Sunderland vs Montpellier HSC: Who are the French opponents?

The Black Cats play their penultimate game of pre-season on Saturday and will look to remain unbeaten.

Sunderland play Montpellier HSC in their penultimate game of pre-season and their final game on their tour of France. David Moyes’ side have won all four pre-season games so far and will look to make it five out of five Saturday afternoon.

With Montpellier being arguably the toughest test of the Black Cats’ pre-season so far, just who are the French side? The club was initially founded in 1919. The side play in Navy and Orange colours and play their football in France’s top tier; Ligue 1.

They play their home matches at the Stade de la Mosson, which has a capacity of 32,900, located within the city of Montpellier. The first team is managed by former footballer Rolland Courbis, and captained by Brazilian defender Vitorino Hilton.

The club’s recent history

Montpellier finished just below mid-table last campaign. They won 14 games, lost 17 and drew seven. The club won Ligue 1 in the 2011/12 season. Montpellier’s only other club trophies to date include winning the Coupe de France in 1929 as well as in 1990, and the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1999.

Montpellier have played three pre-season games so far, winning two and losing 3-0 last time out to fellow French side Toulouse. Montpellier kick off their 2016/17 season the same day as the Black Cats on August 13, at home to Angers SCO.

_60395964_montpellier_getty1 Montpellier beat PSG to the Ligue 1 title in the 2011/12 Ligue 1 season. (Image source: BBC)

Sunderland’s professional pre-season preparations

The Black Cats have had a successful pre-season campaign, with the whole setup being excellent in comparison to last year’s dismal trip across the pond. The importance of building momentum and confidence for the new Premier League campaign has been highlighted by Sunderland fans, as has starting the new season in a positive manner which can only be achieved with confidence and momentum.

jermain-defoe_reuters-m.jpg The Black Cats will look to take some of their form from the end of last season into the new campaign, as well as their built up confidence from pre-season win’s. (Image source: IndianExpress)

Moyes’ side will play Montpellier Saturday afternoon and then look to the final game of pre-season against Borussia Dortmund, who have made some brilliant signings over the summer transfer window. Sunderland kick off their new campaign on August 13 against Manchester City at the Etihad stadium.


Dijon FCO 2-3 Sunderland AFC: Borini penalty seals Black Cats victory

A Fabio Borini penalty separated the two sides on Wednesday evening.

Sunderland continued their pre-season tour of France with a 3-2 win against Dijon FCO on Wednesday evening.

Joel Asoro enjoyed a night to remember against the Ligue 1 side, opening the scoring after just 12 minutes with a fine solo finish, but there was much more to come from the youngster who impressed throughout.

Dijon-FCO-v-Sunderland-Pre-Season-Friendly (1).jpg Assoro scored his first senior goal for the club after opening the scoring against Dijon FCO with a tidy finessed finish.

The Black Cats continued to impress throughout the opening 45 minutes with Fabio Borini and Jack Rodwell both volleying wide, but they were pegged back in the second period as Dylan Bahamboula levelled with 53 minutes on the clock.

However, Sunderland responded emphatically and Asoro was once again at the source, skipping down the wing before slotting a ball into the path of Wahbi Khazri who buried the opportunity.

A standing ovation followed for the youngster as he was replaced on 63 minutes, but the drama was far from over as Jeremie Bela levelled before Fabio Borini’s late penalty ensured Sunderland’s 100% pre-season record continued.

David Moyes named a strong starting XI at the Stade Camile-Fournier with Younes Kaboul, Lamine Kone, Jack Rodwell and Patrick van Aanholt lining up at the back.

Jan Kirchhoff also featured for the first time this season alongside Lee Cattermole and Jeremain Lens, with Borini and Khazri flanking an attack led by 17-year-old Asoro.

And the youngster made an immediate impression.

Jordan Loties was caught out by the striker’s persistent play and he was powerless as Asoro nipped in and slotted the ball into the net via the far post.

With 19 minutes played Sunderland almost grabbed their second as Borini volleyed wide following a sweeping move, but the Italian’s effort was in vain with an offside flag raised.

A brief lull followed as both sides engaged in a battle for possession but the Black Cats remained the better side and were happy to bide their time.

