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Match day thread: Sunderland

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  • This is a grim period, but ironically, we desperately need to get Grimmer!

  • 🀣🀣 correct @Shev!

  • Worrying though that the absence of one player (albeit a very good one) should make such a big difference.

  • @micra said:
    2-2, I was having a laugh.

    And leading me up the garden path!

  • Yeah, sorry about that, chap. It’s worse than I thought - a double whammy in fact - because you (and ? @Onlooker) followed my lead on the gate as well. Only a thousand or so out. Garden paths and gates. Sounds idyllic. Talking of which, where’s @LX1 lately, I wonder.

  • @DJWYC14 said:
    Phillips did very well to last 29 minutes before GA finally put him out of his misery.

    An uncharacteristic nightmare from Stewart too

    His barge on that striker for the pen reminded me of Pierre at Tottenham.
    Just a totally unnecessary risk away to a huge team, with a ref itching to give something.

  • @Shev said:
    This is a grim period, but ironically, we desperately need to get Grimmer!

    On a crap day, the POTD

  • @micra said:
    Worrying though that the absence of one player (albeit a very good one) should make such a big difference.

    We've all been saying that Thompson and Gape are a huge miss too though.
    They're back, and we still ship for four.

    So we need to re-adjust to say they need to be in top fitness, and also to have Grimmer and Fred in there. But how long will they take to reach top fitness themselves? Fred surely will take at least a month, so it becomes either a sinking feeling, or on the positive a "new signing" effect late on?

  • Yeah terrible defending today but the elephant in the room is our attacking. We're not Barcelona, we all know that, but the mix of long balls and passing from earlier in the season has been replaced by almost 100% long stuff, even if Bayo isn't on. We are nowhere near getting the best out of Samuel's limited skill set and Smyth had touched the ball 7 times all game well into the second half...

  • @EssexWanderer said:
    Yeah terrible defending today but the elephant in the room is our attacking. We're not Barcelona, we all know that, but the mix of long balls and passing from earlier in the season has been replaced by almost 100% long stuff, even if Bayo isn't on. We are nowhere near getting the best out of Samuel's limited skill set and Smyth had touched the ball 7 times all game well into the second half...

    Yes, a worry for sure.
    Teams have definitely found out how to combat us, and without Bayo in there we're way too easy to play against.

    A big week now - do we keep Aarons, do we bring anyone in.

    You could debate for ages who hasn't hit the heights more out of Aarons and Smyth. The latter of course had a long injury, whereas the former has had loads of little bits and pieces. We never quite got to test having both together for more than about one half

  • @EssexWanderer Very good point about our style of play. We're at our best when we mix things up between long ball and a passing game. We were doing this very successfully earlier in the season, whilst now we seem only to be going route one. Quite possibly a confidence thing and the injuries to key players haven't helped.

    Hopefully we can get our mojo back soon, ideally starting next Saturday.

  • Thought I might say this because no-one else has:

    ainsworthout (I am just kidding)

    Still we don't loose 4-0 every week do we? Its just a bad run that we are experiencing. Were no different to other clubs. We have are on and off days but what is important to realise is where we are even after today.

    Without Grimmer we have a problem. Sido is too slow for playing as a full back these days and Phillips is just a natural central defender. I dont know who else would play there (Gape or Thompson).

    On a positive note it was good too see Dom back :)

  • Phillips is very poor in the air to be a 'natural central defender' .

  • @ChasHarps said:
    Phillips is very poor in the air to be a 'natural central defender' .

    Hes not Virgil van Djik is he? He's not that sort of defender. I watched him against Blackpool away in October. Very good at sliding in an winning the ball back. I understand defending is physical but you do need good tackling to be a good defender.

  • @thedieharder said:

    @ChasHarps said:
    Phillips is very poor in the air to be a 'natural central defender' .

    Hes not Virgil van Djik is he? He's not that sort of defender. I watched him against Blackpool away in October. Very good at sliding in an winning the ball back. I understand defending is physical but you do need good tackling to be a good defender.

    He lacks the aerial power and strength that are essential. He also has poor positioning.

    The latter he can definitely improve, the former not as much.

    I think we have a very competitive team when everyone is fit and in form, but if any of the back four especially are out, it's a big drop off

  • That 4th goal was weird wasn't it?

    Literally everyone sitting around me said as Allsopp lined up the wall and took up his position that it was going to be a goal. It was just weird. Don't know how he got it so wrong

  • Yep, I don't see this as being a busy transfer window for us. We do need more strengthening in defence though. 1st choice back four is probably as strong as any in the division, as soon as we lose 1 of them however, we're considerably weaker.

    I don't think Aarons going would be a big loss and if that frees up wages for some good defensive cover, I would regard that as good business.

  • I’ve felt like we’ve been a least a body short at the back all year. If Sido is done and Phillips isn’t ready yet perhaps the Aarons money would be better spent there.

    I wonder if the reason we didn’t have an official announcement about the takeover going thru on Friday was because we’re making a signing early next week.

  • @floyd said:
    I’ve felt like we’ve been a least a body short at the back all year. If Sido is done and Phillips isn’t ready yet perhaps the Aarons money would be better spent there.

