Team Selection: Expected, but pitiful
Yes David Moyes hasn’t spent money wisely, and yes the additions he did bring in were rather underwhelming; just how much of that is down to his own ineptitude is up for debate, but it certainly hasn’t been helped by our spectre-like owner who rarely arises from the murky shadows. Moyes took over at a club in debt to the tune of £150m+ so just what we really expected from him is still an intense talking point. Should the team be doing better? Yes. Are we still fundamentally broken? Yes.
Who do we point the finger at here?
Essentially, Saturday’s line up was the team many expected to take to the field; Moyes has very little in the way of real quality within the team, and his signings for the club seem to be as futile as turning back the hands of a clock. How much quality did we need this summer? And how much money do we have to invest? A lot and a little. I fear our time is up.
I really don’t see anyone coming into the team and making an immediate impact. Kirchhoff and Cattermole are our only reasonable hopes of yet another end of season catalyst, and unfortunately they seem to be a few weeks away from really being able to make their mark on a game.
This weekend we relied on a midfield three of Ndong, Larsson and Gibson to combat Schneiderlin, Barkley, Davies and Gueye - our trio cost close to half as much as Schneiderlin. Hefty price tags don’t define players, but they certainly tell you about the ambitions of a club.
Tom’s rating: 5/10 - Poor team, but what else do we expect? There’s so much going on with the club, how can there be any stability?
Sunderland were literally half the team Everton were on the field. We gave them over 60% of the possession, and they had double the amount of shots (20 with 8 on target). Simply put, we were no match for the home side, and while there were a couple of moments whereby we looked quite tidy on the ball, we still couldn’t muster any real threat to Everton’s goal.
The decision to switch to a line-up resembling a 4-3-3 indicated a willingness to get at the Everton defence, but in all honesty our front three were rather ineffectual. Part of this was down to the sheer class of Gueye and Schneiderlin, but also in part down to the fact that we are so sloppy on the ball. There seems to be absolutely zero self-belief in the team that we can actually take the game to the opposition.
I understand that Everton have invested well, and that Koeman is a great manager, but to allow any team in the league over 60% of the possession reeks of negativity in my eyes. I didn’t expect us to tonk Everton on Saturday, but I did think Moyes would have had the lads fired up to play his old club. Alas, we looked like a bunch of bottlers; there was plenty of enthusiasm, but unfortunately running around for 90 minutes guarantees you nothing. We looked panicked and afraid both in attack and defence; it was painful to watch.
Tom’s rating: 4/10 - It was brave from Moyes to go for a more attacking line up, but ultimately it backfired and we never really looked like threatening Everton. Disappointing that we offer so little when we have the ball - oh how I long for Catts and Kirch.
I think Khazri and Honeyman were mustered at around the 70 minute mark, just after we went 2-0 down. Where was the intent before that? Yes we had hit the bar just before Lukaku’s second, but several players looked painfully out of place - namely the midfield trio, Januzaj and Borini. Moyes should have acted earlier, in my opinion.
Tom’s rating: 3/10 - Gave a couple of lads a run out at 2-0 down. Canny.
Post-Match Comments: Jesus Wept...
We did ever so well to make sure it was only 1-0. We weren't good in the first half but got better in the second, we'd earned our chance, but didn't get the equaliser and gave away a poor second goal.
You've got to remember the quality of Everton, where they are and what they're trying to achieve. There is a gulf in quality, but the players are giving everything they've got. If we're getting let down anywhere, we don't quite have the quality.
I was disappointed we lost the first goal. We tried to frustrate the supporters. I didn't want us to concede again in the second half.
I wasn't happy with how we played in the first half. Our passing was terrible. We didn't play with any confidence. But I said afterwards: 'Well done because at least in the second half you turned it round.' We've still got our time to run into form yet.
The reoccurring rhetoric of having no quality is an infuriating notion because Moyes has had two transfer windows in which to bring in quality players. In that time he’s spent somewhere north of £30 million pounds on a host of players; Ndong and Djilibodji were brought in for over £20 million alone - albeit spread over multiple seasons. So to suggest there’s no quality at the club is a damming verdict of Moyes’ own confidence in the men he manages, and indeed his own ability as manager. How can you give your all for your employer when your boss constantly tells you you’re not as good as your competitors?
Yes the job of Sunderland manager is a poisoned chalice, but at the same time, this similar group of players (with the exception of Yann M’vila) was able to go undefeated in their final six games of the season. They were able to pick up 16 points from their last eleven games, and genuinely looked like a team on the up. January signings came in and had the desired impact, bringing quality and enthusiasm to the side.
To also suggest that we have “still got our time to run into form yet” also reeks of indecisiveness and a total lack of faith in his men. I don’t like harping on about Allardyce because his opening spell as manager was iffy to say the least; however, at least he was boisterous and thundering in his belief that the club were good enough to survive. He knew when to criticise and when to praise; Sam Allardyce knew how to use the media to improve his team’s confidence - something David Moyes appears totally clueless at.
No, not everything is Moyes’ fault, but he does himself absolutely no favours. We look like a side poised for the drop, and the questions I’m asking myself is whether David Moyes seems like the man capable of rebuilding and reorganising our ailing club? With his current demeanor and attitude, I’d say no.
Tom’s rating: 2/10 - Great, we held Everton to one goal for a while, and our passing improved slightly second half, but at the end of the day, we don’t have enough quality: reeks of self doubt and an inability to strike confidence into his men. Poor. What on earth does the future hold for us? How much longer can we keep the faith and hold out for a miracle?