Their patience almost paid off with 35 minutes on the clock as Kirchhoff battled for possession and attempted to slide a ball into the path of Asoro, but the striker was thwarted by the last man as Dijon continued to struggle with the youngster’s searing pace.

The final chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Rodwell who volleyed narrowly wide, with Kone inches away from connecting with Khazri’s corner seconds before the midfielder fired at goal.

Sunderland emerged unchanged for the second period but impressively they displayed similar levels of energy and intensity as they did in the first half. However, with 51 minutes played they were almost caught off guard as Jeremie Bela strolled towards goal and was afforded too much time and space, but the Dijon man failed to capatalise and pulled his effort wide of the target.

Two minutes later, Dylan Bahamboula showed his team-mate how it’s done.

The towering striker showed great feet to seize upon a loose ball before rifling a show into the corner, with Pickford unable to keep out the powerful effort despite getting a hand to it.

A response followed from the Black Cats and Asoro once again took centre stage, picking up possession on the right before driving forward and slotting the ball into the path of Khazri who buried the ball past Baptiste.

Unfortunately, Dijon had a hero of their own and with 69 minutes played Bahamboula added an assist to his earlier strike, picking out Bela who finds the corner to make it 2-2.

The drama, however, was far from over and within seven minutes Sunderland led for a third time; Duncan Watmore taking up the mantle after replacing Asoro and winning a penalty after his cross struck a hand. Borini scored the penalty.


The full time whistle blew and Sunderland remained unbeaten in their pre-season preparations.





Sunderland youngster Andrew Nelson is keen to start the new season

The Black Cats youngster is eager to get going with the Premier League 2 campaign after returning from a training camp in Spain with the under-23’s.

After a grueling four-day training camp in the Marbella sunshine, Andrew Nelson and his Sunderland under-23 teammates are eager to start their new campaign in the newly renamed Premier League 2.

Brand new league

The Premier League recently announced the renaming of the youth Premier League to the Premier League 2. The new model will replace the current U21 league, with the age range extended to incorporate U23s. Each team can field a goalkeeper over the age limit of 23 and up to three senior outfield players can take part in every match. The Premier League said the idea is to give younger players the best chance possible to break into the first team squad, and creating a matchday experience similar to the first team, would give them the best chance of doing so.

Sunderland under-23’s face a trip to Leeds United at the weekend, where they will have their first chance to show their developments of pre-season training.

1448896801232 Nelson along side his teammate Rees Greenwood in last season’s Under 21 campaign. (Image source:

Ready to get underway

In a recent interview with, Nelson revealed his feeling of sharpness and freshness and that he can’t wait for the season to start.

“It has been a great trip and one that I think has really helped the lads, the conditions are tough, it’s really hot out there but we know it’s an important part of pre-season to get done,” he said.

The youngster then went on to say: “I feel a lot better for it and I feel in good shape so hopefully I can continue to work hard with the team and we can have a good season.”

The Black Cats have recently saw a breakthrough in younger players coming through from the under-21 squad. Duncan Watmore played in over 60% of last season’s games as well as other youngsters being handed debuts from the end of last season and into pre-season. Nelson noted that the new season would be tougher with their younger group of players.

Sunderland vs Dijon FCO: Who are the French side?

The Black Cats play Dijon FCO in their fourth game of pre-season and will look to remain unbeaten in David Moyes’ second game in charge.

Sunderland will continue their tour of France against Dijon FCO and will look to remain unbeaten after winning three out of three games so far. David Moyes’ side beat FC Stade Nyonnais 2-0 on Monday and will hope to maintain their momentum against Dijon tomorrow evening.

But what do we know about Dijon FCO? The French based side play their football in the top tier of French football, after earning promotion last season, finishing second in Ligue 2.

The first team is coached by former player, Olivier Dall’Oglio, known for his time at Rennes, where he played as a defender in the mid 90’s. The French side play in Red and play their football at the Stade Gaston Gérard, which has a capacity of 15,995.

