by David Sweeney

This week we look at why Martin O’Neill cannot start soon enough for
Sunderland, we also give our old friend Stuart Attwell yet another
mauling as he continued his standard below-par officiating by getting
one very key decision wrong this weekend. Ipswich Town can’t buy a win
at the moment; is it time for Paul Jewell to go? We finish off by taking an

in depth look at Average Villa who turned in yet
another display that lacked fight, creativity or any spark whatsoever.

So you sack your manager whose woeful signings and tactics have got
you into the mess Sunderland find themselves in and you allow his
assistant manager who presumably supported and maybe even influenced
the previous managers signings and tactics to take charge of the next
league game? This does not make sense to me and it came as no surprise
that the theme of Sunderland’s season continued yesterday as they once
again managed to salvage a defeat from the jaws of victory.
Eric Black was like Steve Bruce re-incarnated on the sideline playing
both Colback and Cattermole in defensive midfield which once again
left them short of any creativity in the centre of the park. His
substitutions also left a lot to be desired as he took off star man
Sessegnon and replaced him with an unproven 18 year old kid. Just
Despite there being a clear hand ball in the build up to Wolves second
goal Sunderland really cannot complain at the defeat as Mick
McCarthy’s men out battled them in every department.
Martin O’Neill watched from the stands and he must have wondered at

the enormity of the job he has taken on. If it wasn’t clear to him before
it will be now that he has a big job on his hands if he is to knock
the underachieving Black Cat’s back into shape and stave off
Some good news for the Sunderland faithful is that the last of Bruce’s
cronies Black is leaving on Tuesday; the only shame being that half the
playing squad are not leaving with him.

This man is not a top flight footballer.

Championship outfit Ipswich Town have wracked up seven straight losses
which surely leaves their beleaguered manager Paul Jewell’s future at
the club in the balance.
On Saturday the Tractor Boys blew yet another one goal lead as Watford
fought back to win 2-1 at Portman Road.
Ever the logical thinker, Jewell’s comical rant after the game
highlighted the pressure he is under; “We just didn’t have any
luck. I’m not one for blaming luck, I never have been.” Well Paul after
that I beg to differ. His words must serve to infuriate rather than
console Town fans. This latest idiotic post match statement reminds me
of a typical Kevin Keegan quote whilst managing England. Strangely
Jewell finds himself in a similar predicament to the one King Kev was
in; he is a likable guy, but profoundly out of his depth.
The defeat was harsh on Ipswich who had been the better side for much
of the game but once again failed to take their chances whilst in the
ascendancy before giving away what may have been a harsh penalty and
then a sloppy goal in quick succession. Even if Ipswich feel hard done
by the record books do not lie and they categorically read

seven straight defeats! Jewell needs to change things quickly or else he

will soon find himself out of a job.

Maybe retirement from the game would be a more appropriate route to
take for good old Stuart.

Stuart Attwell
For once Owen Coyle and his side can feel hard done by, despite
slumping to yet another comprehensive defeat at the weekend. With the
Wanderers 1-0 down at Spurs incompetent referee Stuart Attwell wrongly
dismissed Bolton skipper Gary Cahill for a challenge on Scott Parker.
Attwell deemed Cahill to be the last man and therefore denied Parker a
clear goalscoring opportunity. Well as Parker was only ten yards
inside the Bolton half unless he had his Roberto Carlos’s shooting
boots on then he was not in a goalscoring position and so Cahill
should have only been booked. My view is supported by not only Owen
Coyle but even Spurs boss Harry Redknapp who after the game
agreed that Attwell’s bizarre decision was incorrect.
Adding further condemnation to the decision is the fact that earlier
in the day Chelsea defender David Luiz escaped with a yellow card when
he blatantly dragged down Demba Ba on the edge of the Chelsea box,
despite that probably being the wrong decision it does make Attwell’s
look absolutely ludicrous.
After such an bad decision Bolton were never going to get back into
the game, as a team in the relegation zone, already 1-0 down, away at
a very strong Spurs team they were up against it as it was but after
Atwells blunder it was game over.
Bolton have appealed against the red card and so it should be
rescinded, however what should be the main point of concern is
Attwell’s consistently inadequate performances, how many Premier
League games is he going to ruin this season? He should be demoted as
soon as possible, although I would feel sorry for the lower league
clubs that have the misfortune of seeing him officiate their side.
Maybe retirement from the game would be a more appropriate route to
take for good old Stuart.

Average (at best) Villa
Villa once more lost at home to Manchester United, this is nothing new
and happens season after season so much so in fact that the Villa fans
will not complain about the result. What they have every reason to be
up in arms about however is the manner of this defeat.
United did not get out of second gear and never needed to. The game
mirrored an attack vs defence training exercise as Villa invited
United to pile on the pressure merely treating the ball as a hot
potato when it did come their way, aimlessly hoofing it long only for
it to come back time and time again with Darren Bent cutting an
isolated figure up front.
Bent is a proven Prem striker that will easily notch between 15-20
goals a season even with average service. Sadly for him and his
England prospects he isn’t even receiving that and Saturday was no
different as he was yet again starved of the sort of service that he
thrives upon and that he primarily joined Villa to get. I cannot see
Bent being happy about the impact that games like this may have on his
chances of spending the summer in an England shirt.
Villa were booed off at half time and it was not until the last half
hour of the game that they finally began to apply a bit of pressure on
the visitors’ defence. The supreme Emile Heskey was brought on in one
last pathetic throw of the dice but he typically missed his one and
only chance to score as he headed wide from three yards.
Manager Alex McLeish left winger Charles N’Zogbia out of the starting
eleven for a breach of discipline. This was a bad move as it deprived
the hosts of one of their only attacking threats. All in all a
terrible game where Villa were second best from the first whistle to
the last. McLeish faces big problems if he is going to turn things
around at Villa Park and I would not rule out him leading another side
to relegation on Saturdays evidence, making it two in two seasons.

You can follow David on Twitter @sweeneymcfc