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Sunderland

Few options up top for Poyet

Sunderland
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Another draw would suit Sunderland in derby

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno and Craig Burley weigh in on Jozy Altidore's future with Sunderland.

It is one of the fiercest of local derbies in football and its outcome affects fans for days, even seasons, to come, throughout the north-east of England.

If Sunderland's game at Newcastle United on Sunday is won by either side, the result will bring exhilaration to one set of fans, deep gloom to the other.

Forget any assumption that with so much more in common than to divide them, the cities of Newcastle and Sunderland should really take football rivalries less seriously.

Gone, long ago...

Altidore's Sunderland effort is laudable but maybe he should move on

The ESPN FC crew react to Jozy Altidore's shocking miss against West Ham, in a Sunderland career where he's scored only two goals in 69 Premier League appearances.

Two minutes before Sunderland's kickoff Saturday against West Ham, a post appeared on the A Love Supreme message board with the topic, "Today is Jozy Altidore's day," followed by the text, "He will win this for us today. His time has come. Haway Jozy."

Just over 50 minutes later, after Altidore had tied his feet in a knot when presented with a tap-in from three yards out, someone else posted on the same thread:

"Love him, but let's face facts: He's rotten at football."

Moments later, on another...

Altidore miss encapsulates Sunderland's scoring woes

Jozy Altidore's Sunderland nightmare continued as his first-half horror miss consigned the Black Cats to their fifth draw in their last six matches at the Stadium of Light.

In one moment that will surely give him nightmares, Jozy Altidore reinforced the image he cannot shake off: that as a striker unable to score for his club.

In the last move of the first half of yet another draw for Sunderland, an inviting low cross from Seb Larsson found the hard-working but low-achieving American striker no more than three yards from the open goal. Had the ball merely clattered into him, it might have spun into the net off a knee or thigh. Instead, Altidore slipped comically...

Can Connor Wickham fill Sunderland's goal-scoring void?

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet believes his side needs a difference maker up front and a couple wins in their next 3 or 4 games.

Sunderland face a confident West Ham on Saturday under no illusions about what stands between them and Premier League safety.

Only Aston Villa and Burnley have worse scoring records, 10 apiece from 15 games compared with 13 for the Wearsiders. Manager Gus Poyet knows he needs look no further than this glaring failure in front of the goal for an explanation of Sunderland's inability, so far, to create space between themselves and the tightly packed bottom six.

After yet another goalless draw, at Anfield...

Resolute Sunderland deserved their draw for troubling Liverpool at Anfield

Wes Brown, solid throughout, goes for goal during Sunderland's 0-0 draw at Liverpool on Saturday afternoon.

A winless run of five games would rightly trouble many clubs, but Sunderland will have left Liverpool on Saturday pleased with a goalless draw against supposedly top opposition.

Sunderland have room for quiet satisfaction; let no Liverpudlian tell you Brendan Rodgers' Reds were robbed. Gus Poyet's side gave an excellent account of themselves, defending solidly, passing fluently and getting as close to grabbing a winner as the home side.

It might not have been possible to say as much had Steven Gerrard...

Liverpool's vulnerability gives Sunderland a reason to hope

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has struggled since leaving Sunderland and faces his former club at Anfield on Saturday.

In the wake of the 4-1 footballing lesson handed out by Manchester City on Wednesday night, Sunderland coach Gus Poyet described the next test awaiting his team as "interesting." Given how little Sunderland have achieved at Liverpool in recent memory, the word was an understatement.

There has not been a Sunderland win at Anfield in the lifetime of the Premier League; a few honourable draws are the only return amid a string of defeats. It is more than 30 years since Sunderland won there in the old...