Sunderland’s first win of the season will certainly bring about a sense of optimism and renewed belief among the club’s fans and players alike but can Sunderland build on it?
Having picked up just two points from their first ten league games, Sunderland appeared to be prime relegation candidates, but following the hard-fought win against Bournemouth things could potentially change for the better, though, it’s highly unlikely.
Based on their performance at the Vitality Stadium, the Black Cats didn’t deserve to win, but the level of desire and commitment shown by Sunderland’s players on the day earned them their first three points of the season.
Bournemouth enjoyed most of the possession (70%) and managed 22 shots, but their lack of cutting edge finishing and of course, Jordan Pickford’s best showing to date helped Moyes’ side to a slender 2-1 win, but how often will teams fail to convert chances against Sunderland?
As the stats suggest, the win is more or less a fluke seeing as Sunderland failed to dominate any area of the pitch – they simply managed to survive an onslaught in a game that could have easily produced a one-sided scoreline in Bournemouth’s favour.
Despite Sunderland’s abysmal start to the season, many have backed them to have another routine campaign where they’d stay up with a last-gasp run of form towards the end of the term. But judging by what we’ve seen thus far, notwithstanding their latest triumph, they’re arguably the second weakest side in the Premier League.
The concept of relegation is quite simple; as long as a side isn’t worse off than three other teams, then they’ll stay up.
Amongst the three worst teams in the league this season, Swansea looks to be the best of the bottom three hence it’s quite hard to envisage Sunderland leapfrogging the sides at the edge of the drop zone.
Sunderland picked the wrong time to win
With the international hiatus coming immediately after the weekend, Sunderland won’t be able to utilise their momentum to full effect. They play Hull City next in a relegation six-pointer that could ultimately determine how both sides fare in the months to come.
If Sunderland manages to secure a win over fellow strugglers, Hull, then it would serve as a major morale booster ahead of the clash away at Anfield, a game the Black Cats are expected to lose. Sunderland risks fading into obscurity should they fail to pick up at least a point against the Tigers as their poor campaign could snowball from there.
David Moyes’ comments at the start of the season about a relegation scrap could prove to be a self-fulfilling prophecy in December with Sunderland being handed a tough run of fixtures, only one of which looks winnable by Sunderland’s standards.
Sunderland’s first five fixtures in December see them take on Leicester, Swansea, Chelsea, Watford and Manchester United – the game against the Swans will be a dicey affair, but at things stand the Black Cats are delicately poised to drop a handful of points during the festive period.
The January Window Could Be Sunderland’s saving Grace
If Sunderland brings in some quality players during the winter window, then they could be in with a shout of pulling off a fifth consecutive “Great Escape”.
Patience has grown thin for Sunderland’s ever increasing myriad of lacklustre players that can’t be relied upon to produce the goods.
Khazri has been disappointing this season, along with a number of players that should’ve been shipped off long ago.
Duncan Watmore’s work rate seems to be the highlight of his attributes, and for a forward, that’s not enough to go by – Jack Rodwell is another player yet to prove his worth for Sunderland having arrived at the club in 2014 in a bid to revitalise his waning career.
Jermain Defoe and Patrick Van Aanholt look to be Sunderland’s most prized assets with Jordan Pickford slowly making a name for himself at the Stadium of Light.
A mini-squad overhaul, if possible, should be undergone when the opportunity arises, bringing in players that can offer much more to the team than just inconsistency and continuous errors.