Five problems facing Sunderland boss David Moyes ahead of Tottenham Hotspur clash
There is an overwhelming and all-too familiar feeling of deja vu at the Stadium of Light this season.
Four games into the new Premier League campaign, Sunderland are still waiting for their first win of the season.
Still early days but Sunderland are second-bottom and the worrying ease at which Everton tore apart the Black Cats defence in the second-half is causing concern and angst amongst fans.
David Moyes admitted post-match the start to the campaign has been a “worry”.
We take a look at the five biggest problems facing Moyes:
Lack of striking options laid bare:
With the late arrivals of goalkeeper Mika, defender Jason Denayer and club record signing Didier Ndong, Moyes was able to name his strongest bench of the campaign so far against Everton.
The problem is, despite the added strength, Sunderland were still missing any forward reinforcements from the bench.
Joel Asoro missed out after picking up a knock while away on international duty with Sweden Under-21s.
But the fact that a 17-year-old missing from the subs bench was a blow sums up the situation facing Moyes.
Free agent Victor Anichebe, as expected, missed the game as he builds up his match fitness.
His career goalscoring record is poor but he will add some much-needed physicality to the Sunderland frontline when he does play.
At the close of the summer transfer window, it was clear where Sunderland were short. In attack.
The weight of responsibility to score the goals to keep Sunderland up again lies squarely on the shoulders of Jermain Defoe.
No time for the new-look team to bed in:
Sunderland have a new right-back, in Javier Manquillo, and a new centre-back in Papy Djilobodji, with Manchester City loanee Denayer among the subs against Everton.
The backline needs time to gel and bed in but with games now coming thick and fast, time isn’t in Sunderland’s favour.
Further up the pitch, Ndong and Anichebe will also need a bedding in period.
But unless Sunderland start picking up wins soon, they could already be cast adrift by the time the next international window – in less than a month – comes around.
Having failed to win a Premier League game in August and September since 2012, the omens are not good.
That is a dismal record and it is a run that Sunderland seem unable to break.
Djilobodji second half performance cause for concern:
After the Southampton game, Moyes admitted former Chelsea defender Djilobodji needed a lot of ‘schooling’ if he is to be a hit in the Premier League.
After a fortnight on the training pitch during the international break, the 27-year-old had a steady first half against Everton.
Alongside Lamine Kone, the pair successfully quelled a number of Everton attacks.
But it all went horribly wrong after the break, Djilobodji at fault for two of the goals.
It was comical but Moyes has to hope his confidence hasn’t been dented too much. With numbers short, he needs Djilobodji to bounce back quickly.
Time to tinker with formation?
Sunderland ended the game with five at the back. Damage limitation after Everton had run riot during the second half.
Denayer was brought on alongside Kone and Djilobodji.
Could Moyes, though, have been using final 15 minutes as a dress rehearsal for the Spurs game on Sunday?
The Spurs forward line, fresh from their 4-0 demolition of Stoke City, would have been licking their lips at the amount of space afforded the Everton attackers.
Moyes may look to go five at the back from the start against Spurs.
Experience over youth?
Moyes has kept faith with the youngsters since arriving at Sunderland.
In the first few games it was due to injuries and limited options but Paddy McNair and Donald Love have since been withdrawn from the firing line after Moyes added to his squad.
Club record signing Ndong is likely to make his first start against Spurs.
But Moyes must decide whether to keep faith with Duncan Watmore, who struggled to make an impact against the Toffees, and Lynden Gooch or bring Wahbi Khazri back into the side.
The winger has been out of favour but Sunderland miss his set pieces.
Steven Pienaar missed the game after picking up a knock in training and Sunderland missed his ability to keep possession.
Far too often, Sunderland won the ball and then gifted possession away.