    I wonder if the reason we didn’t have an official announcement about the takeover going thru on Friday was because we’re making a signing early next week.

    Sido is probably decent cover for the centre, but he definitely doesn't look up to right back any more.

    But to sign a player who is better than what we have as cover, but who is happy being an occasional rotational player is a tough signing to make.

  • We lost two RBs in the summer and only replaced one, which was about the only mistake we made in that window.

  • True @Malone but if Sido isn’t injured id say his being left out today probably means his time with us is almost done.

  • @floyd said:
    True @Malone but if Sido isn’t injured id say his being left out today probably means his time with us is almost done.

    He has to be struggling to get a new deal either way.
    But I'd be fairly sure today was either injury or something relayed to his recent father hood. Just for the logic that it'd be fairly mad to not have a specialist defender in a bench of 7 outfielders otherwise!

  • @chairboyscentral said:
    We lost two RBs in the summer and only replaced one, which was about the only mistake we made in that window.

    Is Mascoll any better on the left than either Sido or Phillips have been on the right, is one question I'd ask.

  • I'd say it's too early to tell. He's played the equivalent of about a game-and-a-half in the league and only made eight appearances altogether, three of which were in the FLT. That said, I thought he did quite well against Reading.

  • For me, the difficulty is that with no goals from midfield, we put a lot of pressure on JJ and the front three to score, all the more so if Samuel is in. It's tough, because they are all brilliant at what they do, but it gets hard to see where the comeback is "coming" from if we fall behind. Many of our wins have involved keeping it tight and then winning it with a set piece.

    I'm not sure what the answer is, other than Fred providing more creativity when he returns, and Freeman getting another run out?

  • @Shev said:
    For me, the difficulty is that with no goals from midfield, we put a lot of pressure on JJ and the front three to score, all the more so if Samuel is in. It's tough, because they are all brilliant at what they do, but it gets hard to see where the comeback is "coming" from if we fall behind. Many of our wins have involved keeping it tight and then winning it with a set piece.

    I'm not sure what the answer is, other than Fed providing more creativity when he returns, and Freeman getting another run out?

    Having Gape, Thompson and Grimmer fit is essential. As is having Fred in there, as he's a game changer in this ddivision. I fear there will be too much pressure on him when he's back though. A bit like Smyth who hasn't been as great as we imagined. Though again he's been in and out of the team.
    Playing Wheeler and Samuel on top of the usual mid 3 reduces our threat even more i think. Despite wheeler having played well recently.

    Are we brave enough to put Fred and Smyth, or Aarons if he's still here in together?

  • It’s no surprise Sido is rusty when he doesn’t get a regular start. His mistake for the pen v Ipswich was a bowler but uncharacteristic.

    But what everyone is missing, both for Sido and Phillips is the zero cover provided to right backs by Stewart. Watch him in detail, he makes a lot of bad decisions and sometimes. gets away with them. First goal at Luton a case in point - 25 yards away from RB under pressure and no urgency to shut down the striker receiving ball on edge of box, in the space he left, and who had an age to get his shot off.

    A few heroic last minute blocks don’t make up for the volume of mistakes.

  • Wasn’t there today, so can’t comment on the performance.

    What I do know is we are still 2nd, 3 points clear of third place in league 1. Chasing us down in the pack we have the likes Coventry, Ipswich, Sunderland and Portsmouth. Yes, I just had to double take writing that.

    We have a number of injured players and players who are not yet match fit. It’s mid January and there are 21 teams in the league with more problems than we have.

    All teams have bad runs but we will come out the other side. We do need reinforcements in certain areas, Gaz knows what he’s doing as he’s proved time and time again.

    We were gubbed by a team with a 4 million pound striker on the bench, who were competing in the PL not so long ago. On to Rochdale, which is a great chance to put in a performance and put some more points on the board.

    COYB

  • @chairboyscentral said:
    We lost two RBs in the summer and only replaced one, which was about the only mistake we made in that window.

    I don't even think it was a mistake as such. Just seems that way because the player we got in to improve us (Fred) hasn't featured. I'm sure if we had him things would look marginally better.

    @micra I apologise if I came across confrontational. That's not my intention at all. Emotions flying high. I stand by what I said though, 1 point in 15 is relegation form to say the least and judging Sunderland over the season, they aren't really one of the teams we should be worried about (albeit a former top flight side).

    I think it's also worth noting that a bit of luck has got us where we are. Last minute goals/penalties/refereeing decisions...I know that we can't rely on that to get us results but fact is that is has, and that seems to have dried up a bit in recent weeks.

  • edited January 11

    Over the season, Sunderland are only six points behind us with a game in hand, so they are one we should be worried about, plus they've come into great form lately. The only out-of-form team we've played since our last win was Ipswich, so no great coincidence we got a point in that game. We've had some of the toughest fixtures while we've been at our weakest - which I don't think it's unreasonable to say has been mainly as a result of injuries. We've had no 'honeymoon period' to get properly up and running after the break. In fact, how much of a part has the break itself played in this downturn in form?

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