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Wednesday Evening Ticker: Sunderland complete ‘Great Escape’, Real Madrid stunned, and more

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League


Sunderland has pulled off a feat that seemed impossible just a month ago.

The Black Cats won their fourth straight match, beating West Bromwich Albion 2-0, on Wednesday to secure safety from relegation in the English Premier League.

Jack Colback and Fabio Borini scored first-half goals to secure a victory that extended Sunderland’s unbeaten streak to five matches. A run that has included results on the road against Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Sunderland’s victory sealed the fate of Norwich City, which joins Fulham and Cardiff City as teams set to be relegated to the English League Championship.

In Wednesday’s other English Premier League action, Manchester City blew out Aston Villa, posting a 4-0 victory that pushed City to within a point of securing the Premier League title. City needs a draw or better against West Ham United on Sunday, or a Liverpool draw or loss against Newcastle, to clinch the league title.

Here are some other items from Wednesday to catch you up on the latest in the soccer world:


Real Madrid have seen their La Liga title hopes take a serious blow after surrendering an 85th-minute equalizer in a 1-1 tie vs. Real Valladolid on Wednesday.

Colombian Humberto Osorio headed home a corner kick with just five minutes left to play to give the home team the precious draw against Real Madrid, which now sit behind both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona in the Spanish First Division standings with two weeks left.

Atletico and Barcelona face each other on the final week of the season, meaning of they both win next week, they will virtually eliminate Real Madrid from the league title race.


Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid’s match against Real Valladolid in the ninth minute with an injury, but Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti insisted the injury is minor and shouldn’t keep him out of the UEFA Champions League Final against Atletico Madrid on May 24.


What do you think of these developments? Shocked at Sunderland’s late-season rally? Think City has the league title locked up, or think they might stumble against West Ham?

Share your thoughts below.




  1. a striker’s primary job is to convert the chances he gets. Jozy has great opportunities but chokes. if the US hopes to advance out of the group stage, we can’t have our strikers shanking gimmees.

    • “a striker’s primary job is to convert the chances he gets.”

      no; any player’s primary job is to do whatever the manager is telling them to do. when poyet came to sunderland, it was very obvious that the lone forward’s job was to hold up play and provide service to the mids and wingers. it’s why none of the forwards were scoring until poyet changed to a 3-5-2.

      and if jozy was in the habit of “shanking gimmees”, i’d be worried about him, but he’s not. he’s actually a very reliable scorer when he’s provided with decent service.

      the question is whether he’ll get even half-decent service in the world cup. i don’t think so, but i’m also not sure who’d be better up top right now. dempsey, maybe? but then klinsmann would be rejiggering the whole attacking setup at this point, and i can’t imagine he’s eager to do that.

      • In response to Nate Dollars, I am pretty sure that JK does not want his goalkeepers to score goals and his forwards to defend.

        While part of a forward’s job may be to hold up play or to bring others into the attack, the forward also has to take his chances in front of the goal. Hopefully Jozy’s woeful form with Sunderland will be transformed with the USMNT. I am not a Jozy hater, far from it, but it is not a skewed viewpoint to say that he is not playing well.

      • all of that goes without saying (including jozy not playing well), and none of it really contradicts what i said.

      • A question, then, offered in good faith: what criteria would you apply to Altidore? That is, what other aspects of his play at Sunderland should JK consider besides goals? I’m not being snarky here, but I just wonder how you evaluate Altidore (or any striker) for a national team when his goal-scoring (and recent amount of playing time) do not inspire confidence? Does it all ride on hs performance in the camp and the friendlies?

      • “Does it all ride on hs performance in the camp and the friendlies?”

        i would say so. we all know what he can do with the national team; he did it just last year. let’s see if his form returns when playing with a better team in a better system.

      • Jozy has enough of a resume both at club level and with the USMNT to keep his starting spot despite a poor year at club level. Nor is Jozy’s situation that unusual – he joined a new team and shortly thereafter, the manager who bought him was sacked and the new manager preferred to play others and brought in the players he wanted. This happens all the time. I’m sure Jozy will move on this summer and there will certainly be takers in Europe and in MLS.

      • If JK thinks Altidore can do the job, he will not care about his club form. He will have several weeks to evaluate him and decide whether he is ready or not.

        Roger Mila WC 1990 is an example. He scored 4 goals after coming out of retirement to play in the WC. So he wasn’t in good club form.

