Sunderland have enjoyed a mixed start to the Premier League season thus far with Gus Poyet’s men sitting in a worrying 15th position in the table despite having earned draws against Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United as well as Tottenham Hotspur in recent weeks.
Unfortunately these two excellent results have had their respective gloss taken off them due to the fact Sunderland are still without a win this season. Despite Poyet’s promises of more flamboyant football this term, there is still yet to be a return on this promise. Although the hugely exciting signing of Ricky Alvarez on-loan from Inter Milan will undoubtedly aid this cause as the season progresses.
The strengths of the team are similar to what they were last term, the goalkeeper and the midfield. Vito Mannone, after a mixed career with Arsenal, has found his place at the Stadium of Light with the Italian continually putting in impressive performances which are at times keeping Sunderland in matches.
In midfield there is still the combative presence of Lee Cattermole, whilst the additions of Jack Rodwell and Will Buckley have added the creativity needed to thrive in the Premier League.
The weakness of the squad still lies with forwards. Steven Fletcher has had considerable injuries throughout his time on Wearside but looks unlikely to reach his previous high levels of performance. Jozy Altidore remains frustratingly inconsistent with Connor Wickham the only real source of goals in the team despite being just 21. Poyet’s failure to go into the market for a more reliable forward may be a decision which comes back to haunt the Uruguayan coach.
With regards to the transfer window, it was in actual fact a positive summer for Sunderland. A lot of the older members of the squad who were on significant wages were moved on whilst there were a number of exciting additions.
Patrick van Aanholt looks to be an improvement at left-back with the former Chelsea youngster taking his chance at regular first-team football with both hands so far. Jack Rodwell has added composure to the heart of midfield alongside Liam Bridcutt whilst Sebastian Coates could be a good backup option to the pairing of Wes Brown and John O’Shea.
As previously mentioned the lack of activity in the forward market is a worry with goals hard to come by for Sunderland already this year.
The standout player for Sunderland this year has actually been another of Poyet’s signings, Will Buckley. Purchased from Poyet’s old club Brighton Albion Hove, the English winger has added an incisiveness to Sunderland’s wing play and was a real handful in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United in late August.
There aren’t many injury concerns for Sunderland at the moment, however, given Fletcher’s recent history as well as Altidore’s profligacy in front of, there is considerable worries about a weak attack.
Best Starting XI: 4-1-4-1
LB- Van Aanholt
Rating: 3 out of 5.
100+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $29.99/mo. for fubo Español Package
- Watch Premier League, LaLiga, Liga MX & MLS
- Includes NBC, NBCSN, ESPN, FS1, FS2, TUDN, beIN SPORTS and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch LaLiga, Primeira Liga and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $5.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $12.99/mo.)
- Features Serie A, Bundesliga, FA Cup, EFL & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $5.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more