John McCormick writes: While Sam’s working hard to get the site finished Malcolm and I are beavering behind the scenes to repost some pieces which went missing. You can expect to see our Who are you and Guess the score shortly, if they aren’t up already, and here is the piece by our guest writer, Ryan James, who asks the question that’s surely on everyone’s mind. I haven’t been able to recover or repost anyone’s comments, however, so feel free to resume the discussion where you left off…
Can Sunderland avoid relegation this season?
Dick Advocaat’s Sunderland side are currently rock bottom of the Premier League after picking up just two points from their opening seven matches of the campaign. The Black Cats have conceded a league-high 16 goals so far this season and have failed to score in each of their last three fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur, Bournemouth and Manchester United. While it’s not quite a crisis at the Stadium of Light just yet, Sunderland know that they must improve if they are to avoid dropping down to the Championship this season.
Sunderland failed to invest wisely during the summer transfer window and they are paying the price for their struggles in the market. While they brought the likes of Younes Kaboul and Fabio Borini into the club, they did not significantly improve in key areas and will continue to find it difficult against the bigger teams in the division. The Black Cats are unable to create many opportunities and shift the ball across the field slowly, making them predictable and easy to defend against.
At a time when English clubs are failing across the board, Sunderland do need to step up their game if they are to remain in the Premier League. Three of the four elite English clubs lost in their opening Champions League encounter, which has led to many pundits, journalists and fans, not to mention Coral questioning: can English sides do better this season? While it’s almost certain that they can, Sunderland must also evaluate their own performances and focus on climbing up the division and away from danger.
The Black Cats do have talented individuals but they are struggling to gel as a team. Jermaine Defoe could form a budding partnership with Jeremain Lens in attack but,as reported in the Mirror both players have been used out-of-position at times this season. At times, Advocaat’s decisions have been bizarre at best and it is only a matter of time before Sunderland’s supporters turn on the Dutchman, especially if the Black Cats cannot find the victory that they are so desperately searching for.
There are over thirty matches remaining and there are plenty of opportunities for Sunderland to pick up points. However, the early signs aren’t looking good and the Black Cats will need a big result sooner rather than later if they are to show their supporters that they are ready for a relegation battle this season. With a bit of luck, Sunderland can perform the Great Escape once again and climb up the Premier League table. Who knows, they could even finish higher than Newcastle…