Sunderland are a club in crisis. Period. Stuck in the relegation zone with a manager who was kept in dark over the financial situation at the club and who now doesn’t have enough players to string together a competitive squad either for survival or for rotating in cup competitions.
Being in the relegation battle that they find themselves in is nothing new for the Black Cats, but the nature of this one certainly is as their squad clearly lacks quality and depth – and awful luck with injuries only making matters worse.
Jermain Defoe has battled through it all and is currently carrying the club on his shoulders. Fighting fit and effective even at this age, the striker has been of great service to the Black Cats. Largely responsible for saving Sunderland from relegation last season, he has to repeat the feat once again.
Moyes will be cursing his wretched luck. After horrible spells at Manchester United and Real Sociedad, the former Everton boss would have hoped for a settled project but the whirlwind he finds himself, will hardly allow him to come out unscathed.
Let us take a look at three areas Moyes needs to strengthen in order to have any chance of survival-
Like every other position on the team, the Black Cats are severely short in the defensive area. Papy Djilobodji and Lamine Kone have managed to somehow hold things together and have been showing signs of improvement slowly. But with Kone off to AFCON and McNair a long-term absentee, veteran John O’Shea has to deputise. But he can’t be blamed if he fails to come up with top-notch displays. A centre-back has to be signed and fast.
On the face of it, Sunderland have a number of midfielders who look good on paper. They have a couple of established names with a smattering of potential as well. But injury and poor form see them relatively short when it comes to execution in matches. Kirchhoff and Cattermole are injured while Khazri and Ndong are off to the AFCON.
Watmore is out for the season while Gooch is also injured. Rodwell has recently come back but his injury record prevents one from having any reliance on him. Moyes needs to scout for an alternative in midfield to cover for all the absentees in January.
And the most important area if we look at how much Defoe has contributed this season, is that of the striker. Despite being in a team which has scored 19 goals, he is still in the contention for the Golden Boot with 11 goals of his own. Sunderland desperately needs a back-up for him as an injury or burnout will see the end of their chances of survival. He needs to be managed properly.
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