When it comes to Premier League dogfights, Sam Allardyce is usually a man you want fighting in your corner.
The 61-year-old has never been relegated from the top flight, in which he has managed for more than 11 years after spells at Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United.
Back in October Sunderland turned to Allardyce after failing to register a single win in their first eight league games and taking just three points from a possible 24.
With the end of the season now in sight, the Black Cats are once again involved in another battle to beat the drop to the Championship and the last couple of weeks will determine their
But have Sunderland improved under Allardyce and how does his record compare to previous managers who have sat in the dugout at the Stadium Of Light?
Here is what the stats revealed before the draw with Arsenal:
Since his appointment on October 7, Allardyce has won seven, drawn six and lost 11 in the league, that’s a win percentage of 28 per cent and an average of 1.08 points a game.
So what of Sunderland’s previous managers?
Well after 19 matches Dick Advocaat left Wearside back in October with a win percentage of 17.6 per cent and a points average of 0.88 per match.
That was bettered by his predecessor Gus Poyet who was in charge of the Black Cats for 60 league games between 2013 and 2015.
In that time he claimed 14 wins giving the Uruguayan a win percentage of 23.3 per cent and an average of 1.05 points per game.
In the last 10 years Sunderland’s most successful manager in this area was, now Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, who averaged 1.18 points per game and recorded a win percentage of 29 per cent.
That is marginally better than Steve Bruce’s record, after he departed with a win percentage of 28 per cent and 1.15 points per game on average.
It’s also significantly better than the man who replaced O’Neill in 2013, the controversial Paolo Di Canio, who was dismissed after 12 league games with a win percentage of 17 per cent after the Italian accumulated just 0.75 points per game.
What about style of play, the buzz around the ground and the quality of football? You should get a decent indication of those factors by the number of goals scored.
Under Allardyce, Sunderland have found the net 31 times which means they have averaged just over a goal a game at 1.24.
That is significantly better than Advocaat whose team averaged 0.94 goals a game, Poyet (0.98) and Di Canio (0.92).
O’Neill’s side averaged over a goal a game at 1.13, while under Bruce Sunderland scored 108 goals in 89 games between 2009 and 2011, giving him a score of 1.21.
After 25 games Sunderland have conceded 39 goals under Allardyce, meaning that on average they have leaked a goal every 57.7 minutes.
Again that is better than Advocaat - who watched his side concede every 54.5 minutes on average - and Di Canio who saw his backline breached every 49.2 minutes.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was O’Neill who marshalled the best defensive line during his 55 league games on Wearside, as his side only conceded a goal every 68.7 minutes.
That was six minutes better than Bruce at 62.9 minutes and more than eight better than Poyet at 60.1.
Possession and pass completion:
So, are there any glaring alterations that Allardyce has made since his appointment?
Well they’re not as obvious as you may think.
In Sunderland’s first eight games when Advocaat was manager, the Black Cats averaged a total of 47 per cent possession with a pass completion rate of 74 per cent.
Under Allardyce, the stats are almost identical, and in his 25 games the team have obtained 46 per cent possession and recorded a pass completion rate of 74 per cent.
As stated earlier, Sunderland’s goals tally has improved since Allardyce arrived, yet their shot accuracy has decreased from 44 per cent to 41 per cent since his appointment.
However, as is so often is the case in football, it’s the small margins which really count and Sunderland are creating more chances in front of goal under their current manager than they were at the start of the season.
With Allardyce at the helm, Sunderland have created an average of 8.96 chances per game.
That is a noticeable improvement compared to the Black Cats’ first eight games of the season where they created an average of 7.25 chances per match.
It can be a decisive difference when you have a goal scorer like Jermain Defoe leading your attack.
Rightly or wrongly, some have described Allardyce’s philosophy as long ball and untidy and the stats do state that Sunderland’s average pass length has increased from 19 metres to 21 metres since Allardyce was appointed - to put that in perspective the length of a football pitch is around 90 metres.
Even so, when you’re scrapping for your lives and battling to beat the drop, results become the primary purpose.
In Allardyce, Sunderland now have a man who has recorded a better points return than their previous three managers and has a knack for avoiding relegation.
Whether it’s enough to complete another 'Wearside Houdini Act' remains to be seen.
But the stats do suggest that Sunderland are better off with Sam Allardyce in their corner and there are few men you’d want more in the current state of affairs.