It’s amazing how quickly things change in the space of two weeks. At my last time of writing I wrote about how we’d turned a corner, but once again we haven’t pushed on from that. We possibly deserved more than a defeat against Arsenal but the Watford game, in my opinion, we deserved nothing.
It is very apparent at Sunderland, and has been for a long time, that we don’t tend to perform for the full 90 minutes. Now I know you can’t dominate a game for the whole match, but Sunderland very rarely put two good halves together. That was exactly the case against Watford. In all honestly, the Hornets schooled us in the first half and it looked to be a long afternoon. Their attack tore our defence in two on many occasions and we were second to every ball.
In the second half we looked a slightly better side though, and during the last 10/15 minutes it is beyond me how we didn’t score. But, could this be put down to the lack of quality we have within the side? Ever since the god-awful transfer window of 2011, things have gone wrong for Sunderland and it is due to some terrible business.
It is apparent now that we should never have re-signed Fabio Borini as he just doesn’t have any quality, he doesn’t know where the goal is and would rather spend most of the game on the floor. Steven Fletcher, despite having a great start to his Sunderland career, is quite uninspiring in front of goal. It could be argued that this is down to lack of service he gets but he also doesn’t help himself by trying to do tricks and flicks instead of the simple pass. The only major positive in our strike force is Jermain Defoe. He knows where the goal is, he has done for years, and he could spark a great strike partnership with Fletcher if ever given the chance.
Signings like Ola Toivonen are what have let us down too many times over the years. The Swede offers absolutely nothing and it is frustrating that he is getting a game over a youth player who, although inexperienced, would work his socks off all game. The lack of quality falls into the defence as well. Billy Jones is an average footballer at best and needs to learn how to cross a ball. Younes Kaboul and John O’Shea are arguably our best defenders but are not consistent enough. As is Sebastian Coates who one week can perform like John Terry in his prime, then a week later make Titus Bramble-esque mistakes.
We are creating more chances under Sam Allardyce but, unfortunately, we don’t appear to have the quality to finish teams off. It is incredible how many times you will hear “Sunderland should be 2-0 up here” then just minutes later see they have conceded. Credit to Watford, they are tough to break down and look like a team. We have too many individuals. Watford also know how to beat the teams around them in the league; something we have been lacking for years now.
Next up is a relegation six-pointer away to Chelsea. Now, with the Blues’ current form you would have to think we stand a chance at a result but the most likely outcome, if I know Sunderland, would be an easy victory for the managerless side. We quite often fail to take advantage of under-performing teams. Who knows, in two weeks’ time I could be on a high about Sunderland, you never know. All I can say is, have a Merry Christmas and enjoy the endless games of football we have coming up over the festive period. H’away the Lads.