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Capital One Cup semi-spot bad news for Sunderland’s league form

| 18.12.2013

Sunderland’s extra-time win over Chelsea in the Capital One Cup was as unexpected on these shores as a baking hot Christmas Day.

It caused Black Cats boss, Gus Poyet, to trot out all the usual lines about how he hopes the victory will prove the turning point in his club’s beleaguered Premier League campaign, which currently has the north east side sat rock bottom on nine points.

But rather than provide the oil that gets a league-game-winning machine lubricated into action, the League Cup has proved to be more of a distraction in recent seasons, making a bet on the 1/2 about Sunderland being relegated a far more sensible bet than the 9/1 on them lifting the trophy.

As recently as the 2011/12 campaign Crystal Palace, then of the Championship, reached the semi-finals of the English game’s least loved cup competition with a similarly herculean extra-time victory over Manchester United.

At that time they were snuggled warmly into the middle of the Championship’s bed, in 12th place, but went on to win just six more second-tier games as they slid their way down the ladder to finish a disappointing 17th.

In the season prior to that, a deep run in the then Carling Cup was a contributing factor in two clubs losing their Premier League status.

West Ham, like Sunderland are now, were the Premier League’s anchor in 2010/11 when they sealed a semi-final berth with a 4-0 triumph over United.

They were only three points off safety at the time but the potential allure of playing in a Wembley final saw them win just five times in the remainder of the league schedule, finishing in last place and seven points adrift. Sunderland are 23/10 to finish the season in the same vein.

Birmingham went on to lift the trophy that year but paid a heck of a price for it, sliding 14th place on the day they reached the competition’s penultimate round to a relegation-bound 18th place thanks to just five wins in the rest of the season.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.