Until recently it was a bone of contention among Sunderland supporters that their team played five defenders, without concurrently looking any less likely to stop goals than playing when they played four.
Since reverting to four, they have created more chances at the other end, which has been a boon in the last few games for the likes of free-scoring Lee Cattermole and John O’Shea.
As at Reading, entirely preventable goals are still being gifted to opponents.
But Sunderland have looked neither better nor worse at the back while scoring more.
A logical progression therefore would be to abandon defending altogether. This is what they do anyway at some point.
Three fixtures remain, during which a nowt-5-5 formation appears a viable option.
I’m not entirely sure if I’m joking about this.