It’s nice to enjoy the weekend again. After so many years of misery supporting Sunderland, culminating in the lowest position in the club’s history, it seems odd to be enjoying football again.
Saturday’s display against Rochdale saw The Lads dish out another paddling, this time Rochdale were the victims as we bagged four goals for the second time this season.
Truthfully, we didn’t get out of first gear.
Some might argue we’ve barley clicked in second gear over the course of nine games. Maybe that’s why there’s been mild grumbling from some supporters.
Two older gentlemen who sit behind me suggested, at 4-0 up, that this was the ‘worst 4-0 victory they’d seen’. I found that statement bizarre considering the utter garbage we’ve had to witness in recent times, but I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Maybe League One football, for Sunderland, is just first gear?
Games tend to take a familiar pattern, especially at the Stadium of Light. There’ll be teams in the division who will be able to match Sunderland if they go toe-to-toe and we probably haven’t played them yet.
Alternatively, I think there’s probably only two ways to play against us. We’ve seen teams like Charlton, Fleetwood and Oxford come flying out of the traps at us. These teams can’t sustain that for longer than 25 minutes, however.
On the other hand, you can try and do what Rochdale and Scunthorpe did. They tried to keep us at arms length, probably in the hope they could nick a goal late in the game if they managed to stop us from getting into our stride.
In the first scenario, those teams that came at us managed to get themselves into the lead. One day a team will come to the SoL and go at us, and won’t score. I honestly believe one of those teams will get pulverised. We’ve got so much individual quality that a tired team will be picked off comfortably by this group of players.
As we’ve seen in the Scunthorpe and Rochdale performances, all it takes is a little extra time and space for one of our attacking players and we punish teams. Once we get one, they buckle.
Those who listen to the podcast will recall that Chris Maguire has been heavily discussed on recent episodes. Where his quality has been praised, we’ve also criticised him for appearing to play for himself.
His Oxford performance illustrated this streak in his game. However, on Saturday, he was absolutely outstanding. His response to being dropped is in stark contrast to the attitudes of some players we’ve witnessed in red and white recently.
I know we’ve got Coventry to come first, but the Peterborough game should be a terrific occasion under the lights and will be the first true test of this squad and the manager. Come out of that game with a positive result and me might be hearing a little less from the minority of naysayers.