Talking Tactics: Sunderland's Attack


Paolo Di Canio. Former West Ham, Milan and Lazio striker. Scored one of the most iconic goals in Premier League history. Slated by the press for his, not completely confirmed mind, fascist views. But one thing the press cannot slate the 'Italian Stallion' for, are his ambitions and views for how Sunderland's attack will pan out next season. Something which, as a Sunderland fan, excites me.

Obviously it may take more than just one transfer window for his ideal set up to be complete but early signs are good. Di Canio said in an interview that he wanted Sunderland to, "Play like Bayern Munich - strong wingers cutting inside". With Adam Johnson, who looks like he is finally finding his feet at Sunderland with great performances since Di Canio joined the Black Cats, fits this bill as the skilful right winger does like to cut inside onto his stronger foot, something we saw in Sunderland's 3-0 victory over Newcastle.

The way it looks like at the moment is that the Wearside team will set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Adam Johnson on the right wing, Stephane Sessegnon to be the supporting role to none other than 12 million pound poacher, Steven Fletcher. This set up sounds great with the three attacking players who, all together bagged 23 goals for Sunderland last season. But that begs the question, who will fit in at left midfield?

One possibility, but it is still very early days is, Italian winger, Emmanuelle Giaccherini. The 5 foot 6 winger played recently for Italy, scoring versus Brazil in the confederations cup. The 28 year old was only on a short term contract according to many sources so Sunderland may get his services for cheap, if not for free. Emmanuelle is a pacy winger, who can play left right or centre, and also has a great shot with his right foot and can also use his left, making him the ideal player for the left midfield position at Sunderland.

Three options in one here - Youngsters. Three youngsters stand out when discussing this left midfield position. New signing David Moberg Karllson, almost completed signing, Charias Mavrias and England under 21 star Connor Wickham. Straight off the bat, obviously Connor Wickham is 6 foot 3 and does not scream winger potential but while at Ipswich he did play a number of games at left wing and impressed. For a big lad, he is quite pacy and when given the opportunity with his stronger foot, right, he can strike the ball well, so giving Connor a chance at left midfield may not be that ludicrous of an idea. I am not going to lie and say I have an in depth knowledge of the Allsvenskan, which leads to my lack of knowledge of new signing David Moberg Karllson, but from what I have seen and heard, he looks like a very promising youngster. He looks fast, skilful and has a powerful right foot shot, something which is becoming a common criteria for left midfielders at Sunderland. He is mainly a striker or a supporting striker role but I imagine the young Swede would be willing to adapt for a crack at the whip in the first team. Last but not least, Charias Mavrias. Unlike the Allsvenskan, I do have a, limited knowledge admitted but some none the less, on the Greek league, and I have to say, 2 million looks like a real bargain for the 19 year old. The Greek winger is quick, not to skilful but he the ability to beat players with pace and obviously, a decent right footed shot.

So that is it. Four players who fit the bill for the left midfield position. Personally, I do hope we get Giaccherini but thinking about it, it does sound unlikely so I think either giving Connor Wickham a chance at left midfield, that is if he wants to, or potential signing Charias Mavrias. Oh, and I haven't forgotten about James McClean, I just think he is terrible.

As for the two other players in the attack, Stephane Sessegnon and Steven Fletcher , I really doubt their positions are in jeopardy as the Scot was our top goal scorer last season and Sessegnon, well... How can you get better than Pele and Messi mixed together?

By Chris Whitehead (@ChrisMagoo73)

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