If the Premier League started on January 1, 2016, Sunderland would be top of the league with two wins from two, scoring seven goals and possessing the top goalscorer in the division, Jermain Defoe. A pretty pointless stat I know, but us Sunderland fans have to make the most of positive results as they happen so very rarely.
After not being able to gain a single point throughout the whole of December, Big Sam has managed to turn around the fortunes of the Black Cats once again. The last two games were absolutely crucial and it was imperative Sunderland got at least four points from the two. We somehow went one better and gained the maximum six points, putting us just one point away from safety.
It was quite nice to see the Mackems beat two teams who are also battling relegation, as we quite often roll over against these teams. On January 2, Defoe bagged himself a brace against bottom club Aston Villa and then on Wednesday night vs Swansea, Defoe went one better and scored a crucial, albeit controversial, hat-trick that put us just one point from safety.
Big Sam has issued a “hands-off” warning to any club interested in “Mr Defoe” as he is the key to Premier League survival this year. I was sceptical about the signing of the veteran attacker 12 months ago, but what a great decision it turned out to be. The striker has nine goals in the Premier League this season and is proving he can still do it at the age of 33. No other team battling relegation has a striker in this sort of form and maybe, just maybe, we can stay up as long as we can keep the Englishman fit.
Of the 13 goals he has scored for Sunderland, six have turned out to be either an important goal or a match winner. It would be an absolute travesty if the club let him go. It is quite incredible how we managed to get Defoe in a swap deal for Jozy Altidore in the first place. The club needed to buy a striker to go alongside him as Steven Fletcher is too hit and miss, Fabio Borini is being deployed as a winger and Danny Graham has proved all he can do is run around and I would do that for the money he is on, and they did that this week with the signing of Dame N’Doye.
I think it’s more who he isn’t then who he is that is upsetting the Sunderland fans. But, he did manage to score five goals in 15 games for a Hull side that were eventually relegated, so maybe we shouldn’t write him off so soon. He is a physical player who can hold the ball up and is your typical Allardyce signing.
Jan Kirchhoff has been the only other incoming so far and I don’t really know what to expect. Anyone who has represented Bayern Munich can’t be a terrible player, but knowing Sunderland he could just be another injury-prone flop. However, if it gets Wes Brown out of the defence, I’m happy with that.
Ellis Short is once again refusing to spend money and I assume Allardyce wont be happy with this, but we have to be careful this window. Whoever we do sign must live up to any potential they may have. We can’t afford more players turning out to be a complete failure. Yes, I’m looking at you Jack Rodwell, Ola Toivonen, Fabio Borini…etc. Finally, God bless Jermain Defoe.