Victor Anichebe gets Jermain Defoe firing on all cylinders for Sunderland
Victor Anichebe has made a huge impact on Sunderland.
There is absolutely no question about it – since the powerhouse striker has started in the side, the Black Cats are a team transformed.
And boss David Moyes has now pointed to the impact Anichebe has had on Jermain Defoe.
The leading scorer had experienced a quiet October, though that has more to do with a lack of chances created rather than any weakness on Defoe’s part.
However, the ex-England star now has three goals in his last four appearances – the same tally as Anichebe – giving him eight in total.
“Victor is helping Jermain,” explained Moyes.
“If you remember there was a period when Jermain wasn’t scoring all the time.
“But Victor’s in and suddenly it’s looking as if they’ve got goals in them.”
While Moyes has started with both men over the last four matches – bringing in nine points – it has not been a conventional front two.
At Liverpool, for instance, both players alternated filling in down the left channel in front of full-back Patrick van Aanholt, whereas in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Leicester, Anichebe and Defoe were supported up top by Duncan Watmore.
When Sunderland needed to defend, Anichebe joined van Aanholt while Watmore assisted Billy Jones on the right side.
Moyes has been pleased how the revitalised former Everton and West Brom striker can operate in a variety of positions.
“He’s given us a platform to build from,” said the manager.
“Sometimes we alter the roles on the left, right and middle.
“It may be something we need to do to suit the opposition we are playing, changing things as required.”
But one thing Moyes is sure about, is the power and belief the Scouser has brought to the team.
And he is aware he must keep telling him just how good he is!
“If he keeps that body moving then he’s a hard man to stop,” smiled Moyes.
“You could see that [on Saturday], he had one great run late in the second half, didn’t he?
“He needs to be keep being reminded he can do it.”
Sunderland’s fans, Moyes admits, have been key to the form of the 28-year-old.
And the boss has thanked the Stadium of Light faithful for the support they gave the entire team against Leicester.
A near 40,000 crowd helped the Black Cats over the finishing line after Shinji Okazaki had pulled a goal back for the Foxes 10 minutes from the end of normal time.
“We needed the fans to keep the players with it, because it was tight,” said Moyes.
“I don’t think we should have got into the situation we were in when it was 2-1 and the keeper having to make a world-class save at the end.
“I will be having a word [with the players].”