A Liverpool view of Sunderland’s collapse (sorry Mr Moyes) versus Arsenal

1992 and all that: Nathalie in red, her dad in, er, a gruesome away top
1992 and all that: Nathalie in red, her dad in, er, a gruesome away top

Monsieur Salut writes: there’s one thing that makes having an otherwise disloyal Liverpool-supporting daughter feel a little less shaming (it had something to do with John Barnes being an early crush, I suspect). Nathalie Randall does also have some affection for Sunderland, having been dragged to Roker Park, the SoL and elsewhere by her dad over the years This was her assessment of the Arsenal game – and sorry David Moyes, but collapse is what is was. Just another view, but interesting that she felt Didier Ndong was our best player (I gave him 5/10 at ESPN) …

Winless Sunderland plunged to another defeat in the Premier League, this time to high-flying Arsenal, starting started well with the passion and intense pressure that helped keep them up last season, but also showing a distinct lack of creativity and quality with often the cross or final ball.

As the minutes ticked by Arsenal gained a stronghold, playing the short, sharp, crisp passing game we have become accustomed to.

Sunderland huffed and puffed and won most 50-50 challenges in midfield but left Jermain Defoe as isolated as ever, though Wahbi Khazri did his best to drift into supporting areas.

Jordan Pickford was nervy from the start, miskicking clearances and rushing from his area on more than one occasion.

Alexis Sanchez began to exert his presence, and slowly the Sunderland defence found themselves opened up, though neither Mesut Ozil nor Alex Oxlade Chamberlain could supply the finishing touch.

However after 18 minutes, Oxlade-Chamberlain made a good run on the right, beat Duncan Watmore with ease and put a sublime cross into the box which Lamine Kone looked like he had covered before Sanchez crept in and diverted a powerful header which gave Pickford no chance.

But it wasn’t by any means a disastrous half for Sunderland who at times played some decent football, and shown commitment in the tackle, with Didier Ndong and Khazri making notable contributions.

Unfortunately Sunderland lost the experience of John O’Shea, injured just before half time and this eventually proved a turning point.

The second half began with Sunderland more promising in attack, a good surging run by Ndong ending with a cross just an inch too far for Defoe to connect with.

Arsenal were playing on the counter attack and Kone was lucky that he wasn’t penalised for a pull back on Sanchez in the penalty area [I haven’t seen replays but thought the ref was right to book the diving cheat – Dad]. Shortly afterwards, on 64 minutes, Sunderland drew level.

The impressive Ndong won the ball back in his half and sprayed the ball long for Watmore to give chase. Watmore nipped the ball past his marker and was through one on one against the onrushing Petr Cech, who clipped his heel and brought him down for an obvious penalty.

Last season Cech would have been sent off but with the new rules, he escaped with a booking.

Defoe calmly dispatched the penalty for an unlikely equaliser. But this served to spur Wenger into action and he removed the wasteful Alex Iwobi and brought on Olivier Giroud to make an immediate impact, his first touch on 70 minutes to meet Kieran Gibbs’s cross from the left wing, sweeping the ball into the net.

This seemed to sap all confidence and fight from Sunderland Within minutes, Arsenal were 4-1 up. A looping Giroud header from from a corner Giroud – which Pickford might have done better with – was followed a minute later by Sanchez delightfully poking home from close range after Gibbs had hit the post.

It was no more than Arsenal deserved but harsh on a Sunderland side who had given their all but in the end lacked real leadership or the quality to match an Arsenal team that briefly went top of the league.

Nathalie, left, and team-mates in women's football. They get exasperated watching us play
Nathalie, left, and team-mates in women’s football. They get exasperated watching us play

Ratings :


Moyes 6:

Moyes has a huge job on his hands but not an awful lot he could do after losing O’Shea and couldn’t prevent the late collapse after the introduction of Giroud.

Pickford 5:

Enjoying a good season individually but was nervous and shaky with some poor distribution.

Jones 6: 

Impressive in the first half, winning most of his 50-50 battles but tired in the 2nd half with two goals coming from his side.

Kone 5:

Looked more confident alongside O’Shea but Arsenal took the back four apart at times. Easily beaten in he air for the first goal.

O’Shea 6:

A few strong tackles and clearances but unfortunate to pick up an early injury.

Van Aanholt 5:

Too slow and dithering with his final ball in attack and caught out a couple of times at the back.

Rodwell 6:

Industrious in the first half but no creativity or end product.

Ndong 7:

Sunderland’s best player with some nice touches, good pasing and crucial tackles although also faded near the end. Only 22 so will improve.

Pienaar 5:

Anonymous for most of the match and withdrawn on 69 minutes.

Khazri 6:

Good first half with some nice touches and high work rate but final ball let him down and faded second half.

Watmore 6:

Energetic performance typified when he won the penalty but often his touch let him down.

Defoe 6:

Fed on scraps again but showed some cute touches and a composed finish for the penalty.  


Djilobodji 5:

Doesn’t have the same understanding with Kone as O’Shea and struggled with Sanchez and Giroud. Some nice balls out of defence.


Januzaj 5:

Unfortunately, his entrance coincided with the start of Sunderland’s collapse a mere minute later and he struggled to get into the game.

GoochToo late to have any imoact

All of which compared – Ndong apart quite consistently with Dad’s ratings at ESPN: Pickford 6; Jones 6, O’Shea 5 (Djilobodji 5), Kone 5, PVA 6; Rodwell 5, Pienaar 6, Ndong 5, (Januazaj 5); Khazri 6; Watmore 5, Defoe 6. ANd just 5 for Moyes.

