The persistent grip of relegation doesn’t give up easily, and for Jozy Altidore and Sunderland, the fight to avoid the drop has seen the Black Cats go from last place, to safe, to back in the fire yet again.
Sunderland currently sits in 18th place in the English Premier League, and even though the team has a game in hand on the other teams fighting relegation, that game in hand is against mighty Manchester City, so it carries little consolation.
On Saturday, Altidore and the Black Cats take on second-place Arsenal in a match at the Emirates that Sunderland won’t be given much of a chance to win. That would be ignoring the fact that Sunderland had an eight-match unbeaten streak rolling before a stumble against Hull City a week ago. It would also ignore the reality that Arsenal is coming off a pair of difficult matches that could leave the Gunners a bit vulnerable.
The rest of English Premier League-based contingent of Americans face some extremely tough challenges this weekend. Tim Howard and Everton will look to revive fading UEFA Champions League hopes against first-place Chelsea, while Geoff Cameron and Stoke City will try to halt a recent slump by upsetting Manchester City at the Emirates.