Sunderland lift game after O’Neill’s arrival
Swans wade into safer waters
Sunderland sacked manager Steve Bruce last season as they were struggling at the bottom of the standings but with the popular Martin O’Neill at the helm the Black Cats lifted their game by several notches.
Swansea City, who arrived in the Premier League via the play-offs, lost their manager Brendan Rodgers last month as he joined Liverpool.
The Swans have now appointed Michael Laundrup.
Sunderland will be in their fifth successive year in the top flight next season. Swansea, having staved off the relegation threat on their first showing, have high hopes of extending their stay by much longer.
Sunderland’s opening was not a healthy one as they only gained their first league win in the fifth fixture.
Incidentally, Swansea also had to wait until their fifth outing to claim their maiden win in the Premiership. The 3-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium over West Brom was the Welsh side’s first in top flight in 28 years.
Stephane Sessegnon picked Sunderland’s player of the year award as he finished their top marksman while Fraizer Campbell entered the fray late in the season after a serious injury.
Campbell suffered a setback with his knee problem but still announced his return with a stunning goal in the FA Cup. He received a senior cap for England off the back of his comeback.
O’Neill introduced James McClean into the scene and he instantly became a hero among the Black Cats’ fans for his scoring potential.
Swansea finished in a res-pectable 11th position and they had Danny Graham as top marksman with 12 goals.
Rodgers did well to transform a modest team into a mid-table Premier League outfit with minimal funds available.
It was not just the survival but the way Swansea’s objective was achieved that surprised the pun-dits as Rodgers’s passing game options delighted the fans.
Swansea, however, suffered early exits in both cup competi-tions.
They lost at Shrewsbury in round two of the League Cup and Bolton held them in their stride 2-1 in the fourth round of the FA Cup at the Reebok Stadium.
Sunderland also lost at the first time of asking in the League Cup – 0-1 at Brighton in round two.
In the FA Cup, Sunderland were ousted in the quarter-finals by Everton 0-2 (replay) at their own backyard.
Premier League 2011-12
Away vs Liverpool 1-1 (Larsson).
Home vs Newcastle 0-1.
Away vs Swansea 0-0.
Home vs Chelsea 1-2 (Ji).
Home vs Stoke 4-0 (Bramble, Woodgate og, Larsson, Gardner).
Away vs Norwich 1-2 (Richardson).
Home vs West Brom 2-2 (Bendtner, Elmohamady).
Away vs Arsenal 1-2 (Larsson).
Away vs Bolton 2-0 (Sessegnon, Bendtner).
Home vs Aston Villa 2-2 (Wickham, Sessegnon).
Away vs Manchester United 0-1.
Home vs Fulham 0-0.
Home vs Wigan 1-2 (Larsson).
Away vs Wolves 1-2 (Richardson).
Home vs Blackburn Rovers 2-1 (Vaughan, Larsson).
Away vs Tottenham 0-1.
Away vs QPR 3-2 (Bendtner, Sessegnon, Brown).
Home vs Everton 1-1 (Colback).
Home vs Manchester City 1-0 (Ji).
Away vs Wigan 4-1 (Gardner, McClean, Sessegnon, Vaughan).
Away vs Chelsea 0-1.
Home vs Swansea 2-0 (Sessegnon, Gardner).
Home vs Norwich 3-0 (Campbell, Sessagnon, Ayala og).
Away vs Stoke 1-0 (McClean).
Home vs Arsenal 1-2 (McClean).
Away vs West Brom 0-4.
Away vs Newcastle 1-1 (Bendtner pen).
Home vs Liverpool 1-0 (Bendtner).
Away vs Blackburn 0-2.
Home vs QPR 3-1 (Bendtner, McClean, Sessegnon).
Away vs Manchester City 3-3 (Larsson 2, Bendtner).
Home vs Tottenham 0-0.
Away vs Everton 0-4.
Home vs Wolves 0-0.
Away vs Aston Villa 0-0.
Home vs Bolton 2-2 (Bendtner, McClean).
Away vs Fulham 1-2 (Bardsley).
Home vs Man. United 0-1.
Away vs Manchester City 0-4.
Home vs Wigan 0-0.
Home vs Sunderland 0-0.
Away vs Arsenal 0-1.
Home vs West Brom 3-0 (Sinclair pen, Lita, Dyer).
Away vs Chelsea 1-4 (Williams).
Home vs Stoke 2-0 (Sinclair pen, Graham).
Away vs Norwich 1-3 (Sinclair).
Away vs Wolves 2-2 (Graham, Allen).
Home vs Bolton 3-1 (Allen, Sinclair pen, Graham).
Away vs Liverpool 0-0.
Home vs Manchester United 0-1.
Home vs Aston Villa 0-0.
Away vs Blackburn 2-4 (Lita, Moore).
Home vs Fulham 2-0 (Sinclair, Graham).
Away vs Newcastle 0-0.
Away vs Everton 0-1.
Home vs QPR 1-1 (Graham).
Home vs Tottenham 1-1 (Sinclair).
Away vs Aston Villa 2-0 (Dyer, Routledge).
Home vs Arsenal 3-2 (Sinclair pen, Dyer, Graham).
Away vs Sunderland 0-2.
Home vs Chelsea 1-1 (Sinclair).
Away vs West Brom 2-1 (Sigurdsson, Graham).
Home vs Norwich 2-3 (Graham 2, 1 pen).
Away vs Stoke 0-2.
Away vs Wigan 2-0 (Sigurdsson 2).
Home vs Manchester City 1-0 (Moore).
Away vs Fulham 3-0 (Sigurdsson 2, Allen).
Home vs Everton 0-2.
Away vs Tottenham 1-3 (Sigurdsson).
Home vs Newcastle 0-2.
Away vs QPR 0-3.
Home vs Blackburn 3-0 (Sigurdsson, Dyer, Dann og).
Away vs Bolton 1-1 (Sinclair).
Home vs Wolves 4-4 (Orlandi, Dyer, Allen, Graham).
Away vs Manchester United 0-2.
Home vs Liverpool 1-0 (Graham).