Gus Poyet has been pretty clear that, as of right now, Jordi Gomez has edged ahead of Jack Rodwell in the Sunderland midfield pecking order.
It's may be seen as slightly surprising, given that Rodwell cost a reported £10million from the Premier League champions whilst Gomez arrived on a free transfer from the Championship, but that's where we seem to be and I doubt many people will argue that a meritocracy is the way to pick a football team.
However, the real question is should Gomez be ahead of the former Manchester City man. Does his performances warrant it?
Using the Squawka comparison matrix, we crunched the numbers.
Looking at this, you'd struggle to make a case for Rodwell. Gomez has outshone him in almost every category, with the only exception being their goals contribution, which is dead level at one a piece.
Where Gomez is really dominating is in the amount of chances he is creating. In fact, Gomez is creating a chance for a team-mate for every 48 minutes he spends on the pitch compared to 278 minutes for Rodwell. Granted, the Spaniard's set-piece involvement swells those figures, though they also don't take into account the secondary assists, like his pass to Patrick van Aanholt which opened up the West Bromwich Albion defence for Seb Larsson to score on the opening day.
This is an area where you'd expect Rodwell to have the upper hand, but he is far from dominating. The England hopeful just about edges it, but much of the margin can be put down to the greater amount of minutes he has enjoyed.
Where Gomez is really battering Rodwell here is in the interceptions department, which likely hints at a far greater appreciation of what Gus Poyet is trying to do tactically. You'd probably accept that given his background, but it's interesting nonetheless and underlines that Gomez is really more of a thinker than a battler on the pitch.
You'd also probably say that the bulk of the defensive duties lie with the other two midfield positions, customarily filled by Seb Larsson and Lee Cattermole, so for the specific role Rodwell and Gomez appear to be fighting over right now, a far greater emphasis is placed upon creating than battling.
Interestingly, and perhaps quite damningly, Sunderland have failed to win a game yet in which Jack Rodwell has started. Jordi Gomez, on the other hand, has started all three games that Sunderland have won this season (Birmingham City, Stoke City, and Crystal Palace), scoring in two of those and bagging an assist in the other.
In the four Premier League games Gomez has started, Sunderland have secured seven points, compared to five points in the seven games Rodwell has started.
Let's not beat around the bush - Yes, Poyet has it bang on the money. Rodwell hasn't done anywhere near enough and Gomez has been producing more than anyone probably expected.