MOTD- Sunderland 1-0 Everton

Sunderland have earned a huge win over Everton at the Stadium of Light, with Sunderland’s new manager Paolo Di Canio earning his second win as manager in as many games. The Black Cats started the match very energetically, but Danny Graham’s effort from the center of the box was just saved by Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard. Sunderland continued to pressure Everton, and Sebastian Larsson almost put Di Canio’s side in front in the twelfth minute when Marouane Fellaini brought down Danny Rose twenty-five yards out from goal. Larsson stepped up to take the kick, and his curling shot just skimmed of the top of the bar. Everton slowly started to settle into the match, with Kevin Mirallas’s low shot goal-bound from the edge of the box deflected behind by John O’Shea.

The Black Cats slowly began to dominate, and Larsson curled a free-kick from the left inches wide of the far post in the thirty-ninth minute. Seconds later Larsson forced Howard into a good diving save with another free-kick from a similar position, before Leighton Baines gifted Sunderland a goal right before the end of the first half. The England international played the ball straight to Rose inside his own half, and after charging through the Everton half, Rose slammed an effort into the bottom left corner from the edge of the box. Continue reading

Di Canio insists he is not racist

Newly appointed Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio has said via a statement on Sunderland’s official website that it is “stupid and ridiculous” for him to be considered a racist.  The former Swindon Town boss was appointed as Sunderland’s boss yesterday, a move that made vice-chairman David Miliband step down from his post due to Di Canio’s political views.  Di Canio is reportedly fascist and told the Italian news agency ANSA, “I am a fascist, not a racist,” in 2005.  But now the Italian claims he is not either fascist or racist, following Piara Powa, the director of the Football Against Racism in Europe association (FARE), demanding Di Canio to clarify his political beliefs.

“I don’t have a problem with anyone,” Di Canio said through a statement on Sunderland’s official website.  “I don’t know why I have to keep repeating my story, to be defending myself on something that doesn’t belong to me every time I change clubs. Talk about racism? That is absolutely stupid, stupid and ridiculous. Continue reading

Pablo Di Canio appointed Sunderland boss, non-executive chairman Miliband resigns

Pablo Di Canio has been appointed the manager of Sunderland following the sacking of Martin O’Neill. Di Canio was recently sacked from his post as the manager of Swindon Town after a run of eight games without a win. The volatile forty-four-year-old has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Sunderland, and his job will be to guide the club away from the Premier League relegation zone.

Speaking through Sunderland’s official website, Sunderland chairman Ellis Short welcomed Di Canio to the club, “Paolo is hugely enthused by the challenge that lies ahead of him,” Short said. “He is passionate, driven and raring to get started.

“The sole focus of everyone for the next seven games will be to ensure we gain enough points to maintain our top-flight status. I think that the chances of that are greatly increased with Paolo joining us.

“Our fans have shown tremendous patience and understanding this season. They have continued to back the team in huge numbers, both home and away, and that is something that continues to inspire all of us in our drive to give them the successful club they deserve. That remains our primary aim.”

Di Canio’s appointment has already proven controversial, with non-executive vice chairman David Miliband stepping down from his position because of Di Canio’s arrival. “I wish Sunderland AFC all success in the future,” Miliband said. “It is a great institution that does a huge amount for the North East and I wish the team very well over the next vital seven games. However, in the light of the new manager’s past political statements, I think it right to step down.” Continue reading

Sunderland sack Martin O’Neill

Sunderland have sacked manager Martin O’Neill following the club’s 1-0 loss to Manchester United. The club’s owner has been loyal to O’Niell through his stay at the Stadium of Light, but has axed the Northern Irish manager with Sunderland winless in eight matches and only one point above the relegation zone.

“Sunderland AFC has announced that it has parted company with manager Martin O’Neill this evening,” a statement on Sunderland’s official website read.

“The club would like to place on record its thanks to Martin and wishes him well for the future. An announcement will be made in the coming days regarding a successor.”

O’Neill took over at the club in December 2011, and successfully guided the club out of the relegation zone to end up in 13th place in the 2011/2012 season. But without a win in eight matches and with a tough run of fixtures (against Chelsea, Newcastle United and Everton) ahead of them, Sunderland have “parted” with the sixty-one-year-old. Sunderland currently sit in sixteenth place in the Premier League, only one point above the relegation zone, and could have a tough time staying up this season.

O’Neill’s most likely successors will be either former England boss Steve McClaren, with Paolo Di Canio, Roberto Di Matteo and Mark Hughes also among the rumoured contenders for the top spot.