Saturday, 18 January 2014

Sunderland vs Southampton - Analysis + Review:

Early kick-off: Sunderland hosted Southampton at home on Saturday afternoon.
Hello and welcome to my analysis and review of the early afternoon match in the EPL between Sunderland and Southampton, where 20th-placed Sunderland looked to move off the bottom of the table with a good result at home against an impressive Southampton side, who are currently in 9th place. 

The game could not have started any better for the visitors, who went 1-0 ahead after just 4 minutes thanks to a well-drilled shot by striker Jay Rodriguez, who hit the ball powerfully past a few defenders who were marking him into the bottom corner of the net past helpless goalkeeper Vito Mannone who could just watch as Sunderland trailed early on in the first-half. 


Early opener: Rodriguez celebrates his strike to give Southampton the lead after 4 minutes.
It then went from bad to worse for the hosts, with defender Dejan Lovren converted a half-volley strike in the 31st minute from a corner set-piece which fired into the bottom corner out of Mannone's reach as Southampton pressed on for the 3 points against a fatigued Sunderland side who were being simply dominated in the first 25 minutes. 


Just like a striker: Lovren doubles Southampton's lead with a half-volley strike. 

Lovren celebrates with highly-rated teenager Luke Shaw and manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Luckily for Sunderland though, they pulled a goal back just a minute later thanks to on-loan Liverpool striker Fabio Borini who could not believe his luck after going through on goal unmarked before lashing at the strike, which span past Boruc who could only flap at it while off-balance to make it 2-1.


Lashing at it: Borini got lucky with a strike to make it 2-1 before half-time. 
Boruc should have comfortably saved the shot, but Sunderland did not mind. 

It was 2-1 at half-time, with Southampton deservedly leading at the break despite only being a goal ahead even though they could have quite easily been 3 or 4. Sunderland on the other hand knew that they were still in the game, despite playing poorly and failing to mark or press their opposition to make a mistake for the majority of the first half, much to their fans' discontent.

Sunderland came out for the second half with a different game plan, making substitutes along the way as they searched for an equaliser in a game they probably should not have got a result out of in the first place. 
Southampton were doing well defensively, with Lambert and Rodriguez both missing chances for the visitors as The Black Cats continued to press for another goal. 

Sunderland eventually equalised to make it 2-2, with English forward Adam Johnson finding a way through on goal - getting the ball from a switch of the play pass before running into a yard of space to smash his strike past Boruc at the near post into the roof of the net.

The equaliser: Adam Johnson was patient, finding space to strike past Boruc to equalise.
The match ended 2-2 in the end, with the last few minutes marred by two worrying injuries for Southampton with substitute Gaston Ramirez and Dejan Lovren being forced off just before full-time (Ramirez with a nasty-looking injury from Wes Brown's mistimed challenge, while Lovren was injured in a 50-50 challenge for the ball)

Nasty: Wes Brown was late with a challenge on substitute Gaston Ramirez.
Ouch: The cameras showed the full extent of the tackle, which left Ramirez in a heap
Unfortunate: Southampton drew the game, and ended up losing two of their players to injury
Concern: Lovren and Ramirez were both taken to hospital for their respective injuries. 

(MORE TO FOLLOW - SOON)