Are Sunderland good enough to stay up? At the minute I fear not
Another game, another alarming defeat and it's looking increasingly possible that we will be facing yet another relegation battle this season.
Being honest it’s difficult to see things turning round anytime soon.
The last three home games we’ve faced Sheffield United, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff. Played three, lost three and to teams that aren’t expected to particularly be challenging for the title this season.
Grayson acknowledged after the game yesterday that we aren’t too good to go down, but the question at the minute is surely more along the lines of ‘are we good enough to stay up?’
On paper that seems a ridiculous question but it is a different matter when we look at the performances the team are serving up.
Yesterday’s defeat saw another very disappointing performance from Lamine Kone, who continues to look as if he would rather be anywhere else and alongside him I expected a lot more from Marc Wilson.
We really missed Jonny Williams, not helped by Lee Cattermole’s poor game in the middle, and after a bright start, George Honeyman’s effectiveness is waning by the game. I’m also questionable of the goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter who had some good moments yesterday but surely could have been quicker off his line for the first, and overall doesn’t appear to be any better than Jason Steele.
There were of course a couple of decent performances. Adam Matthews in particular played well, and looked as much at home on the left hand side as the right. Bryan Oviedo has quality it’s plain to see, and after being given almost a free role really started to affect proceedings until he was withdrawn. Surely he will continue to be utilised on the left wing.
Up front, James Vaughan has many critics but when you look for alternatives, there aren’t any because Joel Asoro is nowhere near ready for this
level and although Lynden Gooch got his goal yesterday and worked hard, he is not a Championship centre forward.
Hopefully we will soon see the return of Callum McManaman and Aiden McGeady to the starting line up, and with Duncan Watmore and Josh Maja also nearing a return, there will be a lot more options and quality.
The concerns for me are managing to lose games like Cardiff and Forest where there was no obvious danger of doing so, and negative tactical decisions costing us victory at Hull.
We have a tough game at Ipswich on Tuesday and while it’s hard to see us coming away with anything, it’s getting to the point where we can’t afford not to. Of course it’s still September but we’ve played nine games and won once, we’ve fallen into the relegation zone and the mood surrounding fans is as low as I have seen.
We need to get something from the next two away games or we will be going into the international break adrift in the bottom three and we can’t afford to do that.
If we get stuck down there we won’t have it in us to fight our way out of it.