Sunderland have made the worst start to a Premier League season ever under David Moyes but it would not entirely be fair to blame the manager for the catastrophic performances the team is producing week in and week out. They are also the worst injury-hit team in the league this season. They had as many as 9 first team players out until a few weeks back, which has come down to five with some recovery in the recent weeks.
Sunderland have some key players missing which isn’t helping their form. Central midfielder, Sebastian Larsson with a medial collateral ligament injury; left wing Fabio Borini with a groin injury; goalkeeper Vito Mannone with an elbow injury; defensive midfielder Jan Kirchhoff with hamstring and centre-back Jason Denayer with adductors avulsion.
One would wonder, how would have Sunderland performed if all these players had been fit. Their defence has been pretty leaky and even though there was a brief period in October where they lost games narrowly, the base needs to be there. One of the first things Sam Allardyce did was reinforce defensively by adding Kone and Kirchhoff in January, but Moyes didn’t have a similar window as signings were far and few.
What the stats say
Sunderland’s defence has managed to concede 20 goals in the first 10 games. John O’Shea has won only four tackles with a success rate of 40%. The 35-year-old defender has made 14 interceptions, 20 clearances and four blocks. Lamine Koné has won eight tackles with a success rate of 67%. He has made 10 interceptions, 55 clearances and four blocks. Papy Djilobodji has won five tackles with a success rate of 26%. He has made 23 interceptions, 50 clearances and 11 blocks and Patrick Van Aanholt won 12 tackles this season with a success rate of 46%. These are not numbers to be proud of and it’s clear that the team needs a more solid spine.
Moving on to the attack, Sunderland’s highest scorer is 34-year-old Jermain Defoe and has been relatively injury-free. The only other forward they have Victor Anichebe, who has made 2 appearances and is yet to score. Moyes has make shifted Duncan Watmore to the forward but he has failed to score even one bagging only 2 assists in 10 appearances.
Even if Fabio Borini returns to the squad, they would still lack enough quality at the front. The sheer lack of numbers is disheartening considering the fact that there was decent money to spend on buying a new striker who is not 34.
Sunderland have lacked ambition and the recruitment has been a disaster. Strengthening is imperative in pretty much every area of the pitch and Moyes would be eagerly waiting for the winter transfer window to open.
Stats via Squawka.com
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