Despite the euphoria at recapturing the Friendship Trophy, as well as the relief that Norwich do not have an irretrievable points advantage, certain things have not changed.
Over the whole game, Sunderland played well and deserved their win. But the first half was a contest between two ropey teams who repeatedly squandered possession. One of the sides happened to score in that half and happily it was the away team.
There has been criticism of Sam Allardyce’s use or otherwise of substitutes in recent fixtures. This column joined in. We are happy to report that Saturday’s substitutions could scarcely have been more effective. However, I still query the wisdom of starting three defensive midfielders.
An afternoon of wonderful three-nillery was enjoyed at Carrow Road. But the opposition was very obliging with the goals and Arsenal are unlikely to repeat the favour this Sunday.
Please may I be proved wrong, but it remains improbable that Sunderland will keep a clean sheet against anyone. This increases the need to score at least one goal, which means more attacking intent.
Let’s be honest. If one of the defensive midfielders should be given a rest on current form it is Yann M’Vila. He has been arguably the club’s best player over the 33 games thus far, but he looks jaded and will not score or create those desperately needed goals.
Norwich was only one game and the result does little to alter arguments about over-cautiousness.
Discuss among yourselves who M’Vila’s replacement should be, but my suggestion would be to play someone splendid.