The stats behind Alex Pritchard's impressive performance in Sunderland's thrilling draw at Wycombe

While Sunderland striker Ross Stewart deservingly received most of the plaudits following Saturday’s thrilling 3-3 draw at Wycombe, the quality of the Black Cats’ overall attacking play made for excellent viewing at Adams Park.

Sunday, 9th January 2022, 4:00 pm

After Lee Johnson was forced to revert to a 4-2-3-1 formation, due to Bailey Wright’s injury in defence, Stewart was supported by Elliot Embleton, Alex Pritchard and Lynden Gooch in attack.

The quartet linked up effectively, especially in the second half, as Sunderland regularly cut open the Chairboys backline.

During the first few months of the season, Johnson spoke about his desire to accommodate both Pritchard and Embleton in the same team – yet injuries, suspensions and other circumstances delayed that thought.

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Alex Pritchard playing for Sunderland.

Now, though, the pair are working in unison to make Sunderland a dynamic attacking force.

Against Wycombe, Pritchard recorded more touches than any player on the pitch (58) and his influence grew in the second half.

At times in the opening 45 minutes, Wycombe’s high press and direct approach pinned Sunderland back, making it difficult for Johnson’s side to play through the lines and relieve pressure.

The times when Sunderland did beat the press, they often created significant goalscoring opportunities, which became more frequent in the second half.

Pritchard’s composure and use of the ball was hugely reliable throughout, as he finished the match with an 86.5 per cent passing accuracy – higher than any other Sunderland player.

That ball retention was particularly important when the visitors were under pressure in the opening 45 minutes, while Pritchard’s vision gave the Black Cats a constant threat when more space opened up.

The playmaker completed seven key passes which led to notable goalscoring opportunities – once again that’s more than any other player on the pitch, with Gooch recording the second highest of four.

The way that Pritchard, Embleton and Gooch interchanged positions also made it difficult for Wycombe to defend.

While Pritchard started in the No 10 role, he regularly drifted out to the flank – with Embleton moving infield – and delivered eight crosses into the box.

With Stewart often ready to pounce, Sunderland are forming some exciting attacking combinations.

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