Sat. August 27, 2022
Barclays Premier League
Sunderland (1-1-0, 4 points, 4th) vs. Dover (2-0-0, 6 points, 1st)
The Stadium of Light, Sunderland, UK
Betting Odds: Sunderland: 6-4 (Favourites) Draw: 2-1 Dover: 13-8
Past Meetings: 3W 1D 4L
We are underdogs for the third straight game as we face a tough Sunderland team. We tied them 2-2 in Sunderland and beat them 4-2 at home last season but we have a sub-500 record against them lifetime. Their big transfer this season was a £4.2 million deal for CFR Cluj striker Lucas Alba, a young and VERY fast Spaniard. He looks to be an interesting prospect. Their most dangerous player continues to be striker Craig Flett, who already has two goals and fellow striker Connor Wickham has two as well.
We'll go with the same starting eleven from last week. On the road, I'm going to start in a counter attacking mentality but may move to a control mentality if I think I need to open it up a bit. Zoltan Bardi
is trying to regain match fitness but will be on the bench in place of Wayne Rooney
. Steve Reed
will also be on the bench just for cover at right fullback, as Kostas Zagos
isn't ready for game action yet.
Dover: 4-4-2 Counter
GK - I. Wilke
D - R. Gaucho, C. Contreras, R. Hamon, S. Loucif
M - A. Bamba, , N. Cairney, A. Rocca, G. Bolis
S - S. Andrea, Chiquinho
Bench - D. Traore, S. Reed, S. Spall, Mancini, G. Allan, Z. Bardi, P. Moses
Sunderland are also in a flat 4-4-2 with Flett and veteran striker Ben Sahar up front. Matt Barber and former Dover loanee George MacKenzie are in midfield and Sam Cowler is in goal. I tell the team they can win this and pull aside Shanon Andrea and Andrea Rocca to tell them to pick up where they left off last game.
3' - Just over two minutes in and Sunderland already have two yellow cards, with MacKenzie and Flett both being watched closely.
6' - Wow, and now a third and it's solid midfielder Matt Barber getting a yellow. I'm glad we are in a counter attack and laying back a bit as this ref is a bit whistle happy so far!
12' - No shots on net for either side but Shanon Andrea gets the best chance so far after a FOURTH yellow for Sunderland, as he's sprung upfield by an Arsene Bamba pass but his shot is just wide of the goal.
19' - The first shot comes from Craig Flett but it's right at Ingo Wilke and it's an easy save. Sunderland is definitely controlling play and I don't like that. I may have to get more aggressive soon.
25' - We have some possession finally and it's Gianluca Bolis sprinting into the area and getting off a hard shot that Cowler saves.
28' - Shanon Andrea with an inspired run up field, weaving back and forth and finally getting a low shot off from just inside the box but it's an easy save for Cowler.
32' - Our skill is starting to take over and our ball movement is sublime, with quick, crisp passing resulting in a Chiquinho shot that goes off the woodwork but is cleared to safety by Sunderland.
43' - We work up field and it's Bolis getting through into the area. He makes a move on left fullback Rastislav Baron and is in on goal but Baron takes him down. PENALTY! Baran already has a yellow and is lucky not to get a second one, as Neil Cairney steps up to take the kick. Cairney goes to the right side and Cowler guesses right but he can't get enough of the ball and it's IN the net for the opening goal! DOVER GOAL 1-0
45'+2 - Bamba with a foul and he's given a yellow card.
HALFTIME - Well, we did much better in the second part of that half and while Sunderland edge us on possession with 51%, we outshoot them 13-3 (6-2 on target). With this trigger happy referee, I'm going to continue to sit back in a counter and hope to get a second goal on the break. I tell the team I'm pleased.
48' - Ben Sahar gets off a rocket and Wilke makes an enormous diving save!
51' - Craig Flett is hurt and on the ground but we SHOW NO MERCY! We move the ball upfield and a little touch pass from Rocca to Chiquinho is immediately moved through the hole to a breaking Shanon Andrea. Our suddenly in-form striker moves in all alone and shoots hard and low to the far side, past Cowler and into the goal! We have a cushion! DOVER GOAL 2-0
55' - Yellow card for Shanon Andrea.
64' - And now it's Rayane Hamon with the yellow.
70' - And now Chiquinho with the yellow. That's nine yellows in this game alone.
73' - Sunderland substitute Connor Wickham gets through our defence and in on goal but Wilke is there again for a sensational save. My goodness...
78' - I make a double substitution, taking out Chiquinho and Bamba and bringing in Zoltan Bardi and Graham Allan.
82' - Cairney with a blatant trip just outside the area on Matt Barber and he's given the tenth yellow card of the game and five consecutive yellows to our club.
85' - Great…Shanon Andrea is tackled and is hurt. He needs to come off and has the dreaded cross of death above his name. In comes Paul Moses.
86' - ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? On the throw in after Moses comes in, the ball comes to the youngster and HE'S TACKLED AND HURT. His game is over after 26 seconds. FUCK YOU! I'm down to ten men as I have no substitutions left and they've injured two of my strikers.
90'+3 - Wilke is ridiculous and makes yet another spectacular diving save off a shot from distance from Nantoume.
