IT’S PERHAPS a touch cruel to point out that Jermain Defoe has already doubled Jozy Altidore’s Premier League goal tally after just three games.
But unfortunately, it’s an accurate statistic when it comes to the difference between the pair.
What a seismic shift it has made for Sunderland to have a finisher in their midst again.
In the swamp of loans, gambles and second chances in the January transfer window, Sunderland really do look like they’ve produced a pedigree rabbit out of the hat.
This was a game Sunderland would have lost a month ago.
Sunderland had just one shot on target at the Liberty Stadium, but boy, did Defoe make it count, with a brilliant individual goal - collecting possession just inside the Swansea half, driving to the edge of the penalty area and then sweetly sending it into the bottom corner.
It was typical Defoe.
In an encounter where Sunderland worked hard and looked solid, without ever worrying Swansea after Defoe’s strike, it was a pivotal moment of class.
Strike partner Danny Graham - handed his first Sunderland start since May 2013 - worked tirelessly alongside Defoe and held the ball up well, while Ricky Alvarez was full of confidence in the wide role.
But Sunderland needed something tangible to show. That’s what Defoe brings.
That Ki Sung-Yueng came back to haunt Sunderland in the second half was disappointing, particularly the manner in which the South Korean was left unmarked to send a diving header beyond Costel Pantilimon.
But a point was a decent one, and certainly an outcome which would have been gladly accepted beforehand.
On the balance of play in the second half too, you couldn’t really make an argument for Swansea not meriting a share of the spoils.
Bafetimbi Gomis is no Wilfried Bony - far from it in fact - but Swansea had the chances and an overwhelming quantity of possession in the second half, albeit they looked like they were going nowhere just prior to the equaliser.
Getting a draw keeps the feel-good factor going though. It makes it an excellent week for Sunderland - four points in the Premier League and progress in the FA Cup.
If the Black Cats can come away a win against QPR on Tuesday night, then there really will be a sense that they have turned a corner.
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