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Sunderland's Attacking Options Suddenly Looking Good

I'm not strictly sure how it has happened, but I've suddenly been overcome with a surprising realisation - Sunderland's attack isn't totally rubbish.

David Ramos/Getty Images

If recent team selections are anything to go by, it seems clear that Sam Allardyce is intent on Sunderland playing a front two, at least for the time being.

That's absolutely fine with me.

Despite pretty much everything else going wrong so far this season, for once Sunderland have two in-form strikers who are scoring goals in Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher. Furthermore, they actually seem to have a bit of an understanding with each other too.

It's just common sense, therefore, to start with them as a pair and then build a system around them.

The 5-3-2 we have seen looks a very good fit there. Sunderland have three big centre backs who defend their own ground well in Younes Kaboul, John O'Shea, and Sebastian Coates. Their problem has always been them having a little too much ground to cover individually, which is something this system reduces considerably.

Elsewhere, switching to wing-backs certainly brings Patrick van Aanholt back into play. He has been a disaster of late defensively, but the attacking upside to his presence in the team rarely goes unseen.

I think, ideally, we'd all still love to see a striker signed in January, especially to compete with Fletcher, but suddenly Sunderland's attacking options even beneath the presumed top pairing of Fletcher and Defoe look fairly decent as soon as a one becomes a two.

Fabio Borini

The Italian hasn't really got going since returning to Sunderland due to injuries, but you'd imagine he'd be happier than most if it's going to be a front two going forward. He has been itching to prove himself down the centre in England ever since impressing in the position in Serie A for Roma.

You could see him vying with Defoe for a spot alongside a bit of a target man type.

Ola Toivonen/Danny Graham

Granted, neither of these are great. You wouldn't really want either leading the line on their own, but as an alternative to Fletcher they can offer something as big lumps who gather the ball and create space and opportunities for others.

Jeremain Lens

Striker is a role Lens sometimes played for PSV and if opportunities on the wings are going to be limited now it's one he may be forced to reprise at Sunderland. It may not actually be a bad thing.

He'd have less defensive responsibility - something he's not really shown much appetite for - and could offer something a little unpredictable when needed too, perhaps in the same kind of a way Stephane Sessegnon did back in the day.

You could even see him used in an advanced midfield position behind a front to as well.

Duncan Watmore

Like Lens, Watmore is known more as a winger, but he has been used as a striker before in the first time this season and always looked a threat.

Behind Defoe, there probably isn't anyone in the squad better at making runs in behind a defence and he certainly has the pace to stretch a game