Victor Anichebe responds as Premier League teams try to nullify his threat
Victor Anichebe takes it as a compliment that teams have begun to double up on him in order to combat his threat.
The 28-year-old powerhouse helped Sunderland beat Watford 1-0 to climb off the bottom of the Premier League after overcoming a thigh injury.
And he produced another barnstorming performance, playing on the left-hand side of an attacking three supporting central striker Jermain Defoe.
Anichebe has been in scintillating form since breaking into the side, helping spark a run of four wins in seven games.
But opposing sides have been quick to realise his threat. Not that it fazes him.
“It is becoming a lot more difficult, when I first came into the side teams didn’t know what to expect,” said Anichebe.
“They are trying to stop our left-hand side of attack. That is why I switch sides sometimes because teams are ready for us and are a lot more aggressive with me.
“I am used to it – I just have to be ready. Every game is tough. They are doubling up on me, but that is part and parcel of the game. It is a compliment as well. Whenever there is a battle, I will be ready for it.
“We are good down the left-hand side, but sometimes I feel we need to switch it around more.
“As the manager implements more of his plans, that is what we will be, more fluid.
“Teams are watching us and know they need to stop that side. That is a compliment.
“If we can work across both sides, it will free up more space for everybody.”
Two of the stand-out performers on Saturday were centre-backs Lamine Kone and Papy Djilobodji.
Anichebe was quick to praise the duo, who excelled at keeping quiet Hornets skipper Troy Deeney – who is still searching for his 100th goal – and strike partner Odion Ighalo.
“Lamine and Papy drive that passion onto the rest of us,” reflected Anichebe.
“When I see them playing that way, we all react.
Whenever they are beasts, it really drives us on and the fans. Whenever they are like that it makes it far easier for the rest of us.
“We all respond.
“It wasn’t pretty. The fans could see it wasn’t but got behind us and we got the win in the end. These are the type of games you need to grind out. Watford have some monsters in their side and we knew it was going to be tough.
“The manager got us through. We didn’t do well against Swansea – we didn’t turn up – but we showed how much we care against Watford. We knew Watford was a must-win game.
“It wasn’t pretty at times. We didn’t really get the chances me, JD and Fab, but we didn’t care as long as we won.
“The gaffer had told us how important it was. He said ‘I won’t lie to you, we need to get a result’ and we did. The fans were brilliant.
“Again, we hope this can be a springboard.
“We have a small break now and next game we can be ready again.”