Hopeful or in despair as PDC’s new broom finishes sweeping for now?

Jake wonders whether Things will Go Better with PDC's new brew...
Jake wonders whether Things will Go Better with PDC’s new brew…

We can now put out a full team of players bought or borrowed by Paolo Di Canio, with some to spare for the bench. It might involve a little flexibility on positioning, and PDC needs to draw on the inherited squad for his substitute goalie, but here’s how it could look:

Vito Mannone

Andrea Dossena, Valentin Roberge, Mobido Diakite, Ondrej Celustka

Charis Mauvrias, Ki Sung-Yeung, Cabral, Emanuele Giaccherini

Jozy Altidore, Fabio Borini

Subs: Keiren Westwood, David Moberg Karlsson, El Hadji-Ba, Duncan Watmore

Just to make it interesting – and maybe to give us hope – we could appoint Steven Fletcher as an honorary new boy and stick him on in place of one of the strikers. Depending on how long Altidore is out with his hamstring, we’d probably have to. And that leaves out a lot of people who have come to be regarded as first-team squad members: Colback, Larsson, O’Shea, Wes Brown (as and when), Gardner, Johnson, Cuellar, Vaughan …

Others have gone, of course, or fallen deeply out of favour. No Sess, no Mignolet and, for other reasons, no Bardsley or Cattermole.

The loss of Mignolet was unavoidable. He was among the best three keepers in the Premier last season and may before long be considered among the best in the world. It was unrealistic to expect him to stick around.

Sess’s departure splits the supporters but fills me with sadness. The sending-off at a crucial late stage of last season, the brushes with the law and the utterly unreliable form all combine to suggest PDC and Sunderland may be better off without him but I detest seeing a genuinely, naturally gifted player leave without any obvious replacement. I share the fears of one fan commenting here that he’ll turn in a blinder for WBA against us.

The transfer window slammed shut without the arrival of an “English-style” playmaker, or such an individual of any nationality, that PDC craved and we all knew we needed. One was available, of course, but he went inexplicably to Hull. Creativity looks like being a continuing problem.

But the next few weeks and months will be interesting. They could be exhilarating or reduce us to total despair. Anyone who still feels able to make light of an atrocious start either knows something the rest of us don’t, or is bonkers.

The coming run of games is well known to all Sunderland fans by now. We need either exceptional home form or some stonking performances on the road.

I just wonder how long it will be before PDC feels the need to recall Catts or Bardo, both injured at present. No one wanted them in the window, or perhaps it’s just that no one felt like paying them what we do in wages. Catts has his admirers; could his steely qualities be of use, provided he has somehow cottoned on to what you cannot get away with as a man with a reputation? Could Bardsley recover the form that made him the supporters’ player of the season? Or are both outcasts beyond redemption?

I heard talk of widespread panic among our supporters on Twitter when the Sess deal was revealed. Not all of the new signings fill me with excitement or faith, but I do agree with those who discourage the temptation to write them off on unsound grounds, eg Liverpool fans didn’t rate Borino (so what?), Dossena’s unfit (he isn’t, or won’t be by the time we play Arsenal).

In other words, I am prepared to see how the new-look team performs while praying fervently that PDC and those close to him know what they’re doing.

What does the Salut! Sunderland jury make of it? At least we have 10 days before we need to fret again.

Monsieur Salut, Paris-style, by Matt
Monsieur Salut, Paris-style, by Matt
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11 thoughts on “Hopeful or in despair as PDC’s new broom finishes sweeping for now?”

  1. Diakite and Roberge scare me a little v Arsenal. They are not Prem experienced and the very quick and incisive Arsenal front line will make mince meat of them. I would be tempted to put Brown (if fit) in there and Cuellar in place of Diakite as Cuellar is at least used to playing against Arsenal.

    Cabral definitely in. I am still at a loss to see why Vaughn and Larsson are preferred to him in MF. If PDC thinks he is not Prem ready then thats a shame. He did teriffic v Man City and Spurs preseason.

    I’m hoping Ki will start straight away. We really need something special with the Arsenal midfield the way it is, and with Ozil coming in. I only hope Ozil does not find his feet for a few games.

    I’d love to see Altidore and Fletch start together. In those two we have a real goal threat. Altidore with his strength and Fletch as our fox-in-the-box. Good combination I think.

  2. All players on the payroll are assets to be used as PDC sees fit. It’s bonkers to write off Catts/Bardsley whilst they are drawing wages. If they are fit enough they should be considered.

