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December 21, 2013
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: M. Atkinson
• Attendance: 37778
Poyet will be frustrated to see his side unable to take their chances. They need to be winning these kind of games if they want to stay in this league. Thank you for joining me, I've been Greg Taylor, have a Merry Christmas!
It ends goalless at the Stadium of Light, with neither side producing enough quality in the final third to find a winner. Sunderland were the best side by a mile, but Norwich hung on to gain a valuable point away from home.
FULL-TIME Sunderland 0-0 Norwich
90' + 5'
90' + 3'
Red CardWes Brown
Would you believe it, Wes Brown gets sent off again for a fairly innocuous challenge. He slides in, over the ball and is high but makes no contact with the Norwich player. I'd say that's harsh. Probably Sunderland's best player this season and they won't have him over the Christmas period. Bad news for Poyet.
90' + 3'
Yellow CardFabio Borini
90' + 3'
Big call for a penalty! Johnson floats it in, the ball hits Bassong but it clearly hits him on the chest. Referee waves play on.
90' + 1'
Classic 80s long ball stuff now. Both sides hoping for an error and the chance to score the winner. Poyet cursing to himself on the sideline, he knows his side should have won this.
Norwich have hung on for the best part of 80 minutes, Can they keep it 0-0? Well there will be four minutes of stoppage time. Here we go.
Sunderland have a free kick, after Fletcher is brought down. Larsson over it, 35 yards out, can they get the winner? No they can't. Pathetic ball in.
Hooper attempts to nick the ball away from Bardsley on the near side and goes strongly to try and regain possession. He connects with it but boots the ball straight into the chest of the right-back, who has to go down for treatment.
CLOSE! End to end stuff. Both sides almost score within 30 seconds. van Wolfswinkel is played in and has time to steady himself before shooting directly at Mannone from 10 yards out. Then Sunderland counter, Ruddy comes out his goal and is in no mans land, 30 yards from his goal line, Ki has a chance to score from 20 yards out into an empty net but it goes wide. Comical play from Ruddy. Lucky boy.
CHANCE! How did Bardsley not score that. Johnson crosses it in from the left wing, Bardsley gets a good connection but heads it straight at Ruddy. Another chance gone begging. Poyet will be disappointed if his side don't come away with maximum points after this performance.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel
Can Norwich hold on, or even nick a late winner? They have been completely overawed this half. Sunderland have had 70 per cent possession to Norwich's 30 per cent.
Yellow CardSebastian Larsson
Nice exchanges on the edge of the area between Borini and Ki. They play a neat one-two and Ki almost gets in but Ruddy, again, reads it and is out to quickly clean up.
With Johnson, Fletcher and Borini on Sunderland really do have a quality front three. Can they produce some magic and find a winner. Hughton looks worried on the sideline, he knows his side are lucky to still be level here.
CHANCE! Ruddy has a nightmare from a corner, he gets nowhere near it and the ball hangs in the air, Brown beats Ruddy to the ball but heads it inches wide from inside the six-yard box. They should be leading.
Steven Fletcher gets a huge applause as he comes on. So popular around these parts, can he break the deadlock and help Sunderland get three crucial points.
Sunderland building pressure. Ten Norwich players behind the ball, only Hooper is beyond the half way line. Ruddy is barking orders at his defence, they're hanging on here.
Norwich about to take their sixth corner of the game. It's cleared to Johnson who immediately runs at the Norwich defence. Bassong seems to foul him but play continues much to the home fans dismay.
Johnson is on for Giaccherini. Poyet clearly hoping his pace and trickery can cause Norwich a few problems out wide. Still no clear cut chance this half, really scrappy game now.
STAT: Norwich have won the same number of Premier League games as at the same stage last season (four), but have lost twice as many matches (eight).
Norwich playing on the break and are catching Sunderland out. But as soon as they lose the ball they close Norwich down, this time Larsson is a bit too forceful and fouls Fer. Norwich have a free kick in their own half.
PENALTY SHOUT! Celustka goes down under a challenge from Bassong but the referee waves play on. Norwich break with Snodgrass, he lays it wide to Whittaker who takes it early but he drags his shot wide. Poor decision, there were five Norwich players in the box and only four Sunderland defenders.
