Typical Sunderland. We failed to beat a team who have lost their last 11 consecutive away fixtures. This is a far too familiar story, like the story of David and Goliath, but instead of Goliath we faced his much younger, weaker brother.......and lost.
Firstly, Gus changed it around. Ricky Alvarez dropped to the bench after two impressive performances for Adam Johnson, and Danny Graham made way for Connor Wickham. The logic wasn't easy to follow. At home, against a side who were yet to win on the road, we again reverted to playing 3 in the middle of the park; Gomez, Bridcutt and Larsson.
Sunderland almost limped out of the blocks in one of the most woeful but not unsurprising opening 30 minutes i've seen all season. The lack of urgency and drive in the middle of the park is glaringly obvious for all to see. Gomez and Bridcutt are neat and tidy footballers on their day but catch them on an off day and its clear to see why both were playing in the championship not so long ago.
Despite this appalling start to the match we could have very easily gone in at half time all square. Wickham missed a golden opportunity at the back post and Defoe uncharacteristically missed a chance with which he really should have done better. To give QPR credit, Leroy Fer was a thorn in our side all evening, Zamora took his chance expertly and Rob Green replicated the form which once had him picked as England number one.
Second Half, Gomez was withdrawn and Alvarez sent on. It was the change I think everyone was calling for. We showed much more urgency and commitment in the second period, forcing Rob Green to pull off a number of good saves, but it was not to be. QPR wanted it more - and that is not god enough.
Gus has again taken to criticising the supporters after a poor performance. On the second half Poyet said:
I don't know if it's football - I'm sorry about that - I don't define that as football. I define that as a desperate team running about just trying to be nice with the fans.
Now, Gus may have a point here, but our frustration stems from the fact we have now have won only two of our last 14 Premier League matches at home and scored just 6 in our last 9.
The shortcomings are fairly clear, and have been now for many seasons - central midfield.
Losing Lee Cattermole does not help as he brings the drive, urgency and tenacity that that Sunderland team lacked last night. But, the fact we still do not posses a midfielder that can pick ‘the killer pass' after so many consecutive seasons in the league is baffling.
Poyet spent £10m on Jack Rodwell in the summer, and like many of his signings, has had precious little impact. Jack was billed as a box to box midfielder and he simply isn't. We now have 3 players who are suited to a deeper role in midfield, but no one who can drive play forward. It is The Uruguayan's biggest recruitment shortcoming and very well may be the reason for his downfall here.
Poyet stated last night that the game was: "Typical us. When we are in a good situation, we always make a step back, so it's something we need to correct because it is happening too many times."
I completely agree, we need to correct it, but lose against Bradford and WBA and there is only one way we can, and it's not a way that Poyet is likely to like.