Cattermole looks finished
I take no great pleasure from highlighting the weekly demise of the once-dependable Lee Cattermole but it’s becoming almost comical just how alarmingly bad he’s become in such a short space of time.
I have to ask: is he finished?
He certainly looks like a player struggling to get through even ninety minutes. He’s slow, easy to play against and, above all else, unable to compete physically any more.
I suggested a while ago now that Didier Ndong and Cattermole cannot play together, and I’m sure that many of you will agree. Annoyingly, the one person that doesn’t seem to see it is the manager, and he’ll continue to pick the pair for every game before wondering why we aren’t winning or able to keep a clean sheet.
You saw the influence that Jonny Williams had once he came on - he showed drive, determination, leadership and the ability to push the team ten yards further up the pitch. Why couldn’t Williams sit in alongside Ndong in the centre, particularly when we’re at home and the onus is on us to play on the front foot?
Serious questions need to be asked about Cattermole’s continued inclusion in the side. He’s become a massive weak link this season and with better players available, the excuse can no longer be about a lack of options.
Aiden McGeady - a Rose amongst many thorns
Though it certainly feels as though things cannot get any worse for Sunderland, they actually can - imagine how bad it would have been this season if we hadn’t been able to call upon Aiden McGeady?
His influence down at Norwich won us the game, and then in each of our last two matches it has been a piece of individual brilliance from the Irishman that has spared us of another lacklustre, embarrassing defeat against relatively poor opposition.
For the majority of the game he wasn’t actually all that great, but when the pressure was on him to produce he did it with ease. No other player in our squad is capable of the pure excellence that he can deliver when it’s needed.
A small part of me worries that if his form continues in the manner that it has done throughout this season, we’ll see him sold to a top-flight side desperate to add to some creativity and spark to their attack on the cheap in January. Thankfully, that’s a long way down the line just yet, and there are more important things for us to quibble about in the meantime.
Lets just be thankful that he’s here now, and that he’s ours.
Team selection & tactics cost us
In a piece I wrote on the site on Friday I spoke of the reasons for why I’d not have started the game with Duncan Watmore. I felt that in starting him he’d be burnt out come half time, and that taking him off the pitch after an hour or so meant that the period of the game when he becomes most effective will pass by without Watmore even being on the pitch.
Sadly, my premonition was proven right. Duncan ran himself into the ground in that opening forty-five minutes and was visibly fatigued when he reemerged after the break, meaning that he came off after an hour - at a time when the game was calling for a player of his abilities to take on a tired defence and help provide a creative spark.
If I can see that, why can’t the manager?
It wasn’t only that, though. The decision to select Billy Jones again at centre half was nonsensical. I’d have to look this up but it feels like he’s played just as much football this season in the centre of defence as he has at right back. Does Grayson actually believe that Jones is a capable central defender?! Surely not.
Tom Beadling must be sat wondering what he has to do to get a chance. For all that Grayson has given the likes of George Honeyman an opportunity this season, he’s purposely ignored the likes of Beadling when the situation has been crying out for a young player to come in and earn their place. Sadly, it doesn’t look as though Beadling will get his chance under Grayson - evidenced by the fact he’d rather play a very bad right back out of position instead of giving an actual central defender an opportunity to show their worth to the team.