Jermain Defoe may be 32 now but the striker certainly hasn’t lost any of his appetite for the game. Since arriving at Sunderland, Defoe has netted twice in four Premier League games – could he be the catalyst to keep the Black Cats in the top flight?
Defoe moved to Toronto in February 2014 but lasted less than a year in Canada, before making a return to the Premier League with Sunderland. The ex-England international struggled to adapt to life in Toronto, and with a host of English clubs lining up a move for Defoe in January, Gus Poyet’s Sunderland won the race, and the 32-year-old penned a three-and-a-half-year contract with the Wearside club.
The former Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United striker has slotted back into the English top flight like he’s never been away. Defoe scored his first Sunderland goal in the 2-0 win over Burnley, in what was just his second league start for the club. He then followed that up by hitting the Mackem’s only strike in the very creditable 1-1 draw with Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium last Saturday.
The goal machine has always had the knack of scoring plenty of goals wherever he has played his football. Defoe’s strike against the Swans meant he has now scored against every current Premier League side during his illustrious career. That’s an incredible achievement, which just pays tribute to the Sunderland striker’s incredible ability of finding the net.
The Sunderland boss has already described Defoe as “undroppable”, telling the Mirror:
“I’ve been thinking he cannot play 90 minutes in every game – he’s had a little problem with his groin,” said the Uruguayan. “But when someone scores goals you cannot drop him. He’s going to have to die on the pitch.”
He added: “Now the team knows if you play a certain way and can control the game and get the ball into good areas in the box, Jermain will do the rest.”
After the disappointing 2-0 home defeat to managerless Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday, Poyet’s side have been pulled closer to the relegation places. The Black Cats currently sit in 15th place in the Premier League table, just two points above the drop zone.
But Sunderland are all too familiar with a relegation scrap, and they will be fully prepared for the battle ahead. After their incredible great escape last year, and with adding the services of Jermain Defoe, Poyet will be confident his side have enough resources and experience for the fight.
The Mackems, who have only won once in the Premier League since their memorable derby day victory over Newcastle United, have a vital month coming up, as three of their four opponents are also fighting for survival. Sunderland have West Bromwich Albion, Hull City and Aston Villa in the space of a month that could shape their season.
The relegation scrap is going to go all the way to the wire, like it always does in the Premier League. But with a striker of Defoe’s ability, the Black Cats may well have given themselves the edge over their rivals, and he could be the man who ensures Sunderland’s Premier League survival.