Karl - Papy In!
Papy has had a difficult start to his career at Sunderland. While at times he has looked solid and fully capable of playing alongside Lamine Kone at the heart of the defence, his recent brainfarts against Everton and Spurs have had disastrous consequences. And no matter how well a player may have played, that will all be forgotten if they make the type of errors that he has.
That being said, I think that we should persist with him for the next few games, at least.
In Crystal Palace, West Brom, and Stoke, we find ourselves coming up against teams of a more physical nature. Christian Benteke, Salomon Rondon, and Wilfried Bony all combine pace and power, and while John O’Shea and Jason Denayer are waiting in the wings, I feel that Djilobodji possesses the best physical attributes to deal with them. At 6 foot 4, Djilobodji seems the best option to deal with the inevitable barrage of crosses into the box.
The next three games also present us with the best opportunity to pick up some much needed points, and I’d expect David Moyes to be more adventurous in his approach to these games., While it’s hard to defend Papy’s basic errors, sitting so deep and inviting so much pressure onto our defence has done them no favours. The manager has even admitted this himself, telling the Sunderland Echo: "If you are a defender and you are under that level of pressure there is a chance you are going to make mistakes. We have to try to take that level of pressure away from the defenders, so they are not getting completely bombarded."
Patrick van Aanholt spoke of communication issues in the backline earlier this month, and looking at the Everton game in particular, you’d probably have to agree with him. But we need to build partnerships at the back and develop the communication between defenders, and sticking with Papy will surely help with this. One of the main factors in our improvement late last season was the partnership developed by Kone and Younes Kaboul. We need to let Kone and Papy try to develop their own. With John O’Shea nearing the end of his career and Jason Denayer here for just a year, they realistically represent short-term options. Kone and Djilobodji are heading into the prime of their careers and could be mainstays in defence for years to come. We need to stick with them.
Papy was a big financial investment from Moyes, and the manager clearly has faith in him, having backed him to improve. He arrived at a struggling team with only one minute of English football under his belt. If he has not shown any improvements in the next three games, then drop him, by all means. But for now, I’m in the ‘Papy in’ camp.
Rory - Papy Out!
The only real reason I'd leave Papy in the side is if I knew we were going to get beat anyway and I just wanted to watch some slapstick. The kind of slapstick where a player kicks the ball off himself, is lucky to only concede a corner and then laughs at himself. I do quite like him for that kind of thing already, to be fair. Given that we support Sunderland and always have crap players in our side, I'd prefer them to hilarious with it.
The harsh reality is though, we can't afford to lose to Crystal Palace on Saturday. A draw would at least be something but we really need a win here. Against a team that looked so devastating going forward against Stoke last Sunday, it's crucial that we tighten things up at the back and reintroduce some organisation. Step forward the hero Sunderland needs and probably deserves - John O'Shea.
That's right, at the time in his career when John O'Shea should be finding where he can get the best price for bulk orders of Werther's Originals, we still need him in our defence. People use it as a criticism against JOS that we still need to rely on him but I don't buy into that. It's not his fault we keep getting ourselves into terrible situations. If anything, O'Shea has been one of the players who have been vital in keeping us afloat due to his experience and leadership. Show me a game where John O'Shea has let us down and you can probably find another five where he's came up big for us.
One valid flaw for the club captain is a lack of pace but when does O'Shea ever let himself get into the position where he's in a footrace against a rapid player? Through good reading of the game and intelligence, he doesn't allow this happen. Even if you're worried about that happening on Saturday, that's why we have Lamine Kone in the team, who will more than compensate for any perceived flaw that O'Shea has. You might bemoan his passing as well but what outlet did Djilobodji offer us against Spurs?
An argument I keep hearing for Djilobodji is that "well Younes Kaboul didn't start very strongly and look how well he did!" Yes, but we knew already that Kaboul could cut it in the Premier League. He'd been captain of Tottenham for gods sake, not played three minutes in the league cup and had a half decent loan spell at Werder Bremen. To compare the two players is ludicrous.
Sunderland need leaders back in the team. There's little to no organisation at the back. Papy Djilobodji is offering neither of those things and needs taking out of the firing line. It's not the long term solution but, to attempt get us back on track, it's time to reintroduce John O'Shea to the defence.
Who do you agree with? Vote below!