Sunderland and Steve Bruce Out of the Shadows and into the Light?
Steve Bruce's Sunderland side have already produced results this season that inspired debate in more places than just the public bars of Sunderland.
An excellent performance away to Manchester United in which they were denied the three points by a typically late United goal, as well as a startling home victory against the Anfield red's, courtesy of a piece of Liverpool inspired memorabilia.
They have also made things extremely difficult for themselves on several occasions with losses against sides that would dream of victories against opponents that Sunderland have defeated.
The weekend gone saw them beat an Arsenal side that looked decidedly ordinary when faced with a midfield and a defensive unit that was able to stifle their creativity for long periods. Wenger was in denial after the match insisting that it was a lucky win but other results this season already, immediately prove the Frenchman wrong.
Not only that though, the Mackems were able to play football that the Arsenal side could not cope with and could easily have gotten two more goals had Malbranque or Richardson taken chances that were procured for them.
This presents a quite stunning turnaround from the side that were so woefully unpredictable under the management of Roy Keane. While they still have bad days, notably this season when they were beaten well by premiership new boys Burnley, although they are in good company there with Manchester United also suffering a defeat at Burnley.
But somewhat surprisingly it has been their ability to bounce back from these slips that has proven to be the catalyst for talk of them finally making a realistic crack at finishing within striking distance of the powerhouses of the premiership.
To some though, it is not as surprising as it seems, with the clubs first team now under the watchful eye of Steve Bruce, it was more of a question as to how long it would take the former Manchester United centre back to impose his designs on the team and get them playing his game.
After spending his most successful playing years under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson, he must certainly have taken notice of things that went on in his time at Old Trafford and formed his own opinions on how to use such knowledge as well as sounding out his own ideas while on his own managerial journey.
Sunderland are now the sixth side that Bruce has managed and it is at this club that perhaps he finally has the means and the backing to finally make one of his sides a consistent performer in the premiership.
Bruce's signings in the summer window have proved to be well thought out with his resolve to strengthen the spine of the side clearly shown in the acquisition of strong mobile players through the center of his playing side.
The stand out signings so far have been the impressive Albanian, Lorik Cana and of course, Darren Bent, who has a goalscoring record that many top strikers would envy.
Cana, who made a name for himself playing in France, on the weekend proved to be vital in the undoing of Wenger and Arsenal. He put on a menacing and intelligent display that once again showed that Bruce is able to make some extremely inspirational transfer moves that benefit his teams to no end.
Darren Bents goals have also been a massive boost to the side and it will be interesting to see if Bruce is able to keep the powerful striker's morale high so that he can finally put the ghosts of past seasons inconsistencies behind him. Though in some quarters it was thought he was treated rather poorly in his time at Spurs.
His penalty miss in the Spurs game was a moment that could have brought it all tumbling back, but to Bent's credit he has shrugged it off and gotten a crucial winner against a London side that many expected to win easily on their visit to the "Stadium of Light".
Bruce and Sunderland have a long way to go, but the ingredients for an impressive season have been put into the bowl, it now remains to be seen whether Bruce is able to follow his old boss Ferguson's recipe for success and make moves for the top of the table.
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