos Cuellar has been solid and with Wes Brown still injured it`s been important to have someone who isn`t Titus Bramble at centre-back.
Danny Rose has been impeccable and I`d love to see him signed on a permanent basis.
Adam Johnson, on paper, is a classy addition, hopefully a goal and a win will get him performing as he has shown he can for 'Boro/City/England.
Finally James McFadden is yet to feature whilst Louis Saha has featured sparingly.
Where do you see your current weaknesses this season? Any clues for the game will be greatly appreciated :-)
If Fletcher doesn`t score we`re in trouble. Until Sunday`s win at Fulham, Newcastle`s Demba Ba was the only other player to play for us - much to our mirth!
Unfortunately, as the lone striker, Fletcher is reliant on the service of messrs Stephane Sessegnon, Seb Larsson, James McClean and Johnson. Sadly, none of those players have hit top form yet and that for us, is the difference between an all-too-common draw and a win.
Who will be your key dangerman?
It`s obvious to say, but Fletcher.
Who is your star signing of the summer?
Where do you see Albion finishing this season?
Top 10 without question.
What do you think of the appointment of Steve Clarke to what is his first management job?
Before the season I tipped West Brom as one of the sides to go down. The loss of Hodgson and the impending loss of Dan Ashworth struck me as a big blow. Those departures coupled with the appointment of a first-time coach struck me as disaster waiting to happen - what do I know?
He`s done a fantastic job and long may it continue. It makes it all a bit more exciting when a team you don`t expect to do well does exactly that, playing good, exciting football to boot.
If you could take one of our players, who would it be and why?
Shane Long. We need other players to chip in with goals and he seems to do it. Him or Peter Odemwingie.
Who do you see as our main threat?
Those two will be dangerous as will Chris Brunt, James Morrison, Zoltan Gera and (if he`s fit) Graham Dorrans. Yeah, in summary, you have a lot of good players!
What weaknesses in our team do you think you'll be looking to exploit?
Honestly, I`ve not seen West Brom play for 90 minutes yet this season. I`d be more concerned in addressing the deficiencies in our own game than I would be looking to exploit any weakness` in Albion`s!
Finally, a prediction please fellow football fan...
2-0 West Brom, unfortunately.
With thanks to safc123.
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