Well, it’s been a whirlwind two weeks for Sunderland Football Club. We went from stuffing the mags 3-0, again, making it six in a row, to conceding six goals of our own just a week later. This made it the fifth time in a row we’ve beaten Newcastle, and then lost our following game.
But anyway, let’s start with a positive. We did it again. We beat the mags to make it six in a row and this one has been all the more sweeter as, until Fabricio Coloccini’s red card, we were by far the worse side. They had more of the ball and should really have scored. But after Coloccini was wrongly dismissed, the game changed (for the better) and sent them away moaning, saying we didn’t deserve it.
Adam Johnson’s celebration was something to behold, Jack Colback had to hobble off the pitch after a crunching tackle from Lee ‘Barry’ Cattermole, and Younes Kaboul played the most delightful cross to Steven Fletcher to make it 3-0.
But, as we all secretly knew, the game against Everton would be a completely different story. With John O’Shea and Kaboul out injured, we relied on the “expertise” of Wes Brown. The moment I saw our defence I knew we were in for a long afternoon. In fact, Big Sam made a big mistake in trying the 3-5-2 formation.
There was always going to be problems down our left-hand side as Patrick van Annholt was reintroduced to the starting XI. All Sunderland fans know the Dutchman has no positional awareness, and it was through the lack of that awareness that we gifted Everton two goals after pressuring reasonably well for the first 20 minutes.
Having Sebastian Coates, Billy Jones and Wes Brown as our three centre-backs was laughable and even I would fancy my chances of scoring against them!
The only positive from the day was the fact both of our strikers, Steven Fletcher and Jermain Defoe, scored. We looked good on the counter and had a few chances ourselves that should have hit the back of the net. Duncan Watmore also impressed again as he made an appearance from the bench.
We should probably look now into our youth squad as we possess a lot of talent there. They are currently top of the Under-21 league and are confident they can perform together. With Watmore breaking through, maybe we’ll see more of the likes of Lynden Gooch and Jordan Pickford in the coming weeks and months.
One thing is for sure, we need to strengthen our defence. It’s amazing how quickly a backline can crumble when you lose two of your better defenders. It even pains me to say that because O’Shea and Kabul certainly aren’t tremendous defenders themselves.
Big Sam has a big couple of months coming up. If he can somehow manage to keep us in the running for survival come January, then we may have a chance. But even then, that transfer window will be huge. If we don’t get in any quality defenders then we definitely will not be remaining in the Premier League.