    I normally do the sad thing of looking at the schedule and predicting results. Last season’s prediction of 47 points was wildly out. Needed all our players fit and performing. This season I find myself completely perplexed. For example Arsenal at home……I have no idea how that will pan out. We could nick a win, a draw is most likely (ever the optimist) however we are more than capable of being spanked 4-0

  3. I have no idea what this bunch of Sunderland players are capable of.

    We can do or say very little in expectation(apart from to say we have had an abysmal start).I have never felt as out of limbo as I do now about a squad of players.

    My opinion is we have signed too many unknown quantities and gotten rid of too many familiar faces.OK, we were borderline survival last season,but we had a base of a team to build on surely.Paulo has took a scorched earth policy to that squad.So we are starting almost from ground zero.It has also as left us supporters absolutely no idea what is about to be served up.We can only trust they will get it right on the night,but there is a slight feeling of detachment since I have no affinity with any of our new signings yet….and not that much for the bunch we have left over from last year….Fletcher excluded.

    • And yet against Palace we start with 8 players who were on the books before PDC came in and three (Vaughan, Wickham and Ji) who weren’t considered good enough to be regular starters last season and Gardner who was in and out of the side and played mainly as a full back anyway.

      I thought PDC might have been winning me round but this, plus my lack of understanding as to why Cabral was left out after his solid display against Fulham, leaves me perplexed.

  4. PDC has got as good a squad of players as any of our managers have had in the last 10 years. Given that he has bought into the idea of working with a director of football we can assume that these are his players.OK they might not have been his first choice but nevertheless he has agreed to sign them as the next best alternatives

    So it’s now down to him to prove that he is capable of managing in the Premiership

    With regard to the sale of Sess, I wonder it was done ao we have funds to strengthen if necessary in next transfer window.

    • Don’t underestimate the effect Sess’s leaving has on the salary situation. Fans tend to think in terms of a player’s ability and transfer fee but a club will also consider his wages. If Sess had stayed could they have afforded to sign Borini, Ki and Dossena on deadline day?

      While I understand those who think we should have tried to hang on to Mignolet, it made sense to let him go when Westwood hardly weakens the side but gives the club the opportunity to strengthen in other areas.

      The key question is are we in fact stronger now than we were in May?

  5. Cattermole needs to get fit and back into contention, we’re paying him a hefty fee weather he plays or not so we may as well make use of him. He is an effective player in he’s role and may provide some steel in our lightweight midfield .Why N’Diaye was loaned out baffles me but its done now.Sess was inconsistent but it seems its a combination of he’s age, wages and thick off the pitch behaviour that have tipped the balance in favour of selling.Its a good fee but we will miss him at times and you can guarantee he’ll have a blinder against us. As for the new boys, from what I’ve seen and can gather from other sources there’s some skill there, it’s just a question of can Di’Canio figure out an effective team and keep to it. The Fulham game was promising if ineffective.Southampton we were over run and MK Dons and Palace we were like headless chickens at times. Not a great start and realistically we won’t be getting much from the next run of games.Hopefully regardless of results the team gells together, puts in the performances and becomes a force ready to push on when the games get ” easier” . It’s going to be difficult and test all our patience at times, but honestly if we just stop up I’d take it now.

  6. Yes that’s his best team–Fletch as the captain?

    A 4-4-2 set up with no “hole” behind the striker to accommodate a roving Sessegnon type player will put more pressure on the wingers to perform.

    My only concern is that PDC is the coach and with the new set up De Fanti is the recruiter. How much say did PDC have and are they really “his” players? What loyalty has he got to them?

    Is this the Cabral syndrome?

  7. Key is the question will he select his best X1? On paper this side v Arsenal should give them a good game:
    Westwood
    Celustka-Diakite-Roberge-Colback
    Johnson-Cabral-Ki-Giaccherini
    Altidore-Fletcher or Borini [depending on Fletch’s fitness]

    Time for Catts to come in from the cold too.

  8. I said in an earlier post that the revamp was one of the best things that SAFC had undertaken in many years and I still support that view,providing we are a Premiership side at the end of the season.

    Such a radical restructure doesn’t happen overnight and that was certainly in evidence with the team selection at Palace——–Ji and Whickam up front and Larsson and Vaughan in midfield; all players I had hoped would be moved on.

    A change in mentality was needed — a clear out was necessary and I back PDC to the hilt in that regard.

    However he needs to find his best team very quickly now and stick to it because time is pressing.

    He needs to articulate his views in the Italian manner with their emphasis on respect rather than go off on a Barry Fry or JFK rant.

    Still a work in progress with quite a few loans to Championship clubs in the offing I would suspect.

    p.s. I don’t think we needed the money from the Sessegnon transfer so why was he sold?

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