Watmore-celebJPG Sunderland will want to continue with their momentum of pre-season, after winning their first game of their tour of France 2-0 on Monday evening. (Image source: Chronicle)

The Club’s recent history

Since the merging of both Cercle Sportif Laïque Dijonnais and Dijon FC in 1998 to create a stronger club, Dijon FCO have tinkered around the top flight and were unfortunately relegated from Ligue 1 in the 2011/2012 season.

After three seasons in the French second tier, Dijon earned promotion last campaign, finishing second, just four points behind AS Nancy Lorraine. Their top scorer last season was Loïs Diony, who scored 11 goals. Frédéric Sammaritano also played a big part in their return to the top flight, creating ten goals during his first season with the club.

Dijon’s ranks also include Romain Amalfitano, who was once on the books of the Black Cats’ local rivals Newcastle United, and is brother to Morgan Amalfitano, who previously represented West Ham United and had been rumoured to join Sunderland.

Dijon have played two games in pre-season so far, winning the last 3-0 against Troyes, and losing their first 2-0 against Sochaux.

What can Sunderland learn from their third win of pre-season against FC Stade Nyonnais?

The Black Cats made it three wins in as many games against FC Stade Nyonnais as they recorded a routine 2-0 win.

In their third game of pre-season, Sunderland beat FC Stade Nyonnais 2-0. What points can be taken from David Moyes’ first game in charge?

Pre-season momentum continues

Last season’s gruelling pre-season trip across the pond saw Sunderland fail to build any momentum going into the last Premier League campaign, and although there has been a change to the man in charge of the team after Sam Allardyce left the club, the whole preparations up to now have been key in building the elements that will give Sunderland the best chance of succeeding in the 2016/17 season. This was the Black Cats third win in as many games and the teams Sunderland have come up against have progressively got better in standard, and will continue to do so. Match fitness is the key to building momentum but the fact that the games have ended in victories will also give players confidence.

Moyes assesses squad

This evening’s game saw new boss Moyes get his first chance to see his new side in action. The Scotsman gave individuals longer runouts than in the past two games and will use Wednesday’s game against Dijon to give the players who didn’t get on the chance to do so. Moyes will be piecing together his preferred starting line-up for the opening game of the season against Manchester City as pre-season goes on, as well as looking to make some signings in the coming weeks.

Youngsters shine

Just five of tonight’s starting line-up were regulars in last season’s regular first team squad’s. Michael Ledger, Tommy Robson, Ethan Robson, George Honeyman, Lynden Gooch and Rees Greenwood were all handed starts and impressed throughout the game. Both Ledger and Tommy Robson looked solid in defence as well as looking good in possession of the ball. Honeyman, Gooch and Greenwood all looked lively in attack and defence, but the standout was Ethan Robson, who bossed the midfield and conducted the pace of the game. 17-year-old hot prospect Joel Assoro also came on for Duncan Watmore, who scored both of Sunderland’s first half penalties.

Watmore-celebJPG Duncan Watmore celebrates a goal with his team-mates. (Image source: Chronicle)

Still no sign of Kirchoff?

Jan Kirchoff is still yet to feature in one of Sunderland’s pre-season games and is still being rested as a precaution after the squads gruelling trip to Austria. The German played a huge part in last season’s campaign after joining in January and fans are desperate to see him in action sooner rather than later. As well as Kirchoff, John O’shea, Sebastian Larsson and Jermain Defoe watched from the stands, but are expected to feature in one of the next two games.

N’zogbia to sign on a permanent?

Charles N’zogbia joined the Sunderland first team on the first day of pre-season training as a trialist whilst he reportedly looked for a new club, after he was released from the relegated Aston Villa at the end of last season. The Frenchman has now featured in all three of the recent fixtures, as well as scoring a goal and captaining the club in the second half against Hartlepool United. Whether or not the new boss Moyes will want to sign him on a permanent basis is unclear, but the 30-year-old has definitely caught the eye of Sunderland fans with his first three performances for the club.

Sunderland will play Dijon on Wednesday, Montpellier on Saturday and Borussia Dortmund the following Friday, before travelling to Manchester City on August 13.


Rotherham 1-2 Sunderland: Late goal secures Black Cats second win of pre-season.

It’s two in two for Sunderland as they beat Rotherham 2-1 at the New York Stadium.

