SUNDERLAND reporter Chris Young gives his ratings after the Black Cats secured their opening Premier League victory of the campaign, with a 3-1 win over Stoke.
Mannone 7 - Sharp reactions to block Crouch volley on the stroke of half-time and showed excellent anticipation to consistently gather second half crosses.
Jones 8 - Continued where he left off against Swansea. Showed that he is sharp defensively, as well as going forwards, after shepherding the dangerous Assaidi.
Vergini 8 - Perhaps a watershed game for the Argentine international. Proved that he is now capable of handling the physicality of the Premier League at centre-half after going up against Crouch.
O’Shea 7 - Made a poor decision to back away from Adam to hand Stoke a soft equaliser, but marshalled the back four well during the second half, with the Potters offering minimal threat.
Van Aanholt 8 - Improving defensively by the game. Kept Arnautovic under-wraps, while never allowed Bardsley the chance to overlap.
Cattermole 7 - Predictably matched the physicality of Stoke’s midfield and restricted the space for Adam to cause a threat as the game wore on.
Gomez 7 - Produced a horrible second half back-pass which Stoke failed to exploit, but a composed figure in midfield on his first Premier League start for Sunderland and made Fletcher’s first. (Bridcutt 6 - Helped to see the game out after Stoke were getting too much room in midfield).
Larsson 7 - Pressed the Potters when Sunderland were ahead and disrupted their rhythm, before tiring after the break. (Rodwell 6 - Blushes were spared after Fletcher converted Wickham’s cross, but gave Sunderland some much-needed midfield energy).
Buckley 6 - Struggled to get involved in proceedings and allowed Stoke to quickly take a free-kick for their leveller (Johnson 6 - Plenty of defensive work in helping out Jones, but Sunderland didn’t have the ball enough in last 30 minutes for him to be a threat).
Wickham 8 - Showed predatory instincts to get Sunderland off to the perfect start and produced a runaway steam train charge to set up the killer third goal.
FLETCHER 9 - Proved his doubters wrong in some style after scoring his first goals since December and setting up Wickham’s opener. His best performance since the first six months of his Sunderland career.
STOKE: Begovic 6, Bardsley 6, Wilson 6, Shawcross 6, Muniesa 6, Whelan 6 (Bojan 6), N’Zonzi 7, Adam 8, Moses 7 (Assaidi 6), Arnautovic 6, Crouch 6 (Walters 5).