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Hammers wreck Advocaat debut


Hopeless sense of relegation doom settling in at Sunderland

Manager Dick Advocaat faces a tall task in keeping Sunderland safe for another Premier League season.
Manager Dick Advocaat faces a tall task in keeping Sunderland safe for another Premier League season.

Arsenal's FA Cup semifinal duties leave Sunderland without a Premier League game this weekend, but not without the fear that another lamentable season is destined to end in tears.

Manager Dick Advocaat finds himself in a position that is, on paper, less ominous than the challenge facing former boss Gus Poyet at precisely the same stage of last season. But it is a position many consider to be graver.

The Dutch manager has six games to avoid relegation and collect the handsome bonus he has been...

Sunderland sliding toward relegation following abject loss to Palace

Sunderland were torn to shreds by Crystal Palace, who prevailed 4-1 at the Stadium of Light with Yannick Bolasie scoring a hat trick.

Dick Advocaat spoke before seeing his Sunderland side hammered 4-1 at home by Crystal Palace of settling for playing badly but winning in the battle for Premier League survival. The humiliation of a crushing defeat cannot have been in his thoughts.

Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace
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He certainly saw the ragged band of low achievers he inherited from Gus Poyet play badly. But the winning part of his ideal outcome never looked possible in a lacklustre first half and became an impossibility early in the second as Palace swept into...

Sunderland win over Newcastle has breathed life into survival fight

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat was delighted after Jermain Defoe's incredible volley won the derby with Newcastle.

Dick Advocaat's Sunderland have a golden opportunity to win their annual survival battle this weekend.

After the excitement of a fifth successive win over their bitter rivals Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light last Sunday, accomplished with that moment of magic from Jermain Defoe, another home match looms.

Crystal Palace are the visitors and Advocaat knows this is also game his team must win. Each of the other bottom-six strugglers face a nominally tougher task. Hull, Aston Villa and Leicester...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Premier League relegation predicted: Villa down with QPR and Leicester

Burnley manager Sean Dyche praises his side for keeping another clean sheet and gaining a crucial point in.

Tuesday night provided only inconclusive evidence for the relegation battle. Tim Sherwood's gilet lasted just 10 minutes when Christian Benteke scored Aston Villa's first, but the Belgian needed a hat trick to hold Queens Park Rangers to a 3-3 draw.

Rangers stay in the drop zone, while Villa continue to teeter above it. Good news for everybody else not involved in the dogfight because the rest of the Premier League season is turning into a procession; Chelsea will surely win the title, and the top...

Sunderland win over Newcastle down to Jermain Defoe moment of quality

A wondergoal from Jermain Defoe earned Sunderland a much-needed three points.

Dick Advocaat talked after accepting the challenge of keeping Sunderland in the Premier League of the need to "win ugly" if necessary. Ugliness, with the exception of a sublime winning volley from Jermain Defoe, is precisely what he saw in the cauldron of a Wear-Tyne derby that gave him his first victory in charge.

Football managers of Advocaat's experience rightly dismiss as trivia the sequences of winning and losing they expect to maintain or bring to an end.

But the vastly experienced Dutchman...

 By Nick Miller

Sunderland show heart while Newcastle are a depressing mess

A wondergoal from Jermain Defoe earned Sunderland a much-needed three points.

SUNDERLAND -- Here are three quick thoughts from Sunderland's 1-0 win over Newcastle at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

1. Sunderland scrapping and surviving

Sunderland have been here before. This represented the team's fifth successive win in a Tyne-Wear derby (as many as they had won in the previous 34 years), and while they have proved important in recent seasons, fans will be cautious before thinking of this as the springboard to something more permanent.

Sunderland seem to be in a dispiriting...