One win doesn’t keep you in the Premier League.
Not my words, but the message from David Moyes after recording his first Premier League win as Sunderland boss, a 2-1 come-from-behind success at Bournemouth.
Naturally, one of the most experienced bosses in the top flight is correct, but it’s a great start, isn’t it?
Here are six things we learned from the Victor Anichebe-inspired win.
Keep Moyes in the stand!
Only joking. No, Mr Moyes pulled off a tactical masterstroke, two in fact.
Not only did he select Victor Anichebe to provide very ample support top Jermain Defoe, he kept him on after Steven Pienaar was sent off.
It would have been no surprise had Moyes sacrificed a forward at that point to bring on a midfielder. But he stuck to his guns and was rewarded when Anichebe was brought down in the box and Defoe got the winner from the penalty spot.
Astuteness, bravery, gut feeling, call it what you will, but Moyes got the big calls spot on.
Sunderland are beginning to play:
It has taken a week or 10 but the side are showing real and extended signs that they can play.
If you tuned in to Match of the Day, you may have the impression the Black Cats were battered from pillar to post.Yes, the goal may have led a charmed life on one or two occasions but there were moments and periods when they looked good.
Twice in the first half, there were multiple-pass moves and, don’t forget, they had a goal chalked off too for offside after a slick attack.
After the break, the Cats built real pressure and momentum which ended with Pienaar’s red card. But there is plenty to build on.
Defence improves but still needs work:
There is clearly a spirit, a togetherness about the side and the defence in particular – a pat on the back here, a word of encouragement there is very noticeable as they go about their work.
That is great, but the defence still needs a bit of work.
A couple of times, especially in the first half (when Sunderland still had a full XI) they were opened up, particularly down the sides – the home goal started down the left but was then made down the right, Adam Smith ghosting into space before crossing for Dan Gosling to score.
It was similar to the previous week when Arsenal’s full-backs prospered. Supply routes must be checked.
Discipline is better but room for improvement:
The players seemed to learn from the Arsenal game – when a Gunner was fouled they would roll around in mock agony before the ref booked the offender.
At Dean Court, discipline was much better, except in the case of Pienaar.
This reporter thought his second yellow card was harsh after a challenge on Junior Stanislas – he seemed to win the ball, only for his studs to follow through and catch the home midfielder.
But his first booking was a needless, clumsy first-half foul on Jack Wilshere.
Probably, given that, he maybe should have heeded his lesson when going in for a tackle on Stanislas.
Lynden Gooch also needs to be careful. Booked for a foul seconds after entering the field, he got into a squabble and ran the risk of a red. The Cats can’t afford to play with 10 men or less!
Use your heads fellas!
At one point in the second half after surviving a period of pressure, they had a great chance to play a free-kick into the home box and aim for one of their three six-footers. What do they do?
Play it short, mess around and lose it. When there is a chance to test the keeper, and there has not been hundreds this season, please take it!
And, conversely, deep into injury time, when they should have been eating up precious seconds, they were trying to play and score. Get it in the corner!
Top marks to Papy Djilobodji:
Lamine Kone, still looks, how can I put this, still short of his best.
The hero of last season seemed to stand and watch as Harry Arter trotted forward and shot without being challenged and could have done more to prevent the Gosling goal.
But his central defensive partner could not have done more all game. Djilobodji put in a fabulous effort, in the air, on the ground, all over. Hopefully, Lamine will follow Papy’s lead?