Maurice Louis-Dreyfus arrives on Wearside amid crucial week for Sunderland after brother Kyril's takeover

Thousands of Sunderland fans will have watched the win over Rochdale via live streams – but there are those few moments that the cameras don’t capture.

Sunday, 7th March 2021, 10:00 am

We take a look at some of the moments you might have missed from the crucial League One triumph – from a new face in the stands to some old friends reuniting:

MAURICE LOUIS-DREYFUS ARRIVES ON WEARSIDE

Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has been a regular attendee at Sunderland games since his arrival in the country in February, and hasn’t mixed a fixture since he acquired a majority shareholding in the club from Stewart Donald.

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Maurice Louis-Dreyfus arrives on Wearside amid crucial week for Sunderland after brother Kyril's takeover
Maurice Louis-Dreyfus arrives on Wearside amid crucial week for Sunderland after brother Kyril's takeover

And against Rochdale, he was joined in the stands by twin brother Maurice.

Reports prior to the confirmation of Louis-Dreyfus’ takeover suggested that Maurice could be in line for a role at the club – potentially as a director – following the transaction.

That has yet to be confirmed, with trusted family associates Patrick Treuer and Igor Levin already appointed to the board following the resignations of Juan Sartori and Donald.

But Maurice’s appearance at the game may again fuel rumours that he is going to join his brother in some capacity on Wearside.

Indeed, the Echo understands that the 23-year-old – who splits his time between London and Zurich – was also in attendance for the midweek win over Swindon Town.

And he couldn’t have picked a better week to take-in the Stadium of Light, having seen the Black Cats pick up two wins in two vital fixtures during a busy period.

GRANT GETS BEHIND THE LADS

While he may not have been able to feature on the field, Grant Leadbitter was clearly keen to have a role off it.

The midfielder is currently recovering from a dislocated shoulder sustained at Crewe and, while Lee Johnson says Leadbitter could be nursed through future matches, he was not rushed back into action against Rochdale.

But he was still present at the Stadium of Light, and was in and around the side pre-match before then heading to the stands to cheer on the side.

THE PRE-MATCH PEP TALK

The key talking point from the Sunderland team news was the inclusion of young defender Oliver Younger, who was making his league debut in the clash.

While the 21-year-old has previously turned out in the Papa John’s Trophy, this was his first start in the league – and was no doubt a memorable day for the former Burnley man.

Naturally a centre back, Younger was deployed at right-back for the clash but performed well after a shaky start.

And that was no doubt thanks to some support from his more experienced teammates, who were quick to pass on words of advice and encouragement throughout the game.

Indeed, just moments before kick-off, Jordan Jones – who was playing ahead of Younger on the right flank – was giving a last minute pep talk to the youngster.

Then, after Charlie Wyke doubled the Cats’ lead, Luke O’Nien gave some quick tactical instructions to the youngster as Sunderland looked to keep things tight.

THE FREE-KICK PLOY

It was the kind of plot that, had it worked, would have looked really, really good.

After Aiden McGeady was pulled back about 30 yards out, Sunderland loaded the box as they looked to capitalise on what was a good position.

McGeady and Jones stood over the ball, with the latter teeing up the former – only for things to ‘go wrong’ with McGeady stalling his run.

That was all a ploy though, as the winger quickly came back and curled the ball in on his right with the aim of catching Rochdale off-guard.

He did just that was a good in-swinging delivery, albeit one which couldn’t be met by a Sunderland head.

Under Lee Johnson, the Black Cats have been mixing up their set pieces a bit more and – while they are still far from perfect – it’s refreshing to see a variety of ploys behind used to try and get the most out of these situations.

A CRUCIAL BLOCK

For all Sunderland were fairly comfortable in this clash, there were some nervy moments.

That was particularly the case in the first half where Rochdale had a few excellent chances to find the net – at moments which could have changed the trajectory of the game.

One of those chances fell to the lively Kwadwo Baah, who caused Callum McFadzean some real problems throughout the contest.

He latched onto a through ball from Aaron Morley and found himself in the box.

But a fine block from the falling O’Nien – who managed to get himself in the way of the shot despite losing his balance – stopped what would have been a clear-cut opening.

It was a fine block and one which took on added significance after Wyke doubled the lead.

OLD FRIENDS REUNITED

One of the major disappointments of this game was that we didn’t get to see what is always an interesting dynamic – two brothers playing against each other!

Conor McLaughlin’s sibling Ryan has been a mainstay in the Rochdale side this term and started for the visitors at the Stadium of Light.

And while he wasn’t able to catch-up with his brother given his injury, he was able to reunite with some international teammates – and was warmly greeted by Northern Ireland duo Jordan Jones and Carl Winchester at full-time.

Whether the reception would have been as positive had Rochdale snatched a result is a different question...

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