Keir’s player ratings: loving the new two-pronged attack

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Nic Wiseman writes: Keir Bradwell is impressed with the two-pronged attack which saw our two strikers score for the first time this season. I personally feel the midfield is deserving of higher scores, particularly Gomez who delivered the cross for Fletcher’s first goal. These are Keir’s opinions and he’s quite capable of sticking up for them…

Sunderland 3 – 1 Stoke: Player Ratings
Well that was great.

Mannone – 7
Did well with everything he had to deal with, and wasn’t at fault for the goal. Good performance all-round, although he needs to work on his distribution.
Jones – 6
Good going forward, and made quite a few interceptions. Caught out of position on a few occasions in defence, but generally gave a good account of himself. We benefit hugely having an attacking fullback down the right.
Vergini – 8
Brilliant all-round. Saved us several times after our midfield let Adam and co through time and time again. His best performance for a while.
O’Shea – 6
Slooooow.
van Aanholt – 9
Phenomenal. Had an outstanding game at left-back, comfortably his best for us so far and came very, very close to being my man of the match.

Jake: 'our strikers swung their banjos with accuracy today and gave the cow's backside a reet battering!'
Jake: ‘our strikers swung their banjos with accuracy today and gave the cow’s backside a reet battering!’

Larsson – 4
He’s only getting a four because we won and I’m chuffed to bits, plus you’d all have slaughtered me in the comments had I given him less. His passing was sloppy, he was reluctant to close anyone down (in fairness, I think this might be Poyet telling everyone to stick to their positions religiously) and seemed very slow. I’ve been a fan of him in previous games but today he was poor.
Gomez – 4
See Larsson. We never, ever pressed Stoke, at all, and Larsson and Gomez were, unfortunately, at fault. They both seemed very afraid to make a tackle. (even an assist for the second goal can’t move young Keir—Ed)
Cattermole – 6
Far from his best game this season, although we managed to battle on regardless. As with the rest of his midfield, he seemed reluctant to slide in for the ball as he has done in previous weeks.
Buckley – 7
A standard Buckley performance, really. Quick, with decent crossing and skill to beat his man. Can’t complain about any of that!
Fletcher – 10
Two goals and an assist. Need I say any more?
Wickham – 9
Basically Fletcher, but with less doughnuts and less goals. The pair of them did us proud today.
Johnson – 6
Created a few chances and gave us some momentum in attack. Didn’t make a huge impact but decent nonetheless.
Bridcutt – 5
Quiet.
Rodwell – 6
Missed a sitter, which directly allowed Fletcher to get his second. Other than that, did pretty well in the 20 minutes he had on the pitch.

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18 thoughts on “Keir’s player ratings: loving the new two-pronged attack”

  1. Wickham has been playing extremely well, this season and looks a more complete player than even at the end of last season when he had his purple patch. Gus commented on how well the lad was playing just last week, and he was spot on.

    As for Larsson, he does an awful lot of work off the ball, harrying and closing down, but he gets little credit from many for those efforts.

  2. Re Rodwell sitter? Having viewed replay numerous times. I think that ball was slightly behind him and he seemed to not fully extend his leg to gather. A call from Fletch perhaps ? S

  3. I agree with Rob….Wickham has been outstanding. His control and hold-up play as the lone striker has been excellent and he’s the only one at the club capable of doing this. Both Fletcher and Altidore have signally failed to perform this role well. His problem has been a complete lack of support.

    The massive difference on Saturday was Gus finally playing two strikers. It doesn’t matter that Wickham was technically out wide and expected to work back etc – because he’s still a striker who knows where the goal is and gets there when he can. When Fletcher was putting the ball across for the first goal, Wickham was playing the Fletcher role by getting on the end of it. Wickham’s run for the third goal was something neither Fletcher nor Altidore could do.

    The last time we played Stoke (league Cup) Altidore scored and then gave Huth/Shawcross their easiest game of the year, because he’s useless in the targetman role. Playing Wickham AND Fletcher gave Stoke a lot more to think about and they struggled to cope. That’s not rocket science – and while Gus won’t play them both every game, we’ve been crying out for it in games which are clearly “winnable” (e.g. Burnley away).

  4. (via Twitter) … Not sure how Rodwell gets 6 when his single contribution was to miss the ball from 3 yards out like.

  5. The disagreement between Malcolm and Bill MB on Vergini is proof, if it were really needed, that even supporters of the experience Keir lacks cannot be expected to see the same game in the same way.

    Keir is not an expert, nor does he present himself as one. He is one of 42,000+ opinionated fans who were at the game, not to mention the countless thousands who were not but followed it one way or the other, and he offers his thoughts just as each of them will have done, only he does it publicly, here.

    Whether he gets it spot-on, or displays lack of wisdom/appreciation/ understanding, or lands somewhere in between, is irrelevant; the Comments section provides all the opportunity for redress that anyone needs.

    The more important point in all this is that he does, voluntarily and doubtless with the enthusiasm of youth, what very few other readers of Salut! Sunderland do. He contributes. So I give him a “brilliant” nine out of 10 for that – and would make it 10 but for the need to leave scope to reward him further.

  6. Jeez, another Vergini “brilliant” verdict. If he stopped Adam time and time again what was he doing when he actually scored? (Sorry to be so repetitive).

    • Vergini had a decent game yesterday. How much was he at fault for the goal? He shut down the opposition well on the whole I thought. To me the problem was the speed at which Stoke took the free kick. Our full backs and Keir’s much maligned midfield were still up the pitch and out of position. Had they been able to drop a bit deeper they may have had more opportunity to deny Adam the space he was given.

      Mannone said as much on Radio Newcastle when he said Buckley was “too nice” to let them have the ball when the offside was given.

