Sunderland could not have feared for a worse start than this. After years of relegation dog-fights they had zeroed in on Sam Allardyce to lead them out of the misery and establish the club once again. Botched up transfer windows, quick-fix solutions getting fixed into the team long-term and causing haywire to the balance. This is just the tip of the iceberg. With the Sunderland fans starting to believe again, the start of the most embarrassing and ridiculous episode served as a huge blow to them. Allardyce was offered the England job and he went bumbling off leaving the Black Cats in disarray.
67 days later.
Sam Allardyce could not keep his hands off the lure of potentially free and illegal cash and was kicked out of his job while David Moyes holds his head in his hands as Sunderland keep getting worse week after week. A nightmare situation for all involved and frankly speaking things are rather looking bleak for them after yet another botched up transfer window and self-inflicted bad luck.
Like every year they will be buying players in the January transfer window but will have to pull off another miracle to survive. But amidst all this mess, the number of important players out through injury gives them an inkling of hope for when they get back to full fitness, the team will be looking much better, at least on paper.
Let us take a look at their XI with all their players fit (4-1-2-3)
It will be a tricky call when Mannone returns from injury with Pickford impressing hugely in his absence but it is expected the experienced keeper will be taking his place back initially. Manquillo should be at right-back while the centre-back pairing of Lamine Kone and John O’Shea should be persisted with. Van Aanholt, for all his defensive setbacks, is their best bet in that position.
Lee Cattermole sitting in front of the back four and shielding it with his all-action mode will offer much-needed steel in midfield. While the duo of Kirchhoff and Ndong are expected to be the ideal pairing in a slightly advanced midfield role. Kirchhoff has been a big miss and needs to resolve his injury issues.
Fabio Borini, once fit, will be a vital addition and could almost be equivalent to a new signing if he regains his form quickly. Adnan Januzaj has failed to impress till now but his quality is undeniable. A role on the right, cutting in on his left foot, should suit him fine. While Defoe, as usual, will be leading the line.
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