      • Todd, Mr. Dollars, MWRef,

        The ongoing death march of the Jozy debate on SBI is notable because everyone usually cites just that one aspect of Jozy’s situation that best makes their case.

        Por ejemplo:

        1. Todd and MW Ref cite lack of goals scored. Jozy horrendous!
        2. Mr. Dollars cites hold up play and service to the wingers and midfielders. Jozy not so horrendous!
        Mr. Dollars makes a more balanced, compelling case but it is always misleading to evaluate any player in a vacuum.

        Since Di Canio is not around we don’t really know what he had in mind when he bought Jozy and I’ve never seen Poyet questioned in depth about exactly what he wants Jozy to do.

        However, the forward who can consistently do everything , finish, pull into the spaces between centre-backs and full-backs and wreak havoc with their shape, yet also serve as a target man and play with his back to goal, holding the ball up, pull wide and cross, and track back on defense, that sort of forward is very rare.

        In fact I can’t think of anyone who consistently does it all well. Lewandoski comes to mind but that’s about it. And no one ever accused Jozy of approaching the Polish line leader.

        If Jozy had not done all that “other stuff” that forwards do besides scoring, then who on Sunderland would have?

        Someone the other day compared Jozy in a derisive fashion to Bobby Zamora and Emile Heskey as if that was an insult. Those guys played ten and fifteen years respectively in the EPL, most of the time as regulars. They were powerful, classic target men who scored comparatively infrequently yet somehow remained gainfully employed as forwards at the EPL level.

        Does anyone really think they could last that long if they were not seen as positive contributors by their managers and teammates?

        If Jozy made all the “sitters” that everyone seems to think are so easy to make, then I’m guessing he might have had 3 to 5 goals instead of one. Adam Johnson is Sunderland’s leading scorer this season with 8 goals, Borini has 6, Wickham has 5, Fletcher has 3 and Jozy, and a bunch of other guys, have 1 goal. Basically, Jozy is one or two breakout games from being among Sunderland’s top scorers. That should tell you that scoring for Sunderland is not easy for any player.

        Jozy’s finishing has deserted him for sure. However, in terms of the other job description attributes I listed, for the most part, he seems to have improved them in his time at Sunderland. If he can score in his remaining time at Sunderland or in any of those three USMNT WC warm ups that might be all he needs. Certainly, no one knows that better than JK.
        But, even before he was at Sunderland. Jozy’s main contribution to the USMNT was not so much his scoring, though that is always welcome, as it was his domination of opposing center backs.

        I would argue Jozy’s first and most important job for the US has always been about attacking the opposing center backs and making space for Dempsey and Donovan (insert potential successor) to score.

        Jozy, who has been inconsistent for most of the year, seems to be trending upward at this point so there is reason to be hopeful. Assuming of course that you are a USMNT fan, who is not terminally negative. If the US is to advance they will likely have to play three verv. very tight games and will need Jozy’s power..

  2. “….won the last 5 games….” and Jozy only play a total of 45 minutes in those 5 games…


    • Because the other striker got hot…

      Chicken or the egg type argument, I know…

      I hope JK gives a striker combo of 2 of Johanson, LD, and Dempsey a good look in the send-off series games…

      • You think that Klinsmann should bench Jozy after he has watched him do what he has done in HIS team’s shirt? (even going back to ’09, not just ’12)

      • on the other hand, since you are just saying “take a good look at,” and other forwards, and I took that much further, I completely agree with you. apologies good sir

    • They had a big win was against Chelsea and I know you don’t want to admit it but Jozy drew the PK that won the game, but why be objective when all you want to due is hate.

      Do us all a favor and say I hate Josy he sucks and no matter what he does I am going to put him down. I for one would respect your opinion a lot more.

    • Yes, coincidence. Sunderland lost three more games after Jozy stopped starting, and frankly, Wickham looked worse than Jozy did in those games. It wasn’t until Ki / Bardsley / Bridcutt were pulled due to injury, suspension, and suckitude, respectively, that Sunderland turned it around.

    • Nothing surprises or disappoints me about Altidore anymore.
      Hopefully he lands in a better situation next season.

      • Because someone else is the reason he shanked a sure fire goal today?

        You earn good situations in professional sports. He isn’t earning a bench spot right now.

      • You just couldn’t wait to bring up that miss, did you?
        What I meant to say is that my expectations for him are so low nothis he does shocks me anymore no matter how bad.

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