They may be at the bottom of the Premier League at the moment, but Sunderland are fast becoming English football’s very own giantkillers.
It’s perhaps a little strange to be labeling a Premier League outfit with such a title, particularly when they would be seen as giants themselves to other opposition.
But the way in which they have progressed into the Capital One Cup Semi-Finals and picked up some very important points in the Premier League against the division’s top sides, means they have no doubt earned the right to their newly found nickname.
Taking their league form into consideration, they were not expected to beat Chelsea in Round 5, nor were they expected to beat the in-form, and hugely impressive, Southampton in Round 4.
However, as they prepare to face another giant in the shape of Manchester United in the Semi-Finals, you would be mad to write off their chances of reaching the Final.
New boss Gus Poyet has got the Black Cats playing some nice football plus the players are more organised, they appear to be more positive and they are quickly improving under the Uruguayan’s guidance.
And their successes over the likes of Southampton and Chelsea in the Capital One Cup and Manchester City and Newcastle in the Premier League have all come since Poyet took charge.
They have also come close to victories over Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, which means they are more than capable of competing with so called ‘giants’ of English football.
Their Semi-Final meeting with United gives Sunderland the perfect opportunity to continue their exploits over the bigger teams and reach a Capital One Cup Final. It gives them the opportunity to take the attention away from what has so far been a disappointing Premier League campaign.
David Moyes’ United team have not exactly been at their best so far this season, either. A number of disappointing results both at home and away from Old Trafford has given every other Premier League side the belief that they can register a victory over a side that used to be so hard to break down.
With that in mind, Poyet will believe his Sunderland side have every chance of causing yet another Capital One Cup upset and another ‘giant killing’ this season.
Furthermore, by the time the first-leg comes around at the Stadium of Light, the Black Cats may have managed to pull themselves away of the relegation danger they currently find themselves in, which would arguably give them more confidence to spring a surprise on United.
Should they pull off another giant killing in the Semi-Finals then they could face the blue half of Manchester in the final. If that’s the way the Semi-Finals pan out then you’d be silly to bet against Sunderland lifting the Capital One Cup trophy at Wembley in February.
Poyet seems to get the best out of them against the bigger teams and he’ll certainly be able to do the same in the Semi-Finals and the Final, should they get there.
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