Considering it was contested between two of the division’s less appealing sides, Sunderland’s draw with West Ham was entertaining, although not exactly dripping with quality.
Ground was gained on the three sides above; so is the comeback on for Moyes’ men?
Don’t be ridiculous. Of course it isn’t.
Still, it was a pleasant change to see Sunderland come from behind twice, be worthy of at least the point and – let’s face it – actually score. What a knees-up we had on Saturday night.
Moyes’ negativity has been a defining feature this season. One outstanding example was during the unfathomably boring goalless FA Cup draw with Burnley. He introduced John O’Shea in the 84th minute as a third centre-back to ensure that Sunderland remained in the competition – for another 10 days. What the...
At least against West Ham Moyes appeared to try to win. Too late to save his side, or alter the general opinion of him, has he realised that there’s nothing to lose?
A cynical view of Moyes is that he’s currently more preoccupied with preserving his reputation than acquiring points.
This might be harsh, but if it has any credence then we have to wonder what his true thoughts were on Wahbi Khazri’s man-of-the-match performance.
Khazri is inconsistent and is awful at times. But the fact that this was his first start in 168 days, in such a dire season, is beyond ludicrous. Moyes was wrong to exclude him for so long and there’s the proof. The “reasons” proffered for the Tunisian’s prolonged absence convinced no one.
This isn’t wisdom after the event. Nor can I claim special insight. Did anyone agree with Moyes that ignoring such a gifted, albeit erratic player since October was a good idea?
Two weeks ago we suggested that bumping up his potential transfer fee was reason enough to play Khazri for the rest of the season.
Under the current miserable circumstances there is a case for extending this idea by not using any loan player in the remaining six games.
Larsson, Lescott, O’Shea, Pienaar, Kirchhoff, Anichebe, Gooch, Honeyman and Buckley are out of contract this summer.
Everyone else in the first team squad has at least a year remaining. Depending on the individual, there is a cogent case for playing them to either advertise their talents (let’s avoid the obvious jokes), or give them some much-needed experience.
I suspect above all that the fans now just want to see some adventurous, entertaining football for a change. If Sunderland try that and lose every remaining game 3-2: so what? Would it make anyone more depressed than they are now?
As for the future of David Moyes himself, it was made clear by some supporters on Saturday what they want – and when. But for the time being it’s not especially relevant. That ship has sailed.
However, at 5pm on May 21 the issue will be unavoidable. Ellis Short, or indeed Moyes himself, will have a decision to make. It should be made no later than 5.01pm the same day; if it hasn’t been made already. Enjoy the rest of the season. If you can.