Keir’s Player Ratings: a four-point harvest from Manchester City and Chelsea

Jake: maybe life is looking brighter, Keir'
Jake: ‘life is looking brighter, Keir’

Nic Wiseman, fresh from being told on Twitter by Sky’s SAFC-supporting David Jones that It’s The Hope I Can’t Stand – co-created and co-edited by Nic – was ‘the best name for a SAFC fanzine ever’ – tonight made his debut in the Salut! Sunderland editorial set-up, editing and posting Keir Bradwell’s Easter-delayed ratings from Man City and Chelsea. Welcome on board, Nic …

Manchester City 2 – 2 Sunderland: Player Ratings

Jake" 'Oh no, Vito Mannone ... '
Jake” ‘Oh no, Vito Mannone … ‘

Almost …

Vito Mannone – 3

No! Could’ve done better for their opener, but I still don’t understand their equaliser. Nasri hits the ball with, admittedly, pace and spin, before Mannone sort of tries to gather it, spills it, does a little jump like a fish on a beach and can’t quite reach it. What I don’t understand is how on earth he didn’t just cling on to it in the first place. Two more points would’ve been quite nice for the relegation battle…

Santiago Vergini – 8
Brilliant. Solid as a rock defensively, and kept taking on City’s strikers with skills, before beating them and advancing forward. By far his best game in a Sunderland shirt.

Marcos Alonso – 5

So inconsistent in defence, it’s unbelievable. Goes from making a brilliant last-chance tackle on a striker to being so woefully short of pace that he’s left horrendously out of position. If he was faster, he’d be excellent. Such a shame he isn’t.

Wes Brown – 6

See Marcos Alonso, only the lack of pace is less of an issue as he doesn’t get forward much at all.

John O’Shea – 3

The attacking Vito Mannone. Made costly errors in the penalty area, only from our set pieces rather than City’s attacks. Should’ve scored twice, arguably. His first header was a free one, with the goalkeeper nowhere in sight. He put it hopelessly wide. Was also caught ball-watching for their first goal, leaving Fernandinho free to score, unmarked.

Lee Cattermole – 4

Unbelievably inconsistent. From excellent performances to incredibly sloppy ones like this one, Cattermole is not someone to rely on. He needs to stop looking so out of his depth, start tackling well instead of late. Stop passing to six yards behind a man, start passing to the space in front of them.

Jack Colback – 5

The most Jack Colbackish performance of history. Excellent workrate, some pressing, but extremely negative sideways passing all game long.

Sebastian Larsson – 6

Jack Colback, only with more running, decent delivery but less pressing.

Adam Johnson – 7

Still not as good as he was back in January, but nevertheless impressive. Excellent delivery from set pieces, and created some good chances from the wing too. Some more end product in front of goal, please, though.

Fabio Borini – 6

Still one of the best work rates I’ve seen in a Sunderland shirt, but as with Everton, the finishing of chances and the chance creation itself has been lacking from Borini’s game recently.

Connor Wickham – 9

Brilliant. Two excellent goals that could’ve sealed us the win if we had better luck. Was generally excellent not only in front of goal, but contributed to the rest of the team with his long throws too.

Nacho Scocco – 6

Got involved with the equaliser, and helped start counter attacks to create opportunities going forward, but wasn’t on the pitch long enough to get a very high rating.

Emanuele Giaccherini – 7

Brilliant. Showed pure class with two excellent assists for Wickham’s goals. Like Scocco, if he was on the pitch longer he’d have a higher mark.

Jake: 'back to the Vito we know'
Jake: ‘back to the Vito we know’

Chelsea 1 – 2 Sunderland: Player Ratings

What on earth happened there? …

Vito Mannone – 9
Made the most saves of any goalkeeper in a Premier League game for a decade (14). That says it all. Phenomenal. He also claimed four crosses and punched away three balls.

Santiago Vergini – 7

Similar to his game against Manchester City, really. Confident, calm and excellent defensively. I’d be furious if Bardsley gets back into this side against Cardiff.

John O’Shea – 5
I thought that the defensive trio of Cattermole, O’Shea and Brown was actually quite weak, despite what everyone else is saying. Perhaps it was because I was watching the game in a bar full of Chelsea fans who seemed to get ridiculously excited every time the ball got into our half. I don’t know, I just thought we were too fluid and were letting them through to attack every time with no pressure or tackling. I just thought we were not assertive enough in defence.

Wes Brown – 6
What I said with O’Shea, only I thought he was slightly better. To be fair, Chelsea are a very good team, so defending against them can’t be easy.

Marcos Alonso – 8

Brilliant. Best game in a Sunderland shirt bar the Manchester United cup semi-final first leg. He was assertive, unlike Cattermole, O’Shea and Brown, and gave Chelsea lots of problems all over the pitch, not least the strike on goal which Schwarzer parried for Wickham’s goal.

Lee Cattermole – 4
Nervous throughout, he let Eto’o and the others have far too much time on the ball. Not impressed, although I’ve seen much worse performances from him.

Jack Colback – 6
Like his Manchester City performance, an excellent work rate but lacking in attacking threat.

Seb Larsson – 9
If/when Larsson leaves in the summer, this is the game I’ll remember him by. The running up and down the pitch relentlessly, tirelessly, and him waving his arms around next to Gus Poyet like a fully-kitted assistant manager. Proud to have him in my team, that’s not something I say too often. Incredible. And the touchline antics were hilarious:

Adam Johnson – 6
Not bad, but he still hasn’t been in the best of form recently. Needs a goal to boost his confidence.

Fabio Borini – 8
What on earth was that penalty? The most central, nerve-wracking penalty I’ve ever seen, although it was never in any doubt that he’d score. Other than the game-winning goal, he battled away upfront as usual. Becoming more and more consistent, and more spectacular too.

Connor Wickham – 8
Three goals in two games is impressive for anyone, especially away at Manchester City and Chelsea. He became the first person to score at both team’s stadiums this year after that goal. He’s shown he deserves to be our first-choice striker now.

Jozy Altidore – 6
Won us the penalty. For that he’ll be remembered slightly more fondly. He seems a brilliant character off the field too. I really hope he kicks on next year.

Emanuele Giaccherini – 6
Didn’t do an awful lot, but was still a welcome addition towards the end, calming things down.

Ondrej Celustka – 5
Did absolutely nothing, at all. But it’s nice to see him again.

NB: Rob Hutchison did a ‘Lite’ version of Chelsea ratings which deserve an outing:

Manonne – 8 Colossus with the odd flap

Brown – 7 Solid as a rock

O’Shea – 7 Solid as a rock II

Alonso – 7 Definitive left back performance

Vergini – 6 Defending solid. Distribution squalid

Catts – 7 Snappy little oik today. Splendid

AJ – 6 Drifted in & out. Steady

Colback – 6 Typical Jack, solid all round

Larsson – 9 Engine room. Never stopped. Superb

Borini – 7 Coolest pelanty ever. Mackem passion

Wickham – 8 Everything Jozy wishes he was

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