New manager  David Moyes watched from the stands as his new side continued to build match fitness in their second game of pre-season on Saturday.

Fabio Borini’s volleyed effort could only be palmed into the bottom left corner by the Rotherham stopper and a late goal from trialist, Charles N’zgobia grabbed the Black Cats’s second win in as many games. Rotherham did grab a goal just after half time when Jerry Yates saw his effort find the back of the net.

3689344200000578-3704848-image-a-46_1469290269056 Sunderland players celebrate in their new third kit. (Image source: Sunderland AFC)

53-year-old Moyes joined the club on Saturday and became the successor of Sam Allardyce, who became the manager of the England national team after weeks of speculation.

Sunderland dominated the majority of the first half and Borini scored the first goal of the Moyes’ reign when his right footed volley crept past Millers keeper Lee Camp. The goal came 27 minutes in and little else happened up until just after half time, when Yates finished with his right foot, past Vito Mannone just after the interval.

Both sides had chances to take the lead in the second half, but it was the Premier League side who grabbed their second win in as many  games when trialist N’zogbia smartly finished with his left foot, seven minutes before full time.

Sunderland travel to France on Sunday before playing their third game against FC Stade Nyonnais on Monday evening. They then play Dijon FCO on Wednesday, Montpellier on Saturday and then play their final game of pre-season and their toughest test when they play Borussia Dortmund, eight days before kicking off their Premier League campaign.

Rotherham United

Camp, Kelly, Mattock (Thorpe 38), Halford (Forster-Caskey 42), Broadfoot, Wood, Forde, Frecklington (Dawson 69), Ward, Yates, Smallwood (Bailey-King 77).


Pickford (Mannone 46), J Robson, Kone (E Robson 84), Kaboul (Ledger 77), van Aanholt, Rodwell, N’Zogbia, Lens (Greenwood 88), Khazri (Gooch 64), Borini (Watmore 55), Defoe (Honeyman 75).


David Moyes appointed as Sunderland manager

The former Everton and Manchester United manager has been appointed as Black Cats manager on a four-year-deal.

After weeks of frustration for the club and its fans with the appointment of Sam Allardyce as England manager being dragged out by the FA, both will now be pleased to see a manager come through the door of Moyes’ experience.

Sunderland have to be massively commended for the way they have acted in the whole scenario surrounding Allardyce and can now finally move on under the 53-year-old.

The Scot has failed to achieve success in his previous two jobs, managing Manchester United, arguably one of the hardest jobs in domestic football, and Real Sociedad who were on the down-slide even before Moyes was appointed.

His most memorable and most successful job yet was at Everton, where he spent 11 years, winning 216 out of 513 games, losing just 159.

11f81b56aa070cca98913f85c302d844 Moyes in charge of  Everton. (Image source: TheEvertonForum)
David Moyes’ managerial career so far
Team Joined Left Games Won Lost Win %
Preston 12 Jan 1998 14 March 2002 234 113 63 48.29
Everton 14 March 2002 1 July 2013 513 216 159 42.11
Man United 1 July 2013 22 April 2014 51 27 15 52.94
Real Sociedad 10 November 2014 9 November 2015 42 12 15 28.57
Total 840 368 252 43.8
Table image courtesy of BBC Sport.

Always first choice manager.

Sunderland chairman Ellis Short said Moyes was “by far and away first choice” to take control of the Black Cats and that he had tried to recruit him several times before. “He is a man whose football pedigree speaks for itself and is someone I have long admired,” said Short. “I have spoken with him on many occasions and I have always been hugely impressed.”He was my number one managerial target for the last five appointments, but his desire to honour existing contracts meant we were not able to bring him to Sunderland previously. To be able to finally welcome him as our manager is fantastic news for the club.”

Career Highlights.

Moyes started his managerial career at Preston North End before moving onto Everton, where he was voted LMA Manager of the Year three times during an 11-year spell. Sir Alex Ferguson chose his fellow Scot to be the new Manchester United boss and his successor when he retired after 26 years in charge at Old Trafford.

Moyes’ desire to do well with Black Cats.

