1. Fabio Borini: An Indispensible Member of the Sunderland Squad

    3rd June 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
    "I call my role a blind job because people don't notice the work you're doing. I feel a bit like Thomas Müller at Bayern Munich they pick him because he does a lot of blind jobs, which makes things easier for everyone else."

    These were the words of Sunderland's Fabio Borini when speaking to the Guardian about the sacrificial role he's had to undertake under Sam Allardyce. The former Chelsea, Swansea, Roma and Liverpool forward, who's been predominantly deployed out wide, usually on the right, has gone about his defensively geared assignments with unwavering commitment and intensity. For a striker, traditionally one of the most individualistic outfield players, Borini deserves plenty of credit for going about his work with a minimum of fuss and selflessness.

    "Playing wide is hard. Sometimes it's more about going backwards than forwards. It's about defending and tracking back rather than enjoying the ball in the opposition half, and it's why I'm not scoring as many goals as I want," Borini explains.

    "My job has to be done. The manager thinks I'm the right man for it so I'll do it. You have to put yourself to one side a little bit to help the team and that's what I've done all season."

    There can be no doubting his diligence was a key factor in the Black Cats' successful fight for Premier League survival, for his, and his teammates', dogged yet methodical defensive exertions ensured Sunderland only lost one of their last 11 games, against champions Leicester City, to remain in the division.

    Many will point to the fact that Borini only registered five goals and supplied two assists this campaign, but upon factoring in his defensively orientated role and Sunderland's huge struggles for large parts of the season, it's unfair to judge him purely on stats based metrics.

    There are, however, many tangible aspects of his game that can be judged via analysing the Italian's output. To start w

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  2. Can Sunderland Dodge Relegation?

    Sunderland AFC are currently participating in their ninth consecutive Premier League season. However, judging by the football club's recent performances, there isn't going to be a 10th. Indeed, with time running out in the 2015/16 campaign, the Black Cats' odds of dodging the relegation bullet this season are getting longer and longer.

    Manager Sam Allardyce is fully aware of his team's tenuous position, too. According to a Guardian article published on March 4th, Allardyce believes that Sunderland essentially have a one in three chance of avoiding relegation to the Football League Championship at the end of the season. The other two soccer clubs chasing for the same one-in-three odds are Norwich City and Newcastle United. Presumably, two of these clubs will occupy the 18th and 19th place positions while the other will be able to breathe a sigh of relief at 17th place.

    Aston Villa's Doomed Season

    The good news for these three clubs is that barring some kind of dramatic turnaround, there is virtually no chance that all three end up in the red zone. The third relegation bullet will almost certainly be taken by Aston Villa, who seem almost destined to finish the season in dead last.

    Villa, rather impressively, are one of the few founding Premier League football clubs to have never been relegated. There have been some close calls along the way, of course. Last year, the Lions ended up in 17th place, just three points out of the red zone. It was the fourth season in a row where Villa had finished at 15th place or lower.

    Two More Teams for the Chopping Block

    With Aston Villa's doomed season almost sure to end the soccer club's unbroken run of sticking around in the Premier League, the question is which other two teams will be hitting the road.

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