Sunderland have a corner, Larsson about to take it. It's not a great delivery but Sunderland get another corner.
O'Shea is receiving treatment form the physio. Not too much happening, game is a lot slower than the first half but Sunderland still look the better side.
Larsson hits it straight into the wall but he runs over to take the resulting corner. O'Shea and Bardsley are down on the floor, appearing to have taken one another out while attacking the cross. They look ok though and get to their feet.
Free kick for Sunderland in a dangerous area. Borini gets in between Turner and Whittaker trips Borini. He also receives a yellow card for his troubles. This is perfect for Larsson.
Yellow CardSteven Whittaker
Good start by the home side. Trying to keep up the momentum of the first half. Bardsley whips in a good cross from the left but Turner, who has been very impressive so far today, heads it clear.
Sunderland will kick off the second half.
The players come out the tunnel, we'll be back underway very shortly.
There should be goals in the second half. Sunderland have scored in their last 10 home games in all competitions since losing 1-0 to Fulham on the opening day. But they have also conceded 16 at home - the highest tally in the top flight. Surely someone will score?
And that's half time. A classic bottom of the table clash in the British winter. Sunderland ave definitely been the better side and Poyet will be pleased with his sides overall performance. Hughton will be wondering why his side are so poor away from home, they started well but were hanging on at the end of that half.
Good pressure by Borini. He gives Olsson no time on the ball and the defender is forced into making a mistake. Larsson plays an early ball in but Ruddy catches it and kicks it down field. Fer almost scores as it falls perfectly for him on the edge of the box but his shot is tame and Mannone is able to collect the ball.
CLOSE! Giaccherini takes a pop from 20 yards out, his shot takes a big deflection and almost wrong foots Ruddy in the Norwich goal. Sunderland really going for it before the break.
If Norwich keep it like this, Chris Hughton will be quite happy to get in at half time 0-0. His side have been pretty poor, I'm sure he's desperate to have a word with some of his players.
Poyet looking quite happy sitting on the bench. But he will feel Sunderland deserve the lead. But Cattermole loses the ball to Hooper who shoots from distance and Mannone tips it wide for a corner. Poyet almost not very happy.
The Canaries have conceded more goals on their travels this season (21) than any other team in the division. With the way they're playing you can see why. They're almost getting bullied off the park.
CLOSE! Altidore finds some space in the middle of the box and pulls the trigger but his shot is deflected wide for a corner. Oh and another great opportunity, the ball falls to Ki on the edge of the box, no one within 10 yards of him but he takes a touch and gets closed down. Should have taken that first time.
Positive stuff by Sunderland. All their wide players are running at the Norwich back four. The Canaries are losing their grip on this game and need to stop the Sunderland pressure before they fall behind.
Great play by Ki, he spreads it wide to Borini who has a sight of goal from the edge of the box, he hits it well but it goes into the side netting. Some fans thought it was in. The Black Cats are getting closer.
Sunderland get down the right, Larsson pulls the ball back to the edge of the area but Cattermole hits it high and wide. Elmander is down holding his head. Been some meaty challenges so far, quite an old fashioned game so far.
Getting a little bogged down in midfield now. Fer looking sharp, he passes it to Olsson on the left flank who puts in an early cross. No one reads it and Mannone has the ball in his hands.
Good play by Ki down the left who looks confident after his midweek heroics. He runs at the defence and rolls it across to Larsson who takes aim from 25 yards out but pulls his shot just wide and Ruddy will have a goal kick. Probably the closest Sunderland have come.
Good end to end stuff. But as usual with the sides in the bottom half of the table, they just lack that killer final ball. Sunderland look most likely to score but Norwich look dangerous on the break.
Game getting a little feisty now. And surprise surprise Lee Cattermole is involved. He is a little late on Elmander and both decide to go forehead to forehead before shaking hands and playing on. Handbags have been put away for the time being.
Sunderland have lost all eight of their league matches after conceding the first goal this season. No wonder Poyet is urging his side to take the initiative.
