Wise Men Say: Wahbi Khazri’s comeback performance shows up Sunderland boss

Wahbi Khazri battles against West Ham. Picture by Frank Reid
Wahbi Khazri battles against West Ham. Picture by Frank Reid
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As far as entertainment goes, Saturday’s game with West Ham United was up there with the most enjoyable encounters of the season.

It was nice to watch a Sunderland side go at the opposition right from the off. Although the same old defensive frailties were exposed, we didn’t collapse after conceding which made a change.

Over the course of the 90 minutes, we were the better side. The fact we couldn’t capitalise on this, failing to pick up just our sixth win of the season, probably explains why we are where we are.

Once you digest the game after the leaving the ground though, the frustration returns – it’s all too little, too late.

I think the vast majority of the Sunderland support was picking their jaws up off the floor at 2pm on Saturday. Wahbi Khazri started a game. I’ve been one of many that wanted to see him given more of an opportunity this season.

Moyes’s suggestion in midweek that he had no wide options was quite incredible considering he’s practically ignored the Tunisian international this season. Let’s be frank, on Saturday, Khazri made the Sunderland manager look like a complete mug.

There’s a part of me that thinks Moyes probably just chucked him in to appease in the hope that he’d be poor, purely to prove a point.

Unfortunately for the dour Scotsman, Khazri put in a man-of-the-match display. It just served to highlight another poor decision from the manager this year and there have been plenty of those.

The fact Khazri gets his chance when we’re dead and buried really rankles.

It would almost have been better if he were completely awful. At least that way we wouldn’t be thinking ‘what if he’d had four or five starts over the last five months?’

As good as Khazri was, we know he wouldn’t be able to replicate that performance week in, week out.

However, the bloke has barely been given a go for six months in a failing side.

We’ll never know if his inclusion would have made a difference, and people can point to hindsight, but many Sunderland fans wanted to see him used more regularly.

Then we had the bizarre Borini goal celebration.

This is a player who has played on nearly every occasion when fit; the manager has shown faith in him in spite of his frequently woeful displays.

Why should being dropped be Borini’s primary motivating factor?

Maybe if he’d scored a few more goals this season then his place wouldn’t be under scrutiny and we’d be a lot better off in the Premier League?

I can think of sitters he’s missed against Liverpool and Manchester City off the top of my head.

In my view, he’s a player who very much plays for himself and his celebration after that goal demonstrated just that.

Players like Borini will slope off to pastures new in the summer on bumper deals and crack on.

Unfortunately for us, we’ll be left with the mess that players like him are responsible for.

* The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from David Moyes. You can stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes