Sunderland are currently in the 19th position, on the same number of points with bottom placed Stoke City, ahead on goal difference. Stoke seem to be doing them a favour of sorts by being on a goal difference of -11 after only 5 matches. The stats are horrendous and the fear is true. And time is running out for Sunderland. After a ritual of relegation dogfights, there needs to be a change and the change has to come fast.
We have gone on about the problems they are embroiled in and the desperate situation the club is in. Years of flawed decision making has culminated in this season which has left the most ardent of supporters exasperated. After an absolute waste of a transfer window, David Moyes has been left with few options but we briefly look into 3 steps he needs to undertake to save the season.
BEEF UP ATTACK
David Moyes desperately needs additions up top. With the level of competition in the Premier League, it was shocking to see Sunderland keep faith in Jermaine Defoe as their only recognized centre-forward. The injury prone nature of Fabio Borini is well known and it has come back to haunt him and the team. With Victor Anichebe taking time to get up to speed (the jury is out on whether he can ever get up to speed) Sunderland were left with only one striker in their Premier League squad with youngster Asoro also injured.
Such levels of callousness while setting up a team is unacceptable and shows the club’s ambitions in a poor light. Moyes has two options to consider. He can be proactive and take a gamble on one of the free agents in the market in the form of Adebayor, Chamakh and Junior Hoilett. The Black Cats don’t have much to lose and the aforementioned names will surely add to their options in the short term while they devise a plan for a more concrete way forward in January.
The other option is the one best known to the Wearsiders as they wait for January to change managers and bring players on board to escape relegation. The second option can hardly be called a choice for Moyes though.
FOCUS ON THE STRENGTHS (CENTRAL MIDFIELD)
For a team horribly short in depth, Sunderland actually do possess few experienced and moderately good midfielders. Moyes has always been known to be a manager whose teams are usually compact and are hard to break down. He did it extremely well over the years at Everton and needs to keep a calm head and try the same formula here.
He has the likes of Jack Rodwell, Didier N’Dong, Lee Cattermole and Jan Kirchhoff. The players available are more than capable of undertaking the instructions meted out to them and a system has to be devised by Moyes to tighten up in the middle of the park.
UTILISE WAHBI KHAZRI AND ADNAN JANUZAJ PROPERLY
Adnan Januzaj has been straightaway thrust into a struggling team and has been given a whole lot to do. At his age, he needs to be given more freedom and he needs to be told to play without the pressure of almost carrying the attack of a settled Premier League club on his shoulders. He has to be persisted with until a better option is brought onboard. And Wahbi Khazri’s lack of game-time has also perplexed many people with the sporadic minutes off the bench not helping his performances.
Khazri scored two goals and created 28 chances for his teammates last season in 14 appearances and with the dire straits Sunderland are in, deserves his chance as a starter in the team.