With just a few matches remaining of this Premiership season, the time has come for a spot of deliberation, cogitation and digestion. What's happened since last August to confound the surest of expectations and put paid to the sincerest of hopes? Quite a bit, is the simple answer; this season has provided a lasting ride for more than half of a league that has spent several years fending off accusations of soul-crushing predictability. Things we didn't expect:
Now its on course to finish in the top half of the table; thanks to the Premiership's stingiest home defense -- superbly marshalled by those Championship acquisitions,
Nobody has looked forward to a trip to The Stadium of Light this season, thanks largely to the massive hike in the number of goals the home side has scored there -- 50 percent more than in each of the previous two seasons, and Bent has scored half of them (to total 24 league goals on the season so far). Sunderland is 10th and has taken points off everyone except Chelsea this season. Despite missing two penalties against Spurs earlier this month, Bent has yet to find his new manager telling television crews that Mrs. Bruce is a better finisher.