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The 2016/2017 Half-Term Ratings Report - Defenders & Attackers

Having reached the half-way mark in the current Premier League campaign, it's time to give out our reports to the Sunderland players. Today, we score the defenders and attackers that have played their part so far this season.

Swansea City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Defenders

Papy Djilobodji: C

Papy Djilobodji has recently, to the surprise of many, completely changed the perception of his abilities amongst the Sunderland supporters having started the season in a rather horrific, erratic fashion.

Billy Jones: C

Much like Papy Djilobodji, not many could have foreseen just how important Billy Jones has become to David Moyes since returning to the side in October. Whether he can continue the level of form that he showed whilst playing behind Duncan Watmore is anyone's guess.

Donald Love: D +

Having started the season fairly well away at Manchester City, Donald Love became a joke figure to the Sunderland supporters and was rightly removed from the limelight in the early stages of the season so that he could adjust and take time to settle. Against Chelsea and Watford he has looked much more improved - here's hoping that he can keep it up.

Javier Manquillo: D -

Put bluntly, he's been a disappointment - but, I won't write him off completely just yet. This season should have taught us not to write off new players until they have had time to bed in properly.

John O'Shea: C

I can't really think of any game this season where O'Shea has played particularly badly. He's been used sparingly by David Moyes, mainly to cover for injuries and to steady the ship when we are lacking in defensive cover midway through games, but he's been used well and effectively.

Lamine Kone: C

Only towards the back end of 2016 have we began to see some resemblance of the Lamine Kone that we saw play so well last season, but it cannot mask over the way that he and his agents treated the club, the manager and supporters throughout the summer transfer window.

He's been workshy at best for much of the season and has played out of necessity but he seems to be finding his feet and has had a decent December - whether he's still a Sunderland player one month from now is up in the air.

Patrick Van Aanholt: B

He struggled massively in the early stages of the season for form and did not look anywhere near good enough defensively but since the introduction of Victor Anichebe to the left hand side of our team we have seen a much improved Patrick Van Aanholt, one capable of winning us points.

He's always involved in our best attacking play and is one of only three players that have actually scored in the league this season, notching on three separate occasions.


Forwards

Duncan Watmore: C+

Sunderland have been quite fortunate that the timing of Watmore's injury coincided with the return of Fabio Borini, because very quietly the former Manchester United youth player has become a vital cog in Sunderland's team, one that is not easily replaced.

His final product is often lacking and he doesn't really contribute enough in front of goal but every team needs a Duncan Watmore in it - he'll be sorely missed.

Fabio Borini: C -

Again, it's difficult to judge Fabio too harshly because he's spent large chunks of this season injured, but he's done alright - against Manchester City he was workmanlike and tenacious, whilst against Southampton he was arguably our best player before picking up the groin problem which has kept him out right up until the middle of December.

With the sharing of goals appearing to be a slight issue for Sunderland, it will be good to get Fabio back playing regularly again - his strike against Manchester United was a thing of beauty.

Adnan Januzaj: D -

If I had done these ratings prior to the Watford game it could have been very different, but nonetheless I have to acknowledge just how thoroughly disappointing Adnan Januzaj has been since arriving on Wearside.

The most frustrating thing, for me, is that I've seen flashes of his brilliance a number of times already this season - his opening twenty minutes up against George Friend when we played Middlesbrough; his winning goal against Shrewsbury; his second half performance against Watford. He's quite clearly capable.

Victor Anichebe: A -

I think I might have marked this slightly differently than I probably should have on the basis that I was expecting him to be a total dud, but it's true - Victor Anichebe, when fit and firing, is truly untouchable.

He's given our attack a completely new and unique dynamic that nobody is seemingly able to defend, and he's brought out the best in players like Patrick Van Aanholt and Jermain Defoe. He appears to be driven an motivated to succeed here, and I sincerely hope that he does.

If his good form continues throughout January Martin Bain should be making it his priority to tie down Victor to a longer-term contract.

Jermain Defoe: A+

Jermain Defoe has been our star performer throughout this season and I doubt that anybody would argue otherwise.

He might be one of our oldest players but he consistently finds the back of the net, plays full games every week and also tops our assists chart too.

He's a fine footballer and I cannot have any complaints about his showings so far this season - he's truly one of a kind and we need to savor and enjoy him whilst we have the chance to do so.