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Johnson 'Stoke And Villa Are Massive Games'

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18 Nov 2013 00:40:24

Johnson 'Stoke And Villa Are Massive Games'

Adam Johnson feels Sunderland have generated some useful momentum ahead of two key away games.

Adam Johnson: "The first half against City was probably one of the best halves of football I’ve been involved with at Sunderland.

"Hopefully the lads who are away can come back fit and we can take that into the next couple of games against Stoke and Villa.

“The momentum is right with us now.

“That’s three wins out of three at home and we’re in the quarter-finals of the cup as well.

“We’ve had some tough fixtures at home and now we play two of the teams in and around us away from home.

“Hopefully the lads who are away can come back fit and we can take that into the next couple of games.”

"We almost forcing a draw with nine men at Hull.

“Considering we had nine men in the second half at Hull, it just shows the organisation and the confidence we have to get on the ball and play.”

SUNDERLAND 1 MAN CITY 0

SUNDERLAND: 25. Vito Mannone 12. Ondrej Celustka 16. John O'Shea 5. Wes Brown 2. Phil Bardsley 4. Ki Sung-Yueng 23. Emanuele Giaccherini 72' 7. Sebastian Larsson 14. Jack Colback 11. Adam Johnson 87' 9. Steven Fletcher 77' Subs: 6. Cabral 8. Craig Gardner 72' 17. Jozy Altidore 77' 20. Keiren Westwood 21. Modibo Diakite 31. Fabio Borini 87' 35. Charis Mavrias

MAn CITY: 30. Costel Pantilimon 2. Micah Richards 71' 26. Martin Demichelis 6. Joleon Lescott 13. Aleksandar Kolarov 7. James Milner 14. Javi Garcia 45' 42. Yaya Toure 8. Samir Nasri 16. Sergio Aguero 9. Alvaro Negredo 71' Subs: 1. Joe Hart 5. Pablo Zabaleta 71' 10. Edin Dzeko 71' 15. Jesus Navas 45' 17. Jack Rodwell 22. Gael Clichy 38. Dedryck Boyata

Footymad report ...

Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley struck for the second time in five days to condemn Manchester City to a fourth successive Barclays Premier League defeat on Wearside.

The full-back, who edged himself back into the affections of Black Cats fans with the opening goal in Wednesday night's Capital One Cup win over Southampton, did it again to secure another 1-0 home win against City, the same score as in the past three seasons.

For Manuel Pellegrini's men, it was a fourth defeat in six league outings away from the Etihad Stadium this summer, and a return of just four points from a possible 18 on the road is severely hampering their title chances.

They arrived at the Stadium of Light having scored 14 goals in their past three games in all competitions, but as Sunderland defended as if their lives depended on it, they were unable to find a way past goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

It was just a second league victory of the season for the home side, and it served to boost their survival hopes and once again justify manager Gus Poyet's approach in front of a crowd of 40,137.

The Sunderland fans arrived at the Stadium of Light in hope rather than expectation, but their dreams were still intact by the time referee Mike Dean brought an end to the opening 45 minutes.

The Black Cats, somewhat improbably, led 1-0 with Bardsley, who famously found himself on the wrong side of former boss Paolo Di Canio after a casino visit last season, the unlikely hero once again, and the encouraging thing for Poyet was that it was richly deserved.

Where City were ponderous and toothless in their approach work, Sunderland were resolute in defence and by contrast, pacy and direct on the counter.

The visitors started positively and Bardsley had to make an important header to deny Alvaro Negredo a seventh-minute header at goal from Aleksander Kolarov's cross, and Mannone plucked James Milner's long-range drive out of the air seconds later.

However, the home side might have gone ahead when Sebastian Larsson picked out lone striker Fletcher with an inviting right-wing cross, but the Scotland international mistimed his header and sent it well wide.

Larsson was perhaps fortunate to escape further punishment for a late challenge on Javier Garcia, and the City man's mood was not improved when Mr Dean cautioned him for a later challenge on Fletcher.

But by that point, the Black Cats were ahead.

Wes Brown, starting his first Barclays Premier League game since January 21, floated the ball over the top for Bardsley to shake off Milner before cutting inside and curling a shot across goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, once again preferred to England international Joe Hart.

City's response was tepid and Sunderland created a series of half-chances to increase their lead, although Ki Sung-yueng overhit a through-ball to the unmarked Fletcher and defender Martin Demichelis got to Emanuele Giaccherini's 36th-minute cross marginally ahead of the Scot.

But Mannone did not have any further saves of note to make as Poyet's 4-1-4-1 formation and instructions to keep possession paid off handsomely.

Pellegrini decided enough was enough and replaced defensive midfielder Javi Garcia with winger Jesus Navas after the break, and the newcomer almost made an immediate impact, slipping past Johnson and crossing for Negredo to send a looping header over.

Navas might have equalised himself within five minutes of his arrival when Sergio Aguero out-paced John O'Shea and pulled the ball back to him, but Bardsley made a vital block.

The Spain international steered a 54th-minute cross across Mannone's goal, but it was Ki who came closest at the other end four minutes later when he blasted a right-foot shot just wide.

Navas aside, it was simply not happening for the visitors as they probed without any real menace with Sunderland defending deep and in numbers.

Indeed, it was full-back Micah Richards who became the first man for some time to test Mannone with a skidding 66th-minute shot from the edge of the box.

But the Italian had to palm away Aguero's dipping effort three minutes later and as time ran down, Pellegrini replaced Negredo with Edin Dzeko and Richards with Pablo Zabaleta.

Dzeko almost did the trick within seconds when he forced a flying save from Mannone with Aguero unable to make the most of the rebound.

Poyet's men were forced to weather a relentless assault as the final whistle approach, but with Brown marshalling his forces outstandingly at the back there was simply no way through for City.

Sunderland Fixtures

Saturday November 2315:00 Premier League Stoke City v SunderlandSaturday November 3015:00 Premier League Aston Villa v SunderlandWednesday December 419:45 Premier League Sunderland v ChelseaSaturday December 717:30 Premier League Sunderland v TottenhamSaturday December 1415:00 Premier League West Ham United v SunderlandTuesday December 1719:45 League Cup - Qtr Sunderland v ChelseaSaturday December 2115:00 Premier League Sunderland v Norwich CityThursday December 2615:00 Premier League Everton v SunderlandSaturday December 2817:30 Premier League Cardiff City v Sunderland

 

Source: Sunderland-Mad


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