Gary Rowell: No magic of the FA Cup for Sunderland

The magic of the FA Cup was nowhere to be seen at the Stadium of Light as the Sunderland and Burnley stalemate gave them the replay no one wanted.

Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 10:30 am
Jason Denayer clears for Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID

A goalless draw can sometimes be a good game, but this wasn’t one of them with both teams lacking the creativity or moment of inspiration to break the deadlock.

David Moyes sprung a surprise when he started with all his fit senior players, apart from John O’Shea and most people, me included, thought he’d at least rest Jermain Defoe.

But even Sunderland’s stop scorer could not find a way past the well-drilled Burnley backline, in fact I can’t recall him having a shot, never mind a chance.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Black Cats boss won’t have taken much from this game, he’ll be happy with a clean sheet but that’s about it as it was game devoid of any quality or entertainment.

If all this sounds a bit depressing, it pretty much was although I thought Jason Denayer was easily Sunderland’s top performer.

He’s becoming a key player for the team and I would not mind Sunderland turning his loan arrangement into a permanent one.

I thought Moyes would have thrown one or two of the kids on the bench into the tie as he only used one of his subs, O’Shea replacing Seb Larsson.

In the last 15 minutes, Sunderland looked dead on their feet as Burnley dominated possession, maybe the home players were feeling the effects of the Liverpool match four days earlier.

So throwing a couple of youngsters on may have added some much-needed energy and enthusiasm.

At least Sunderland did not get beaten but by failing to win it means another game in a busy month for a squad altready stretched to its limits.