Playing 15 at the back wouldn’t make a difference – Sunderland must go on attack QPR

Chris Coleman.
Chris Coleman.
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In their current situation a draw for Sunderland away from home, anywhere, is a decent result.

Their away form is not great. They sit fifth from bottom of the Championship “away” league.

But not great and fifth bottom are the stuff of dreams compared to “home” league or, more to the point, the real league.  

And I doubt if the performance against Aston Villa last night has radically altered overall opinion either way.

Sunderland are indifferent at best on the road – and generally pitiful at home.

But surely circumstances dictate that home and away games should be treated the same. As I said, an away draw is okay. But playing for a draw, home or away, is not.

Two weeks ago we said: “If you can’t defend – attack.”

Scant evidence has been provided since then that Sunderland are about to rival Luxdon as the region’s clean sheet specialists.

Five at the back, plus at least one defensive midfielder, might be a tempting selection; especially away from the Stadium of Light.

But it should be resisted.

Do you agree? Four defenders or five?

Let’s face it, in most games this season we’ve been left to wonder if playing 15 at the back would have made any difference, because whatever the formation, Sunderland will usually concede at least one damn silly goal in any given fixture.

So I respectfully suggest that at Queen’s Park Rangers on Saturday, they make plans to score a minimum of two, such is the unlikelihood of a clean sheet.

Sacrificing (if that’s even the right word) one of five defenders at Loftus Road makes sense; especially if it accommodates another attacking player.

QPR have now conceded almost as many times at home as Sunderland this season.

Only 10 games remain and we are all painfully familiar with the league table. So what the hell: go for it.

As the state-of-the-art scoreboard at the back of the Roker End used to say: “Attack! Attack! John McPhail drives a Mazda. Attack!”

You may have noticed a definite nip in the air over the last week or so.

The television news gave us constant reminders that snow had fallen; which was useful for anyone lacking the ability to open the curtains as they might not otherwise have realised.

We might assume that the end of February means the worst of the weather has passed.

But not a bit of it.

For those forced to sleep rough, this presents a potentially extremely dangerous situation.

We therefore must compliment Sunderland AFC for opening their doors to the homeless during the cold snap.

Beds, heat, food and drink were available over the weekend.

The usual simpletons have made pitiful attempts to wring “humour” out of this.

Although I only have myself to blame for looking at comments on the internet from the mentally negligible.

The merely cynical have suggested it was only a public relations exercise.

But imagine the misfortune of being outside with the temperature at minus five, looking for somewhere to kip that wasn’t also an improvised lavatory for drunks.

Having been offered makeshift but clean, warm digs in a football stadium, you would not then think: “Huh! It’s only PR.”

It was more than a gesture by the club, because such initiatives save lives.

But feel free to make inane, unfunny jokes.

SAFC have done (possibly literally) a thousand things wrong in recent years.

This column has regularly joined in with the criticism.

So it is only fair to offer praise when merited. Well done, Sunderland AFC.