Nathalie is second from the left
Nathalie is second from the left

17 thoughts on “A Liverpool view of Sunderland’s collapse (sorry Mr Moyes) versus Arsenal”

  1. “Oh how I wish Robert Maxwell was alive.” Most of his employees who lost their pensions are probably thinking along the same lines. I’m quite grateful for him still being dead. Staying dead is about the only decent thing he ever did for anybody other than himself.

    • Jeremy, I was being facetious, a Labour-supporting paper (that I have read all my life) being determined to spoil a good news story for a Labour supporting area….I just wanted to remind Kidd of his paper’s black mark and the fact he has no right to criticise “capitalism” and slap Sunderland.

  2. Maybe I have been overly generous in my assessment, but I did have the benefit of Sky and when I did this for my dad, sad that I am, (as I am unfamiliar with some of the players), if I saw something good, I was able to rewind to see and if you actually watch the game back, you will see, after a bad first 10 mins or so, N’Dong actually played alright. (Not saying he had an outstanding game but imo the best Sunderland player along with Jones). Same with Khazri, first half anyway, his booking aside.
    Also when I say 22 and will only improve, I mean in the sense that we should bear his mind not only his age but the fact that it is his first season in the Prem.
    You defintely miss a Cattermole type leader figure though.

    • Thanks for the clarification Nathalie, you make some good points, I, however, am a reactionary miserable old git and can’t believe this fella is our record signing.

      As a former punk tho’, I quite ike his haircut.

  3. I’ve just had a thought, listening to bbc5live, Ally McCoist is commentating…..would bringing him in give us a feelgood factor as an assistant to Moyes?

    The media would love it.

    I am really hacked off with the Daily Mirror, they slagged off Allardyce when he was our manager, slagged him off afterwards like it was our fault (cheers lads), and now Dave Kidd-a supposed sports journalist-said goodbye in his final sports column today by slagging off Nissan for having Gareth bale as an ambassador…..apparently us taxpayers are funding this.

    Oh how I wish Robert Maxwell was alive.

    • I’ve always been doubtful as to the point of managers on the touchline. After all the so-called technical area (nowt very technical seems to happen in ours) is a relatively recent thing. If you’ve ever watched a game from pitch level, you’ll know it’s the worst possible vantage point, you get no idea of distance or perspective, viewing from the stands gives you a much better idea of what’s going on. And are the players aware of all the shouting and gesticulating that comes from the manager? I doubt it.
      Peter Reid, that’s not that long ago, used to watch the first half from high in the main stand, before descending to the touchline for the second. I think this technical area thing is just an invention to satisfy the TV companies, so “superstar managers” like Mourinho, Klopp, Guardiola and the like can strut their stuff for the cameras. Personally I think it’s a load of shite. Get up in the stands and see the game from a viewpoint where you can actually see what’s going on!

      • When Sunderland came to Canada and played (and narrowly beat) Toronto FC last year, Dick Advocaat watched most of the first half from the stand above the subs’ bench. Didn’t look very happy, which is when he came down and started yelling…

      • I so agree Jake. Quite honestly, the degree that a manager/coach can affect a match during play is nil. [ other than substitutions ]Their work is before the match, and at half time.

        The best one in recent years [ Ferguson ] was rarely on the line. The best one England ever had never said a word other than in private.

        Watching them jumping around in their ” technical area ” – most stupid description that I have ever heard – like demented banshees annoys me more than I can possibly describe. But as you say, it is yet another manifestation of the ludicrous need to intellectualize , what is basically a simple game – and I suppose it allows them to justify the nonsensical salaries they are paid.

      • William, your reply has made me jump around my technical area so wildly in appreciation that the fourth official has sent me to the stand!

  4. Agreed, it was a good article (as voted) and a pleasant change of contributor, and also a pleasant surprise to see a picture of cheerful bonny young women….no sexism intended, and makes up for that pic of the irritatingly cretinous gobshite Mike Parry cropping up on an earlier posting!

  5. Nathalie can speak for herself but she did tell me she based her thoughts on Ndong on her use of rewind while watching the live match. the actual marks are very subjective whoever does them. A US reader of my ESPN articles complained that I’d given Kirchhoff as many as 5 while roundly criticising him (WBA game) but I have always thought of 5/10 as reflecting a bit of a stinker

    • I do agree that it depends on what a scoring system actually means, and it is totally subjective.

      However, if 10 means superb, and 0 means hopeless, to my mind 5 means about average, and anything above that means an increasingly better and better performance?

      Anyway, it all makes for good football discussion, and that is better than reflecting on our present woes.

  6. I love the optimism and generosity of your markings, but saying “only 22 and will improve” means nothing. Colin Todd was a great player at 18 and captain at 21. Ndong is a mannequin in comparison.

    Again, I love your generosity and belief, I hope you are correct and he improves in the next 2 weeks or so.

    • I was about to say similar david. I didn’t see anyone worth more than 5 [ assuming that it denotes average performance ] I exclude Defoe on the basis that he got zero service, and can not be expected to out-jump 6 foot plus defenders to win aimless high balls with no one within 20 yards of him.

      I would have given most of our players 3/4. I actually thought that Pienaar was our best player until he departed [ not saying much, but he is the only midfielder we have who can usually find someone in the same shirt, and does not constantly give the ball away ]

      In truth, if we had lost 6-1, we could not have complained.

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