Six things learned from Wolves draw - Youngsters step up, Lee Cattermole should know better, bold Sunderland selection pays off

Sunderland picked up their fourth point on the road since Chris Coleman arrived on Wearside thanks to a resilient defensive display against Wolves.

Sunday, 10th December 2017, 9:05 am
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 4:07 pm
Lynden Gooch in action at Wolves. Pictures by Frank Reid.

Here's what we learned:

Bold selection call by Coleman

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The Sunderland boss was forced into two changes with Bryan Oviedo injured and Callum McManaman serving a one-game ban after his red at Reading.

Coleman opted to make three changes in total for the trip to the Midlands, with Aiden McGeady dropped to the bench.

McGeady hasn't been on top of his game for a few weeks now but he is always capable of a touch of magic out of nothing. It was a bold call to drop him but it proved the right one.

Donald Love, Lynden Gooch and Marc Wilson the players brought in and all three played their part, Gooch in particular.

Lee Cattermole walks off after his red card.

New system worked a treat:

Since arriving at Sunderland, Coleman has opted for a 4-1-4-1 system but he tweaked the formation for the trip to league leaders Wolves, the division's expensively assembled inform side and top scorers.

Coleman opted for three at the back with Adam Matthews left-wing back, Donald Love right-wing back with Lee Cattermole and Darron Gibson helping shield the back four.

Lynden Gooch and George Honeyman provided the legs and energy to support Lewis Grabban while also diligently carrying out their defensive roles.

Tyias Browning in action.

It was a 3-4-2-1 system, similar to what Coleman used during his time in charge of Wales and it worked a treat. It gave Sunderland the flexibility of a back five when Wolves attacked.

Lee Cattermole should know better:

Chris Coleman had sympathy for Cattermole despite the experienced midfielder seeing red for two yellow cards in less than a minute.

Coleman felt the first card was harsh but had little argument with the second.

Sunderland fans at Molineux, around 1,500 were in the away end.

Either way, Cattermole shouldn't have given the referee the option and left his team a man down for half an hour.

As it happens, Sunderland played better when Cattermole wasn't on the pitch, adversity galvanising the players and they held on brilliantly.

Cattermole comes in for a lot of stick for the amount of bookings he picks up for rash challenges.

This was his first red in four years, though, the last coming away at Hull in November 2013.

Youngsters step up to the plate:

Coleman put faith in his younger players for the trip to Molineux, with the Sunderland squad ravaged by injuries.

Lee Cattermole walks off after his red card.

George Honeyman, Tyias Browning, Donald Love all performed well, Browning recovering well from a very nervy start but special praise must go to Lynden Gooch.

Gooch produced his best performance yet in a Sunderland shirt, ran his socks off trying to provide support to Lewis Grabban while working hard defensively.

Gooch tweeted: "What a shift by everyone, great point and clean sheet to build on."

A special mention to Elliot Embleton too, the midfielder made his Sunderland debut at Wolves as a second half sub, helping secure the point.

Darron Gibson shines for Sunderland:

It is often Gibson wins praise and plaudits from the Sunderland faithful but he was outstanding second half against Wolves.

First half, Gibson's passing was poor, losing possession too easily but he went up a gear second half and was Sunderland's best midfielder, taking on the responsibility when Cattermole departed.

With Didier Ndong, Paddy McNair and Jonny Williams all out injured, Gibson wouldn't usually be an automatic pick for Sunderland usually but he showed what he is capable of at Wolves.

Now he must do the same for the huge home double-header coming up, with Cattermole suspended for the visit of Fulham.

Now to sort out the home form:

Coleman has now taken charge of four games, three away from home and Sunderland have picked up four points. Victory over Burton followed by a good point at Wolves.

Now to sort out the dire home form and put to bed the 21-game winless run once and for all.

Fulham and Birmingham visit the Stadium of Light on successive Saturday's before Christmas, Coleman will be targeting maximum points to end a desperate 2017 on a high.

Tyias Browning in action.
Sunderland fans at Molineux, around 1,500 were in the away end.