Wise Men Say: Now is the time for Sunderland to break losing habit

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It’s been much better for Sunderland in recent weeks.

A decent performance against Swansea and Aston Villa, followed by a very decent one against Tottenham, has given supporters a little more belief. This weekend however, we must break a nasty habit.

We can’t afford to be undone once more by a team that’s only just set foot in the Premier League.

Other clubs in our position look to newly promoted clubs for the bulk of their points. Unfortunately, Sunderland just aren’t very good at getting them.

Our record against newly promoted sides in recent years is particularly poor.

You don’t have to cast your mind back that far to recall defeats to Burnley, Blackpool, Hull and most recently Norwich.

They came to the Stadium of Light and were fearless, winning the game comfortably and professionally.

It was the second game of the season and we know the team wasn’t at the peak of their powers, but a team that’s barely strengthened since they were in the Championship shouldn’t beat you so handsomely.

There were a lot of positives to take from the Spurs game. The front four looked dynamic and aggressive, Yann M’Vila was outstanding in the middle once more.

The defence looked more solid, with Younes Kaboul imperious in the middle. Even the full-backs looked more comfortable.

Can we take a little bit of momentum and confidence to Bournemouth tomrrow? I hope so.

We can’t afford to be undone once more by a team that’s only just set foot in the Premier League.

On paper we are far, far superior, but how many times have we said that before?

It would be nice to see us dominate some spells of the game. We don’t do this often enough, if at all.

We may play on the break and have some good patterns of play, but I want to see more thrust, a killer instinct.

When have the ball in their half, commit them. Make them uncomfortable. Then when the chances come, be clinical.

Now everything has settled down a bit, this is the first chance to see this new look Dick Advocaat side against a team we’d firmly believe are beatable.

If a positive result doesn’t come we could well be back to square one. It’ll be difficult to get fans back up again. Winless in six, including games against two newly promoted sides, just isn’t acceptable.

An interesting side note to last week’s game was the subs bench. Seb Larsson, Lee Cattermole and Jack Rodwell were all left out of the starting eleven. This was essentially last season’s first choice midfield.

We’ve all been desperate for quality in this squad and that bench suggests we might just have a little bit.

Ola Toivonen fills a role at the top of the midfield that nobody else can, he’s the kind of player we’ve needed for a long while. It was a surprise to see Jordi Gomez come straight back in, but he looked quite nice in there with M’Vila.

At Bournemouth, I would be tempted to bring Rodwell back in for Gomez.

It would be good to see Jack step up, after a decent start to the season, and deliver.

H The Wise Men Say podcast is available every Monday, with SAFC debate from a variety of guests and post-match reaction. You can stream it direct from wisemensay.co.uk or subscribe to it on iTunes.