Manager: Paolo Di Canio
Flip a Coin: There are no pros and cons in The Blog FC’s preview for Sunderland because this will be a season where mid-table obscurity is not likely to happen. It will be a season of extremes under the polemic genius that is Paolo Di Canio. The Italian promised change in his now infamous 24-minute final day rant at White Hart Lane, and it is change that he has delivered. Nine new players have come in and, with the promise of more to follow, this will be a side that only has a small likeness to the dull one that Martin O’Neill built in his time at the Stadium of Light.
Phil Bardsley – the player who drew most of Di Canio’s ire – still remains, although it probably won’t be for long. He will be used as pin-up boy depicting everything that Di Canio is looking to eradicate : “ignorance and arrogance” – to use the Italian’s own words.
All of this change will serve one purpose. The Sunderland squad will either be galvanised and united beneath Di Canio’s iron rule, or they will fall apart and rebel against him.
Ins: Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus), El-Hadji Ba (AC Le Havre B), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Vito Mannone (FC Arsenal), David Moberg Karlsson (IFK Goteborg), Modibo Diakite (Lazio Rom), Cabral (FC Basel 1893), Valentin Roberge (CS Maritimo), Duncan Watmore (Altrincham FC)
Outs: Alfred N’Diaye (Eskisehirspor – Loan), Ryan Noble (FC Burnley), Danny Graham (Hull City – Loan), Matthew Kilgallon (Blackburn Rovers), Simon Mignolet (FC Liverpool), Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City), Ben Wilson (Free), Titus Bramble (Free), Adam Reed (Burton Albion)
The Blog FC Predicts: 7th. Sunderland will either finish last, or be the story of the season. We’re punting on the latter, because surely both North East teams can’t be complete basketcases!
How wrong are we? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!