Moyes is clearly happy with being appointed as the new manager of Sunderland and stated so in his first interview. “I am delighted to have joined Sunderland. I am relishing the challenge and excited by the opportunity.”

“I have taken over a big British club with a great support and I’m looking forward to working in the Premier League again.”

Sunderland will hope for Moyes to be a long-term plan and not suffer the same fate as many of the previous managers  have done. The 53-year-old will be the fourth manager in less than three years and will be attending the Black Cats second pre-season game today, but only overseeing in the stands.

PREVIEW: Rotherham United vs Sunderland

Sunderland continue their pre-season campaign with a game against Rotherham United at the New York Stadium.

Sunderland played their first match of pre-season on Wednesday evening, comfortably beating Hartlepool United 3-0, with two goals coming from Jermain Defoe and one from Wahbi Khazri.

The Black Cats now turn their attention to a Rotherham side who are further forward in their preparations for their new season, which starts a week earlier than Sunderland’s Premier League campaign.

The Millers have enjoyed a successful pre-season so far, defeating Parkgate 7-0 as well as beating Miedz Legnica and drawing against Gornik Zabrze in their tour of Poland.

Saturday afternoon will be the first time Sunderland have visited the New York stadium since it was built in 2012. This will be the Black Cats’ final domestic pre-season game before trips around Europe to play various opposition.

Important to remain focused

With the news of Sam Allardyce’s appointment as England manager breaking earlier today, Sunderland will have most of their focus on replacing the 61-year-old. David Moyes is set to be the man to take the job, but Sunderland will still remain focussed on building match fitness and putting on a good show for the travelling fans.

Hartlepool-United-v-Sunderland-Pre-Season-Friendly Allardyce in charge of his last game against Hartlepool United. (Image source: The Mirror)

Team News

Both John O’shea and Sebastian Larsson are still yet to return to the squad after their Euro 2016 involvement, but January signing Jan Kirchoff is set to make his first start of pre-season, after the German was rested in Wednesday evenings game as a precaution. Sunderland will look to give their full side another run out, with the importance of building momentum and fitness clear to see.

Rotherham will include new signing and former Black Cats defender Greg Halford in Saturday’s game. The 34-year-old made just eight league appearances for the Black Cats, before departing in 2009 permanently. Rotherham boss Alan Stubbs is also a former Sunderland player.




Sam Allardyce announced as England manager

After weeks of speculation, 61-year-old Sam Allardyce has been appointed as manager of England and successor to Roy Hodgson.

Allardyce has been favourite to manage England for a number of weeks after a dismal Euro 2016 and today was the day the FA managed to grab their man.

Sunderland played hard ball with Allardyce over a compensation package and rightly so. The experienced Premier League boss managed his last game in charge of the Black Cats on Wednesday evening, away to Hartlepool United where his side won 3-0.

The correct man for the job

Allardyce has consistently proved his worth as manager at domestic level throughout his career, but has still come under criticism and has been labelled as a boring manager.

The FA have been clear in what they want from the new England manager and Allardyce fits that bill. His experience of the game and his no-nonsense ethos makes him the perfect manager for the job.

In his statement, the new England manager said: “I am extremely honoured to be appointed England manager especially as it is no secret that this is the role I have always wanted. For me, it is absolutely the best job in English football.”

He also acknowledged the importance of the nations fans and said he will do his up-most to achieve success.

Replacement needed fast

Sunderland will need to get their replacement manager in as quick as possible and David Moyes is reportedly close to being that man. The former Everton and Manchester United boss will be welcomed on Wearside by fans and looks to be a good fit to replace Allardyce.

DavidMoyes_3064944 Moyes in charge of Manchester United. (Image source: Sky Sports)

Black Cats aren’t happy

The FA have handled this situation with no great consideration for Sunderland or their fans. Not only has the situation been dragged out for three weeks, but FA chief executive Martin Glenn has consistently kept his cards close to his chest in interviews, leaving Sunderland in limbo with just three weeks to the start of the new season.

Thankfully, Sunderland held out for compensation and released a statement which did not thank Allardyce and did not mention the FA.

Sunderland will play Rotherham tomorrow afternoon in their second pre-season game.

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