Wise Men Say: Sunderland's defending more nightmarish than Jools Holland's Hootenanny

I'm so glad I had an excuse to drink heavily after Saturday's game.

Monday, 2nd January 2017, 11:30 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 11:40 am
Andre Gray beats Vito Mannone to complete his hat-trick in Burnley's 4-1 weekend win over Sunderland. Picture by Frank Reid

Drinking alone would have been more fitting, but spending the evening with friends did allow me to forget some defending that was even more nightmarish that Jools Holland’s Hootenanny.

The defeat at Turf Moor was a fitting end to Sunderland’s year. Hope at the start due to beginning the game brightly, followed by that hope being repeatedly crushed.

There’s no shame in losing away to Burnley, they’re the definition of a “tough place to go” this season. At least make them work for it though.

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All The Clarets had to was ping the ball long and our players may as well have used their white shirts as flags to signal surrender.

The manager can’t be blameless in defeats such as this but I certainly have a degree of sympathy for David Moyes.

What can he do about Steven Pienaar falling over absolutely nothing, with no one anywhere near him? He could stop giving him chance after chance, I suppose.

One thing Moyes definitely can’t help is two defenders going up for the same header. He was probably just as furious as the fans when witnessed such basic, avoidable mistakes.

To round things off, we even managed to pick up another couple of injuries. We may be already losing Kone to the Africa Cup Of Nations but his injury meant an early reshuffle of an already fragile defence.

Just what you need in a team that’s only kept two clean sheets all season – even more disruption.

So by the time Victor Anichebe pulled up with a hamstring problem, it looked like our entire game plan was out the window.

It could be an issue that sidelines Big Vic for a prolonged period, so it’s a good job the transfer window is open, right? Wrong.

There reportedly is no money to patch the squad back together, let alone strengthen it and we seem to rely heavily on having a target man up front. So it’s hard to be “happy” about all things Sunderland as we enter the New Year.

We can take some solace from the fact that we know many who underperformed are capable of better.

Players like Papy Djilobodji had been looking solid recently and he’ll have to move on quickly, given the lack of numbers at the back. Fabio Borini will need to get back up speed, as we’re running out of forwards.

Someone in the midfield will have to become the man to drive the team on as this is a team lacking leaders at the moment.

It was a dreadful end to a year that had promised so much. But it wouldn’t be Sunderland if they didn’t let you down. The comforting familiarity of having your hopes built up, subconsciously knowing you’re foolish to ever have faith.

Hopefully our resignation to plummeting is proved just be just as silly, but I sadly think we’ll be spending next year’s Hootenanny discussing whether or not we’ll finish in the play-off places.

* The Wise Men Say podcast is available from every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction from David Moyes. You can stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes