clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Quick Kicks: Rodwell 'Tackle' was needed; Drop Borini? Kone & Ndong 'impactful'; Does Oviedo play v Palace?

Quick Kicks is here, and we're mulling over the biggest talking points coming out of last night's game with Spurs. The big one - does Fabio Borini need a prolonged spell out of the team, regardless of the fact we lack many other strikers in our squad?

Sunderland v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Rodwell 'Tackle' Was Needed

I'm not usually one for advocating unnecessary violence, but I love nothing more than seeing a Sunderland player go straight through a member of the opposition team with complete reckless intent - a proper old-fashioned, meaty challenge that gets you off your seat and has you punching the air, baying for blood.

Jack Rodwell's slightly late 'tackle' (if you can call it that) on Moussa Dembele in the first half looked absolutely horrific - yet I loved it. It not only stopped an almost certain counter attack but it lifted the crowd inside the Stadium of Light and gave the players that little extra pep in their step as they looked to see out the remainder of the opening forty-five minutes.

Sunderland need to develop a nasty streak if we are going to stave off relegation again this season because we've been powder-puff for the most-part - you only have to look at how many average teams have embarrassingly breezed past us this season for an example of how soft we are at our core most of the time.

I'm not saying that we should run around intentionally hurting people - we just need to a little more shithousery, especially in the absence of Lee Cattermole.

The Impactful Returns of Kone and Ndong

We might not have really added too much in the January transfer window but the returns of both Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong from the African Cup of Nations could not have came at a better time.

Both players were hugely influential last night against Tottenham and for all of their flaws, it's clear that we are a far worse side without them in our team.

Ndong was a nuisance throughout. His ball retention and energy gave us so much more in the middle of the park than we have had since he jetted off to take part in the Cup of Nations, and he put in another sterling performance to back up the last one that he gave when we drew with Liverpool at the start of January. If we can somehow get Darren Gibson fit, his presence and ability to run games will compliment the industry and bustle of the Gabon international perfectly.

Not losing Lamine Kone in the transfer window almost feels a positive piece of business in itself. We've long established that our defence cannot cope without him and John O'Shea is clearly far more comfortable with Kone by his side than he is when Papy Djilobodji is there. He might not be my most favourite person in football - his behaviour in the summer is still fresh in the mind - but I can at least acknowledge that we are infinitely better as a defensive unit with Lamine Kone playing every week in our team.

Borini Poor Again

If David Moyes' reason for not selecting Wahbi Khazri before he headed off to the African Cup of Nations with Tunisia was that he costs us possession too much, then Fabio Borini must be on borrowed time with regards to his place in the team - he seems to waste the ball every time that he has it these days.

I get that we were unable to buy a striker in the January window, but I hope that it doesn't mean that Fabio Borini will be starting every week irrespective of his performances. George Honeyman was dropped from the side last night undeservedly and when we play down at Crystal Palace at the weekend I hope that both he and Lynden Gooch are at the forefront of David Moyes' mind when selecting who should play out wide.

Borini is in a real bad spell of form and he needs to recapture his hunger for playing again, I think. He doesn't look like he's enjoying his football and perhaps a spell out of the side might do him some good - it certainly gave him the rocket that he needed towards the end of last season when he was dropped by Sam Allardyce, only to come back in to the side to score us a late equaliser against Crystal Palace.

We need a similar response from Fabio again this time around if he is to be of any use between now and May - right now he seems like a waste of a place in the team.

Despite Manquillo Performance, Oviedo Must Come In

Javier Manquillo did alright at left wing back, didn't he? I mean, it wasn't a particularly startling performance from the Spaniard, but he at least helped to keep us solid defensively.

But, that said, I felt that we lacked real pace going forward, and sadly he's just not able to offer us that.

Bryan Oviedo has started six games in the Premier League for Everton already this season and is fit enough to start at the weekend when we travel down to London to take on Crystal Palace. I quite liked the 5-3-2 system that we used last night but it could really benefit from having someone that shows good attacking intent and pace down the left hand side, and Oviedo would certainly make that difference for us.

So whilst I risk contradicting my earlier statement about George Honeyman undeservedly losing his place, I feel Oviedo must come straight in to the team that will play at Selhurst Park this weekend.

Sorry, Javi.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report