West Brom v Sunderland: Defensive improvements, Kaboul’s distribution under spotlight, Allardyce outclasses Pulis

Sam Allardyce's first game in charge ends in defeat
Sam Allardyce's first game in charge ends in defeat
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Sunderland suffered their sixth Premier League defeat of the season against West Brom, a controversial Saido Berahino goal the difference.

But what will Sam Allardyce have learned about his squad following his first game in charge?

Saido Berahino scored the winning goal

Saido Berahino scored the winning goal

Defensive improvements:

Allardyce only had two days working with his full squad on the training ground due to yet another international break.

Yet Sunderland looked a lot more solid and organised than in recent games.

Was it Big Sam’s doing? Or were the players simply reacting to their latest new manager?

Either way, for the opening 45 minutes especially, they nullified what little threat West Brom posed.

Cattermole played as if he has a point to prove:

Another positive was the performance of Lee Cattermole in central midfield.

He never stopped running and was controlled in his tackling.

Cattermole was even deployed a little further up the pitch at the start of the second half.

Expect to see a lot of Cattermole under Allardyce.

DeAndre Yedlin impressed again:

A huge headache during Dick Advocaat’s time in charge was the full-backs, with Patrick van Aanholt struggling badly down the left.

The signing of Spurs loanee DeAndre Yedlin has alleviated those concerns though.

He has impressed with his work rate, defensive nous and speed and purpose going forward.

His arrival in the side also resulted in Billy Jones being switched to left-back and he again impressed at West Brom.

Kaboul needs to work on his distribution:

Kaboul was up against Baggies striker Salomon Rondon and he dealt with him well, winning his headers.

But one thing he needs to work on fast is his distribution. It was very poor, to say the least.

Too many times he’d win possession and then lose it again through a poor pass or punt upfield.

And finally, Big Sam outshone Tony Pulis, in the fashion stakes:

The new Sunderland boss wore his usual match-day attire, a suit and smart overcoat, while Pulis went for the old tried and tested ‘wear everything in the club shop’ approach.

Full club tracksuit, cap and beaming white trainers.

Classic Pulis.