Sunderland AFC analysis: Defensive horror-show a real cause for concern for David Moyes

Adnan Januzaj gets a cross in
Adnan Januzaj gets a cross in
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David Moyes had spoken glowingly of his time in charge at Everton in the build-up to the game.

But he will be glad to see the back of the Toffees after they tore Sunderland to shreds in a devastating second-half attack.

It was embarrassing, schoolboy defending from Sunderland.

The Black Cats had been more than a match for Ronald Koeman’s side in the opening 45 minutes.

Sunderland lacked a goal threat but they had defended well and looked on course to get at least a point against the side Moyes made his name with over an 11-year period.

But it was a devastating 11-minute spell that cost Sunderland any hopes of a result - with Romelu Lukaku bagging himself a hat-trick.

It was embarrassing, schoolboy defending from Sunderland.

Twice the Belgium international scored from free headers, his third goal was a simple ball through the middle.

It was the ease at which the game got away from Sunderland that will be causing Moyes the most concern.

Sunderland crumbled too easily. And with the level of quality raising year on year in the top flight, the Black Cats look in deep trouble already.

Moyes’ side looked well placed at the break. Just over 10 second-half minutes was all it took to go horribly wrong.

It was frightening how quickly the game got away from Sunderland.

By the final whistle, the Everton fans were taunting their former manager, while Sunderland ended the game with a back five to limit the damage.

Club record signing Didier Ndong must have wondered what he had signed up to when the £13.6million man entered the action as a second half sub with his side 3-0 down.

Defensively, Sunderland were a shambles second half. Jermain Defoe was isolated up front.

Jack Rodwell was poor in central midfield, while Papy Djilobodji looked solid first half but his shocking second half showing will have hit his confidence hard.

There was one positive. The return of Jan Kirchhoff, who was applauded off the pitch second half.

Having successfully recovered from a hamstring strain that had kept him out since the penultimate game of pre-season, it was a sight for sore Sunderland eyes to have him back.

The 25-year-old oozes class in the centre of midfield.

As much as there was major disappointment after Yann M’Vila’s much-anticipated move failed to materialise, Kirchhoff is arguably more influential.

Ex-Bayern Munich man Kirchhoff had clearly been told to keep close tabs on Everton dangerman Ross Barkley.

Everytime the Everton midfielder moved, so did Kirchhoff.

The return of Kirchhoff cannot be underestimated. Now the trick is to keep him fit, and tie him down to a long-term deal.

Sadly, even his return was overshadowed by the second-half defensive horror-show.

It was a bright start to proceedings, Jordan Pickford alert to quell the danger from a Yannick Bolasie cross in the first minute, Pickford diving at the feet of Lukaku.

Lukaku has been directly involved in seven goals in eight Premier League career appearances versus Sunderland but hadn’t scored in his last 11 league games.

You knew what was coming second half.

There were emotional scenes five minutes in, with fans standing to applaud and sing the name of five-year-old mascot Bradley Lowery, who is battling cancer.

Four minutes later, Defoe should have opened the scoring. His lofted effort going over the Everton bar from close range.

Sunderland’s lack of bite remains a concern, with the Black Cats now failing to have an attempt a shot on target in the first half in each of their last three Premier League games.

Pickford produced a brilliant save to deny Lukaku’s firm header from close range 11 minutes in.

Bolasie was the stand-out dangerman for the Toffees, Sunderland affording him too much time and space on a balmy Wearside evening.

Pickford was busy in the Sunderland goal, comfortably saving from Lukaku’s tame effort 20 minutes in.

After a bright start, the game turned poor quickly, with Sunderland gifting away possession far too easily.

They were, at that point, defending well though.

Lynden Gooch almost caught out Maarten Stekelenburg six minutes before half-time, his curling effort had the keeper back-peddling, palming the ball over.

Kirchhoff did such a good job marshalling Barkley in the first half, he was hauled off at the break, Gerard Deulofeu on in his place.

And Deulofeu was straight at the Sunderland defence, causing more problems than Barkley had the entire first half.

Defoe saw a shot blocked by Ashley Williams while up the other end, Seamus Coleman flashed an effort across the face of goal. Lukaku could only prod it wide.

Everton took the lead on the hour mark. And it had to be Lukaku. Deulofeu started the move, the ball eventually falling to Idrissa Gueye who picked out Lukaku at the back post, his free header giving Pickford no chance.

The Belgium international then hit the crossbar moments later as Everton threatened to extend their lead.

He didn’t have to wait long. In the 68th minute, Bolasie found Lukaku unmarked once again to head home. Djilobodji had let him get away.

Sunderland had defended well first half but it all fell apart after the break, with Lukaku completing his hat-trick in the 71st minute.

Kevin Mirallas played in the striker, who tore down on goal before coolly slotting the ball past Pickford.

It was frightening how quickly the game got away from them. And they never recovered.

Moyes brought Jason Denayer on to shore up the back-line, with Sunderland reverting to a back five.

In truth, it could have been far worse for Moyes & Co who now have to quickly bounce back away to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon - again live to the nation.