Injuries Alleviate The Need For Fresh Faces
I've been pretty happy with what I've seen from the Sunderland players in this pre-season campaign, but my only real gripe has been the lack of new players that have taken part in the games that we've seen.
The need for new players has only been escalated through the injuries that key players have suffered over the course of our time there. If Patrick Van Aanholt isn't fit, we have to place faith in Tommy Robson. If Billy Jones isn't fit, we have to either play Josh Robson or use Sebastian Larsson out of position. If Jan Kirchhoff is injured then... blergh, it doesn't bare thinking about. If Jermain Defoe isn't fit, we have to completely re-shuffle our forward line.
The point I'm making is without those players being fit, we risk throwing players into situations that they aren't perhaps ready for yet. Though all four may well be fine come the time of the Manchester City game, it's not ideal that they are missing large chunks of our preparation due to lack of fitness.
The knocks suffered by Jan Kirchhoff and Billy Jones today might actually force the club to speed up whatever transfer dealings they are working on, or at least I hope it does. Though I'm not panicking yet, I think this week is crucial.
Moyes Should Have His Plans In Place
Though he's only been in the job for one week, David Moyes has taken in four games as Sunderland manager and should now know which players he wishes to take forward, and which positions we need to strengthen as a priority.
Any idiot can see that we are lacking in terms of depth. That said, we still need to add to what we have.
We clearly need a right back. We also need a centre half. We need a central midfielder that can sit ahead of the defensive players, and we badly need a striker. We need Yann M'Vila too.
In a week's time I'd at least like to see us pretty close to signing two or three players that can fill those positions. Bar the failed Davide Santon deal, a publicised bid for Diafra Sakho that came to nothing and the drawn-out Yann M'Vila saga we've not heard anything else transfer-wise.
Understandably David Moyes will have wanted to properly assess his players inside this first week away from the North East, but upon his return home we have give ourselves time constraints to make strengthening our squad is done properly and effectively.
Style - How Will We Play?
Well, it would appear that Sunderland - either through necessity or because we're going to be expansive - are going to persist with an attacking trio in behind the striker, and with us getting a clean slate and a fresh stab at progressing in the Premier League this makes sense.
When we were fighting with our backs to the wall and conceding goals for fun last season it was important that Sam Allardyce had us searching for clean sheets, and when we found something that worked we stuck by it. Now that we are looking ahead, it would seem from the games that we've already played that David Moyes is going to opt with a number ten in behind the forward, with two more defensive players sitting and inside forwards out wide.
From the training videos we saw earlier this week, Moyes had the full backs bombing forward to create the width - just like his full backs at Everton, Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman, used to.
It suits us, I think. Fabio Borini, Jeremain Lens and Wahbi Khazri aren't really wingers, but if they are allowed to interchange throughout a game they can all offer something in various areas of the pitch.