Monsieur Salut says: it is said few people witnessing the same event, be it a car crash or a football game, see it quite the same way. For the definitive assessment, go to deputy editor Malcolm Dawson’s report. I felt Jack Rodwell, Seb Larsson and Adam Johnson had reasonable games – no more than that, though – and that it was an error on Gus Poyet’s part to substitute the first and third of those. Young Keir Bradwell agreed with me on Johnson and Rodwell but was harsher on Larsson, where he found common cause with a new guest contributor, Simon Ramsey. Against the more common view, Simon found kind words for Will Buckley. A home and away fan for 30 years and a regular supporter of Salut! Sunderland at Twitter, Simon offers his thoughts here for the first time …
Realistically, I am just trying to put a positive slant on the match.
Sadly, the only thing I can think of is that a below par Arsenal turned up and the scoreline was a little flattering to us.
We started quite brightly, but as we cannot seem to turn defence into attack at any great pace and we failed to exploit the space behind the pushed up fullbacks.
There’s only so much wretched passing football that I can cope with and we seem to have used up a normal season’s worth so far.
The match screamed for players to run at Arsenal’s back four, but we are hampered by the fact that only one of our wingers is prepared to take players on. I thought Buckley looked good again in the first half, but our attack is imbalanced as Johnson, frustratingly, usually turns to pass across or back or loses the ball while trying to take on a second man.
Needless to state, when it looks like we are comfortable a howler costs us a goal. What Brown was thinking when he miskicked his attempted back pass is probably best left for him to explain.
On the flip side of that, if O’Shea made that mistake then the howls of derision would have been more vocal. We started the second half a lot better and bizarrely the most impressive crosses into the box came after Fletcher limped off, when he possibly would have had our best chance of getting on the end of them.
We looked a little better due to the substitutions, taking the game to them by pushing forward, but Arsenal proceeded to waste a raft of chances as we went for the equaliser before another error in defence cost us the killer goal and emptied most of the ground in one fell swoop.
I can understand why Manonne was chastising Buckley so much as all he had to do was lash it up the field, but Vito must share some of the blame for his lack of control with the ball.
Positives on the team front for me were Buckley, Vergini, Van Aanholt and O’Shea and negatives were Johnson, Larsson, Brown and a lethargic looking Rodwell.