We get the win but I'm scared to look at the injury report…
Sunderland 0 - 2 Dover
Goals - Neil Cairney (7.4), Shanon Andrea (7.4)
Assists - Gianluca Bolis (7.4), Chiquinho (6.8)
Man of the Match - Ingo Wilke (8.4)
Other Dover Notables - Salim Loucif (7.5), Rayane Hamon (7.8), Claudio Contreras (7.2), Renato Gaucho (7.9), Andrea Rocca (7.3)
Attendance - 42,991
A pretty quiet half there - Sunderland hold 52% of overall possession but we outshoot them 15-12 (7-6). Another fine game from our defence and Wilke was superb and deserving of his man of the match award. Chiquinho was quiet again and now has gone without a goal in all three of our games, this after scoring in every single one of his preseason matches. Fingers are crossed for no major injuries...
-- Thankfully, the injuries are NOT severe! Paul Moses
sustained a dead leg on that challenge and will only miss a couple of days of training. Meanwhile, Shanon Andrea
suffered a thigh strain and will miss a couple of weeks. Whew. Not bad…there is an international break coming up and we don't have a game for another two weeks so we should be just fine.
-- Man City beat Everton 2-0 and we are tied with them in first place with the same goal differential as well. Reading surprises Arsenal 1-0, Villa draw Liverpool 1-1, Chelsea beat up on Newcastle 3-0 and United beat Wolves 2-0.
-- In what is easily a Dover record, we have 17 players called up for international duty. I won't list all 17, don't worry!
-- Palermo keep calling for Gianluca Bolis
and it's once again a £20 million offer with barely any money up front. No chance guys…he's too good.
Premier League Team of the Week
-- Ingo Wilke
and Rayane Hamon
are selected to the Premier League team of the week.
-- In a deal that came together quickly on the last day before the transfer deadline, we come to terms with 18 year old DC Mwemere Mutesa
, a Rwanda international with 12 senior team caps already in a modest £300,000 deal with Hungarian club Ferencvaros.
This is more of a depth move, as my scouts gave him a 1.0/3.0 rating but upon arriving at Dover, my assistant manager gives him FOUR star potential. Excellent!!! Making it even better is the fact that our scouts felt a work permit was not going to be granted but we work some magic and Mutesa is now a part of our club! He will be sent to the U18s for the season and will be available if needed. Oh yeah, he's our 18th player now on international duty!
Dover U18 Update
-- In an absolute shocker, our U18s LOSE a game to QPR 3-2 in extra time, bowing out of the U18 Cup in the first round after winning it last year. In fact, our U18 team didn't lose a single game last year so this is a shocking upset. We don't have a lot of star power at striker this year with our youth team so that might be hurting us. In addition, five of our best youth players are away on international duty. No big deal either way!
-- After a quiet start, business certainly picks up in September, as we have three Premier League games (home vs. Huddersfield, away at Sheffield Wednesday and home vs. Burnley), a 3rd Round League Cup match at home vs. Reading and two Champions League matches (home vs. Porto, away at Slovan Bratislava). So six games this month.
-- Three players get lauded for their training: Gianluca Bolis
, Arsene Bamba
and Claudio Contreras
while veterans Wayne Rooney
and Said Henni
get bad reports. Henni was injured all month so that must be the reason for him. Two U18s get positive reports in Eddie Robinson
and Marcel Quade
while Phil Whitbread
gets a negative report as well.
Premier League Monthly Awards
-- The Premier League player of the month is INGO WILKE
!!! Our goalkeeper was sensational all month, allowing a single goal in his three games. Young fullback Renato Gaucho
comes in third! Wow!!!
-- Speaking of Renato Gaucho
, he wins the Young Player of the Month award!
-- Carlo Ancelotti wins Manager of the Month honours and I finish in second.
-- Two more of our players get called up by their country: Tomas Liska
from our U18 club and Carlos Guzman
, bringing our total to TWENTY PLAYERS. Incredible.
September Board Confidence Update
-- The board are very pleased with my overall leadership. The stature increase is the main positive and Youssouf Sylla's departure is the negative.
-- We made a profit of £3.11 million last month.
Champions League Registration
-- No issues this year with home grown players, as we are able to register a clean lineup, albeit one with four spaces in it. Still, we have plenty of U21 talent available to play without the need of registering them.
-- Gaining caps for their country are Paul Moses
(England U21), Kostas Kalfas
(Greece U21), Lyubomir Kunchev
(Bulgaria U21), Marcel Quade
(Austria U21), Tomas Liska
(Slovakia U21), Carlos Guzman
(Argentina U21), Manuel Perez
(Mexico), Daniel Traore
(Ivory Coast), Chiquinho
(Belgium), Graham Allan
& Neil Cairney
(Scotland), Salim Loucif
& Said Henni
(Algeria), Kostas Zagos
(England), Zoltan Bardi
(Hungary), Giorgos Gesios
(Greece), Mwemere Mutesa
(Rwanda) and Unisa Wright
(Sierra Leone). So 18 caps…not bad!
-- Geez, the injuries just keep coming to our strikers, as Paul Moses
is hurt again during play for England's U21 team. He hurt his elbow and will miss two weeks. Tough timing, as he was going to start our next game with Shanon Andrea
on the sidelines as well. And in Hungary's game, Zoltan Bardi
is ALSO hurt again and he'll miss about a week with a stubbed toe. Unreal.
Dover U18 Update
-- The youth team draws with Brighton 1-1. Phil Whitbread
scores our only goal.
Dover Reserves Team Update
-- We win 2-0 over Derby's reserves, with Shaun Spall
and Wayne Rooney
-- We're finally back in action after a two week break, as we host Huddersfield Town at Crabble Athletic Ground.