Cattermole’s worst day?
Would I be going too far in saying that yesterday’s showing from Lee Cattermole - one that ultimately ended when he was sent off after picking up two stupid yellow cards in quick succession - was perhaps his worst ever since arriving at Sunderland many years ago?
If ever a performance defined just how far a man who was once a crowd favourite has fallen, it was this one.
It was easier to defend Cattermole’s on-field stupidity when he was younger, but now there just is no excusing him. Getting yourself booked twice in the space of a matter of minutes is simply not good enough, a level of ridiculousness you just don’t expect to see from a player that has been playing professional football for eleven years.
The fact he was sent off probably masks over just how poor he had been up until that point in the game.
I felt relatively safe in the knowledge that despite relegation, we were taking with us a player in Cattermole that should thrive at this level. Fact is, though, is that he’s just not good enough any more.
Chris Coleman attempted to take the pressure of his player after the game and told the media that he sympathised with the midfielder for what he felt might have been harsh bookings, but behind the scenes I imagine a whole different conversation about Cattermole’s immediate future is being had.
I think that Cattermole needs to have a long, hard think about where he goes from here. He either really knuckles down and sorts himself out, or he asks to leave and we find him another club.
In all honesty, I deep-down hope that we go down the latter route. For Coleman to succeed here he needs to be able to field a team of players that he can count upon, and being ‘experienced’ and ‘long-serving’ just isn’t enough any more. We need energy, hunger and desire - and if Cattermole cannot provide us with that then it should be time that we go our separate ways.
Fantastic team effort
Now, on to the positives - what a team effort we gave in yesterday’s game!
Bar the idiotic Cattermole, every player to a man gave it their best effort as we deservedly picked up a point and a clean sheet against a free-scoring Wolves side that are notoriously difficult to play against, particularly at home.
We worked hard off the ball to ensure that gaps didn’t open up for Wolves to exploit, and even despite going down to ten men we never looked like conceding.
And it can’t go unnoticed that all of this was done despite the fact half of our squad sat the game out through injuries and suspensions. That’s a damn sight better than previous performances under Simon Grayson, when we leaked goals for fun and struggled to make ourselves hard to beat with a stronger pool of players at our disposal.
Credit has to go to Chris Coleman for being able to galvanise and organise the players that he had at his disposal yesterday. The decision to go five at the back and operate with the ‘box midfield’ system that he so dearly loved when Wales manager paid off.
Though it seems a bit small-time to be sat celebrating a point like it was a win, I can’t help but feel proud of the players that went out there and give it their all against a side nobody expected us to get anything off.
Youngsters stand tall
Who knew that the youthful enthusiasm that comes with being given first team opportunities would eventually pay off, eh?
Lynden Gooch must be frustrated at the lack of playing time he’s had this season. Having performed fairly well when given brief outings earlier in the campaign, he wasn’t really given a fair crack of the whip and now that injuries have afforded him an opportunity, he most certainly took it.
George Honeyman was also very good, and alongside Gooch the pair pressed and harried Wolves all over the pitch, helping to take some of the workload off Darron Gibson behind them.
Tyias Browning was our best defender and he grew into the game as it wore on. I’ve been impressed with Tyias for most of this season and it now appears that we’ve finally stumbled upon a system that manages to get the best out of he and the other defenders, which is pleasing.
Elliot Embleton making his debut was a great moment also, and I hope that we get to see more of him as the season wears on. There’s a reason this lad is a regular starter for the England U19s side and now its about developing him and allowing him to play football at a level that constantly pushes him.
They should all be very proud of themselves after yesterday’s game.
Robbin Ruiter picked up his second clean sheet of the season in a game that nobody expected us to come out of unscathed, and it was in large part down to his own performance.
One particular highlight was of course his fantastic save near the end of the game from a Helder Costa strike but I just felt throughout the ninety minutes he did a great job of wasting time and holding up play, which was a crucial part of the execution of our clear and obvious game plan - to frustrate the opposition.
Other than a couple of moments early on where he probably should have came off his line quicker, Ruiter’s performance was pretty flawless - and that’s not something that we’ve been able to say much so far this season!