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6 Reasons How Sunderland Were Able to Defeat Manchester United in the Capital One Cup

sunderland 6 Reasons How Sunderland Were Able to Defeat Manchester United in the Capital One Cup

Most neutral fans of English Football must have a smile on their face tonight for the Black Cats after Sunderland defeated Manchester United on penalty kicks to reach the Capital One Cup final. Passionate, long-suffering Black Cats fans from the Northeast of England will see their side return to a Wembley cup final for the first time since 1992. Sunderland will be heavy underdogs against Manchester City but the last major trophy the club won was in 1973 when they were even bigger underdogs against Leeds United, one of the giants of that era both domestically and in Europe.

The team spirit that Gus Poyet has built in this side in a relatively short period of time cannot be understated. I have noted in league matches the character and fighting mentality in the side. The Black Cats have twice erased two goal deficits to scratch out a difficult point in the last three weeks, while continuing to progress in the League Cup.

The signs are there for Sunderland to escape what looked like a helpless proposition in the league just six weeks ago while giving their fans the occasion of a Wembley final.

Here are six reasons why Sunderland were able to defeat Manchester United tonight in their historic victory at Old Trafford:

1. Adam Johnson. His work rate today was the best I have seen from the player in his career – full stop. It was better than anytime at Middlesbrough, Manchester City or his first two seasons at Sunderland. He tracked back in defense, won balls in midfield and chased down every opportunity to get his team into the final. As a lifelong Sunderland fan, this must be a special time for Johnson.

2. Craig Gardner. The midfielder continued the impact he’s made as a second-half sub in the center of midfield, controlling the tempo and winning the ball back quickly when the Black Cats are chasing a game. He had a similarly effective shift in the December 28 come from behind draw at Cardiff City.

3. Fabio Borini. The striker on loan from Liverpool must be highlight for his link-up play, which is getting better while his runs are becoming more incisive and effective in stretching the opposition defense.

4. Jozy Altidore. The US striker’s hold up play and decision making has improved dramatically since the early part of the season. USMNT fans may bemoan his lack of goal scoring but his overall game has improved.

5. Former United defenders. The leadership of John O’Shea and Wes Brown is critical. When they are on the pitch together, they give Sunderland a mental toughness that was lacking in the side previously.

6. Positivity. Gus Poyet’s positive demeanor has rubbed off on the team. Question marks existed about the manager and the manner he was sacked from Brighton. But at a desperate time for the club, club owner Ellis Short appears to have made the right appointment of a manager after two consecutive poor appointments (Martin O’Neill and Paulo Di Canio).

For more Black Cats coverage, read the Sunderland team page for news, analysis and opinion.

This entry was posted in Leagues: EPL, Sunderland. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

21 Responses to 6 Reasons How Sunderland Were Able to Defeat Manchester United in the Capital One Cup

  1. insert name here says:

    Whats with all these “3 reasons”, “6 reasons”, “1 reason”, “half a reason” headlines all of a sudden ???

    • Guy says:

      It seems to be the hot thing in the media. USA Today frequently touts “5 Things You Need To Know…”

      The sooner this fad disappears the better. It has already been flogged to death.

    • KayJay says:

      This site has become increasingly disappointing. Kartik and his incessant drivel is the main reason for me.

      • Christopher Harris says:

        If there are complaints about the headlines, aim those at me since I write them. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with ones that sum up the story.

        • KayJay says:

          I’ll repeat. Kartik and his incessant drivel is the main reason for me.

          • Christopher Harris says:

            What do you mean by drivel? What team do you support? What types of articles are you looking to read? “Drivel” could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

  2. Brian D says:

    1 Reason How Sunderland Were Able to Defeat Manchester United in the Capital One Cup

    “David de Gea spilled a shot a 4-year old would have stopped.”

    There’s your article. Saved you a lot of words.

  3. Mufc77 says:

    I’d say 4 missed penalties are the main reason Sunderland won. Bad mistake by DeGea but he’s saved us plenty times this season so he can be forgiven.

  4. Name says:

    whats with the “6 reasons”, this isnt buzzfeed

  5. Frill Artist says:


    Juan Mata arrested after being caught attempting a U-Turn half way up the M6. Sources say he was spotted in his Aston Martin making a run for it south on the M6. More on this news as it breaks on YouTube.


  6. Jay says:

    1 Reason: Chosen One is manager of Man United and they will never win a trophy with him.

  7. Marc says:

    Anybody else with time warner cabel have the match in Spanish?

  8. Tony Butterworth says:

    I knew who was going to be the author of this article just from the headline.

  9. scrumper says:

    Its one reason – Utd have no confidence.

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