Wise Men Say: Have Sunderland discovered Lee Cattermole’s replacement?

Jason Denayer in action against Hull
Jason Denayer in action against Hull
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Many have said, including myself, that should we not beat Hull then the Bournemouth victory wouldn’t count for an awful lot.

After a pretty poor first half all around, aside from Jermain Defoe’s brilliantly-taken goal, Sunderland dominated a poor Hull side and fully deserved their 3-0 victory.

It’s easier to take positives from a game when you’ve actually won it. David Moyes will be rightly proud of the character shown by a team that’s looked out of it’s depth so frequently during the opening three months of the season.

Victor Anichebe has been a bizarre revelation, looking like a £15m centre forward rather than a freebie with no place at any club. It was fantastic to see him forcing defenders back towards their own goal and dominating proceedings.

Though David Marshall might have done better with the Nigerian’s first strike, there was little he could do about the second. He certainly has the frame to carry responsibility and it’s great to see him delivering.

It was a huge blow to lose Lee Cattermole for four months late last week. We need a player with drive and presence in the midfield and we were scratching our heads as to where we might find his replacement. Yes, Jan Kirchhoff will be a huge boost to the side when he returns in the coming weeks. However, he needs somebody in there by his side who will scrap away and get a foot in.

Jason Denayer had shown glimpses in central midfield at Bournemouth a fortnight ago and I was pleased to see him start the game in that deep lying midfield role.

The Belgian had looked ungainly at full back, but in the middle he seems to have far more purpose. It helps that he’s such a physical presence. However, he needs to put that presence to good use.

His reading of the game was very good, picking up loose balls as well as pressing the opposition into errors. He’s comfortable with the ball at his feet, keeping it simple when using the ball too.

We’ve often seen the player in that deep role play a big part in Sunderland’s success, though I use the term success loosely!

Ki, Cattermole and Kirchhoff have looked classy there. Yann M’Vila had slotted in there too when required, but he looked great anywhere.

I don’t want to say it’s easier to play there, but players do seem to be afforded a lot of time in that position. I’m more than happy for Denayer to make it his own if he wants too, though.

Two victories on the bounce does lift the pressure, despite remaining in the bottom three.

We can afford to go to an outstanding Liverpool side next weekend and know that a point would be a brilliant result.

Confidence will be high and a gritty defensive display at Anfield could galvanise the lads further.

It’s just nice to see the players smiling on the pitch and fighting for the shirt. We don’t ask for a whole lot more than that.