On the eve of the League Cup Final at Wembley those in the know have Manchester City as clear favourites and give Sunderland little, if any, chance of success at all. As a Newcastle fan, and a jealous one at that, I can’t help thinking that in light of recent results between these two sides at The Stadium of Light Sunderland have a strong case for achieving success for the first time since 1973.
After 5 consecutive 1-0 victories over Manchester City at The Stadium of Light it could be argued that Sunderland is City’s bogey side. After all, City is the team with a multitude of riches in terms of playing staff and is backed by billionaire owners. Success on this occasion is surely a foregone conclusion, Sunderland are just there to make up the numbers and to provide City with the opportunity to lift a trophy that almost certainly has their name on it?
However, maybe, just maybe, we should have a little more belief that this is not as clear cut as some would have us believe and that Sunderland simply have the beating of City whether it be through formation, Poyet’s tactical astuteness in recent success or good old guts and determination.
We often hear “they can beat anyone on their day” or “it’s a one off game and anything could happen”; we only need to look at Wigan last year and their FA Cup success to validate these suggestions. Wigan though did not have Sunderland’s recent record of success against the Champions elect and will go into the game without fear of their opponents which is surely a positive before a ball has even been kicked. Sunderland’s place in the final has been won through strong performances not luck and has been well deserved e.g. winning against Manchester United at Old Trafford to set up this intriguing tie.
If asked to put money on it I am sure 99.9% of those asked would plump for the team in Blue but it may be wise to consider what has gone before and to give a little bit of consideration to the team in Red and White. City will be looking to right the wrongs of their last Wembley appearance and Sunderland aiming to achieve the unlikely and qualify for Europe at the same time.
The atmosphere is surely going to be one to savour and Sunderland fans will be hoping their team turn up and do not end up on the wrong end of a huge score line as so many others have this season. The first goal will be crucial, should it go to City how will Sunderland cope chasing the game but should it go to Sunderland………..Who knows……….dare they believe?