Still no clear cut chance for either side. Both teams look most dangerous when they get it wide, especially Norwich with Redmond and Snodgrass willing to run at defenders at every opportunity.
Gus Poyet getting a little frustrated with his side taking long range shots. He wants them to keep the ball better. It seems they heard him, Sunderland currently playing the ball around midfield patiently building play.
Great play by Redmond, he turns inside and skips past two defenders before unleashing a powerful shot from 20 yards out. Mannone gets down to it and tips it round the post for a corner. Redmond, like Spurs' Townsend is so direct when he gets on the ball, you always feel like something is about to happen.
Snodgrass gets beyond Bardsley in the area and goes down quite theatrically. Norwich appeal but Martin Atkinson waves it away. I think Snodgrass went down a bit to easily there.
Tenacious play by Giaccherini, the little Italian bulldog puts Turner under a lot of pressure which forces the Norwich defender to kick the ball out of play. Sunderland look the better side the last five minutes.
Elmander is moving rather gingerly, looks like he's pointing to his hamstring. Hughton has plenty of attacking options on the bench if he is unable to continue.
Both sides still trying to impose themselves on the game. Good play by Cattermole, he feeds Borini who puts in an early cross, but Bassong reads it and clears the danger. Sunderland have a throw in.
Really positive start by Norwich. They're playing at a really high tempo and are trying to press Sunderland very high up the pitch. Larsson tries to calm the game down but he gives it away sloppily and Norwich regain control.
Robert Snodgrass looking positive down the right wing, immediately running at the home defence and his persistence wins him a corner. Great cross in to Hooper who couldn't quite tee it up for Bassong and the ball goes out of play for a goal kick.
Norwich will get us underway.
The players are out on the pitch, we'll be underway shortly.
With 11 defeats in 16 games the Black Cats are on their worst run of form since the 2005-06 season when they lost 14 of the first 17. They were eventually relegated with just 15 points. Can Sunderland begin to turn it round today? I'm sure their fans are desperate for history not to repeat itself.
Poyet has made three changes to his team, with Phil Bardsley and Tuesday match winner Ki recalled. Fabio Borini has also done enough in recent weeks to take Adam Johnson's place in attack. A couple of decent players on both benches too, Steven Fletcher and Jack Colback will be hoping to get on for Sunderland while Norwich have dutch striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel fit again after a lengthy lay off.
Norwich have made just a one change to the team which drew with Swansea last weekend, Robert Snodgrass returns to the midfield at the expense of Johnny Howson. As you can see Hooper is playing so Norwich can't lose can they?
NORWICH SUBS: Bunn, van Wolfswinkel, Hoolahan, Garrido, Becchio, R Bennett, Josh Murphy.
NORWICH XI: Ruddy, Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Olsson, Snodgrass, Fer, Johnson, Redmond, Elmander, Hooper.
SUNDERLAND SUBS: Dossena, Gardner, Fletcher, Johnson, Colback, Roberge, Pickford.
SUNDERLAND XI: Mannone, Celustka, Bardsley, Brown, O'Shea, Cattermole, Ki, Larsson, Borini, Giaccherini, Altidore.
Right, let's have a look at the starting lineups.
Norwich fans may have seen a fair few away losses this season, but there's reason for optimism with summer signing Gary Hooper on top form. The Englishman has scored three goals in his last four games, and Norwich have not lost when he has found the net this season.
So which Sunderland will turn up today? The heroic cup warriors from Tuesday night or the side who have gone five games without a league win and sit four points adrift at the bottom of the table? Poyet will be praying it's the former as this is a must win game, at home to a Norwich side that have faltered on their travels this season, any dropped points today could be costly come May.
With Christmas just round the corner both sides will be desperate to grab all three points to help them through the holiday period. Gus Poyet will hope his side can take encouragement from Tuesdays 2-1 League Cup victory over Chelsea while Chris Hughton will be looking for an improved away performance from his side.
Good afternoon and welcome to the LIVE Text Commentary of Sunderland v Norwich at the Stadium of Light. I'm Greg Taylor and I'll be guiding you through all the action in what is undoubtedly a vital game for both Premier League strugglers.
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