Sunderland Get Kaned

Three points and apparently a record-breaking start to the season. Or record-equalling, who knows.

Football only began in 1992 so I should really know these things but I’ll settle for knowing we took three points and moved to third in the table. Good enough for me.

After the disappointment of Wednesday, there was always something of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ about the next league match. Sunderland are relegation fodder and having been crushed by Everton, were always going to sit back and defend, frustrate and obstruct.

Which they did and the onus was on us to break them down. Which we did; just the once, mind. Harry Kane answered some of the criticism over his slow start to the season but at what cost? A goal, a poacher’s goal at that, separated the two sides but Kane then departed on a stretcher, injuring himself in a challenge.

Post-match, Poch offered the view that Kane had twisted his ankle as well as damaging his ligaments. More news later today I expect. With Dier and Dembele both leaving the pitch with hamstring injuries – later described as cramp! – the three points have come at some cost.

With Manchester City visiting the Lane in a fortnight’s time, at least two of three need to be fit to face the team already christened ‘champions elect’ in the back pages.

Yesterday was the start of the recovery toward that, Middlesbrough offers a stiff test next weekend but one where a repeat of the performance against Sunderland will see us take three more points. It was a routine match; a win was expected but a little flat.

Sunderland offered little although a shot cleared off the line made for a nervy moment. We might – should – have scored more but in the end one was enough.

Mind the gap.