I don’t usually feel angry after defeats. I’m so used to seeing Sunderland lose now that when the inevitable happens, I just tend to feel a bit downbeat for a couple of hours.
Saturday’s game left me feeling furious though and its given me fresh fears about David Moyes’ Sunderland.
Where does the team go from here? A team that can’t even hold onto a 2-0 lead for more than 30 seconds. It wasn’t even a 2-0 lead we deserved but we’d got a bit of luck and were in a strong position.
A half decent side steals lucky wins and a bad one ends up drawing from a position such as that. God knows what that makes us then.
It was also evident that going into the game that this needed to be the game the Sunderland midfield’s stepped up. Given Palace’s obvious quality up front, we had to restrict the chances their forwards got but 20 shots on goal from the visitors tells you everything.
Didier Ndong may have added some energy and enthusiasm but, along with Lee Cattermole and Jan Kirchhoff, the trio looked like strangers. The only thing we can cling onto is that Cattermole and Kirchhoff are still lacking fitness but we can’t afford time after only taking one point from six games.
It’s all down to Moyes to turn this around. He may say that he can’t hold players’ hands in games but he could at least set them up with some kind of plan. That would give supporters something to cling onto if there was the beginning of an identity and it just wasn’t clicking yet.
That bought Gus Poyet time and it meant Sam Allardyce was able to ride out a difficult December. Those two actually managing to win a few of their first six didn’t go amiss either.
At the moment though, we’re neither hard to beat or particularly dangerous going forward. Our attacking play is all based around hoping Jermain Defoe gets a chance and if he doesn’t, hope someone else pulls something out of the bag. On Saturday, we had to rely on Joe Ledley, a man whose whole head screams “identity crisis” yet still has a stronger one than our team, to give us the chance to go in front.
Part of me does actually feel a bit for Moyes. It’s not his fault that we’ve had to endure this cycle so many times before and that’s where most of our frustration is coming from. At the same time though, he inherited a much better squad than our last few managers but poor recruitment has dismantled it entirely, meaning the momentum of last season is so far gone it feels like it never even existed.
It’s up to the manager to bring that good feeling back and throwing his players under the bus in press conferences isn’t going to do that. What kind of hope does that gives fans, when they hear their manager constantly being so defeatist and looking so broken already?
Next up is a West Brom side who, despite not being great, will be organised and know what their gameplan is. Oh how I wish for such dizzy heights.