Quick Kicks: Top Catt And A Vergini Monologue

Paul Thomas

We pick out a few Sunderland talking points from the win over Southampton.

Surprising Strength

Given that there was nine changes to the side that played against Hull, it was a pretty strong team that was put out by Gus Poyet. Technically it contained nine full internationals, although quite a few are far from current ones.

Regardless, the performance was a very strong one against a really good side who are tough to play against, even if by the way the media have been going on you'd think Southampton played the kids rather than just really resting Jose Fonte and Jay Rodriguez.

There was a lot of good movement around the midfield and the defence was rarely troubled really until the dying stages when the visitors were throwing men forward. With a fixture list pile-up on the way, it was really encouraging.

Scocco Debut

Speaking of stuff that was encouraging, we got our first look at Nacho Scocco and I thought he did okay. It's a tough ask for players from South America to hit the ground running in England, especially mid-season, but it was a decent first outing.

You could see that he was used to playing in a passing side by his movement off the front, and he wasn't anywhere near as slight in stature as we'd been led to believe. Really looking forward to seeing more of him.

An Argentinian Jonny Evans

Santiago Vergini is, of course, a little further down the line in terms of settling in at the club. This was essentially his third ninety minutes in England, and easily his most impressive.

Ricky Lambert is a strong, very traditional English centre forward, and if Vergini can cope with him as well as he did, he shouldn't have any concerns regarding the physical side of the game here.

But it was on the ball where he really impressed. I thought he was quite reminiscent of the very young Jonny Evans in the way that he strolled around apparently completely unflustered whilst in possession. You can see why he is rated so highly by Poyet.

Best Catts Performance?

If Lee Cattermole has had a better game in a Sunderland shirt than this one, then I have forgotten it. He was absolutely outstanding on the day in the deepest midfield position. It doesn't look like he has any plans to surrender his place at the club easily despite Liam Bridcutt's arrival.

He has definitely given Poyet a selection dilemma ahead of the Arsenal game. Personally, I think it's an ideal game to play both Cattermole and Bridcutt in.

Wickham A Pass Away From Rave Reviews

I have a little sympathy for Connor Wickham after this game. It was, in general, a really impressive cameo from the youngster. He held the ball well, bullied centre backs a bit, had quick feet and was really positive.

Sadly, despite all that his performance will be defined, probably quite fairly, by one absolutely rotten decision. That's how bad it was. Still, if he learned from it - and I think Poyet and Fabio Borini will probably have made sure he has - then I suppose it's no harm done.

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