      BTW was it offside? It didn’t look like it from my seat but I wasn’t at the best angle and I haven’t seen a decent replay. As no one is making a fuss about it I’m assuming the lino got it right.

  7. I feel very frustrated by these “experts” who obviously have only a superficial understanding of the game and have no concept of the massive contribution made by the likes of Larsson.

    • Plus, it wasn’t a NEW TWO-PRONGED ATTACK, Whickham played in the “Borini” position, wide left and spent as much time in defense (successfully) as he did in attack.

      • Rob?? Wickams last performance against Swansea was far from outstanding, I havebt seen him have a good game this season, til Saturday,I freely admit to not being a fan of his… Yet!! But, hats off to him and fletch for Saturday,really hope it continues…. Keep the faith

      • Really not sure which game some people watch. I know it is a matter of opinion but Wickham gave a great example of the lone striker last week, with the glaring exception of his miss. He held the ball brilliantly, despite being absolutely battered by their centre-halves and I cannot believe people weren’t able to see that. The miss, though, would knock his mark down for me. This week, I thought his general play wasn’t quite as good but he worked really hard, scored a goal by getting in the right place (not something our strikers normally do) and his work for the third goal was exceptional.
        For what it is worth, I am happy with Keir’s marking of our strikers but the mark on Larsson is harsh. his dead balls carried a threat this week and he worked as hard as Cattermole (and wasn’t bypassed easily for their goal which Lee was) – this is not to slaughter Cattermole who has been magnificent recently but was a bit below par on Saturday, just to indicate that I thought Larsson deserved the same mark.
        The one that surprises me is that everyone seems happy with Buckley on Saturday when i thought he was really poor. He has made a great start to a premier league career and can be forgiven a bad game but he certainly had one. Wide players, looking along the line, should not be offside and he often is. His first touch was regularly poor and he ran the ball straight out of play a couple of times. I am also sure that Poyet warned his players about Stoke breaking quickly and he was far too busy looking to the skies about his offside decision to actually wake up and do his job. Others were also to blame for the goal but it was his initial error that led to it.

    • Bill – Keir isn’t an expert – he’s thirteen 14 and his scores reflect his youthfulness. M Salut is trying to encourage younger contributors and should be applauded for that.

      But our young assessor needs some mentoring. M Salut seemed to think Keir was being ironic when he gave Altidore a 10 recently. I don’t. It seems to me that if a player does one flash thing he gets a high score or commits one error and gets virtually nothing. The midfield were at the heart of this victory and a lot of what they do to break up play, create space, harrass the opposition or prevent them finding space goes unnoticed. Larsson, Cattermole and Gomez all contributed to a greater degree than Keir gives them credit for.

      I don’t want to discourage anyone by being negative and we will all have differing views but the sentence “He’s only getting a four because we won and I’m chuffed to bits, plus you’d all have slaughtered me in the comments had I given him less.” would seem to clearly indicate that Keir thinks Seb’s contribution to the game was only 30% or less than that of Fletch.

      That as you say indicates a superficial understanding of the game, but then we both probably have nearly 50 years or more life experience than a lad who has just entered his teenage years. My advice to Keir would be to try and be more objective about the players’ roles and assess the game as a whole. Oh and develop a thick skin.

      • It was irony with Jozy.
        Clearly the greatest player in our team and deserves to start every week.

        I’d honestly have been a lot more critical of Larsson, but I knew the backlash would come. I’m a huge fan of Klopp’s Dortmund, and other extremely high-pressing teams. Larsson and Gomez were the complete opposite of this on the day – giving Stoke far too much untroubled time on the ball. If I were a manager, I’d have two midfielders harrying down their attack at every opportunity, giving them no time and tackling them as soon as possible. Jones/Larsson/Gomez/Catts were all guilty of withdrawing from tackles but the former and latter were otherwise very, very good.

        I’m interested, though. What do you think Larsson and Gomez’s roles are?

        oh, and btw. Here’s my formation if I was a manager. http://lineupbuilder.com/2014/custom/?sk=4hx3k

      • “I’d have two midfielders harrying down their attack at every opportunity, giving them no time and tackling them as soon as possible.”

        I’d have every player doing that, whatever their position with the exception of Vito perhaps. But you say “They were all guilty of withdrawing from tackles”. You must have seen in the last couple of seasons what happens when players (Catts, Dossena, Brown etc.) make pointless tackles in areas of the pitch where they are more effective just holding up play by standing off and closing down space. This gives those away from the ball the opportunity to deny the opposition space to receive a pass.

        Stoke’s goal came from an opportunity where they could get the ball forward quickly before our midfield and back four could get organised.

        I know one thing – it is easier to win a game with 11 players than 10 or even 9. You have ignored Gomez and Larsson’s quick thinking for Fletch’s first, ignored their running, closing down and work off the ball which rendered Stoke’s midfield virtually inefective. Together with Catts they bossed the midfield.

        Buckley and Jones were flashy but creatively had no part in the three goals although Buckley went close with his attempted lob. Did he mean it? If he did it was quick thinking. If he didn’t then it was a terrible cross.

        Saturday’s was a team performance and all 14 players who got on the pitch contributed.

        For what it’s worth (not much) I would have scored the team:

        Vito – 7; Jones 7 Vergini 7, O’Shea 7, Van Aanholt 8, Cattermole 8, Gomez 7, Larsson 7, Buckley 7; Wickham 8, Fletcher 9. Subs Johnson 7, Bridcutt 6, Rodwell 7.

        By the way if your 10 for Altidore was ironic then how are we supposed to know which of your scores are genuine and which not?

      • “they are more effective just holding up play by standing off and closing down space”

        They didn’t do this either, at least not the closing down bit. Hence the lower mark.

        I’d have thought the Altidore mark was fairly clearly irony.

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