Team Selection: Right backs galore
Honestly there was so many right-backs in the squad last night that it was a bit mental. Ultimately, however, they did little to help as we fell victim to an Alexis Sanchez double.
Despite several injuries impacting the starting line-up, the team that took to the pitch last looked absolutely ghastly as we gave up 63% of the possession, and allowed Arsenal 36 shots on goal... yes, you read that right.
Jordan Pickford was perhaps the only Sunderland player who walked away from the Emirates with his reputation enhanced. He managed to keep out 11 of Arsenal’s 13 attempts on target with several simply spectacular saves. In a way it was great seeing the young lad produce the goods yet again, and not simply because it added a few million onto his price tag. If Sunderland can produce a Pickford or two every few seasons then we may have something to cheer in the future.
Tom’s rating: 20/20 - We secured the wooden spoon this evening, so at least we’re the best at something. I was annoyed at the fact that Gooch was thrown into the game ahead of tomorrow’s European final - why wasn’t he given game time in recent weeks? That seemed like a fool’s errand. Furthermore, Adnan Januzaj’s final death throes were another exasperating issue - where was that desire and drive in weeks gone by? Pathetic, man.
We returned back to the formation that actually looked like it gave us a fighting chance just after the new year... shame it’s too late to make any real difference. Class.
Tom’s rating: 5-3-2+1/10 - We finally go back to a half-decent system after looking so dreadful in recent months, but you’ve got to ask why it took so long? Do you think Moyes bashed his head at some point in recent weeks, and simply forgot all about the tactic? Did he wake up one morning and find some old notes, before exclaiming ‘Eureka, I’ve got it!’ - honestly, it’s just baffling, isn’t it?
Using all of your subs when 2 goals behind, giving the lads 10 minutes or so to impress. Tactical masterstroke. Hah.
Tom’s rating: 3 subs on for the last 10 - Honestly, though what is the point? These last couple of games have been pathetic, and to just throw a few lads on for a laugh as we’re being hounded is just even more irritating.
Post-Match Comments: Mildly interesting
We were full of character and commitment. We made it difficult for Arsenal for long periods and had good chances. We played well but Arsenal had the class to make the difference.
Saturday's game against Sunderland was not like I'd seen in the last month or so. Against Arsenal we got a good performance and if we got the first goal it could have been completely different.
David Moyes has gone full deluded Brendan circa his Liverpool meltdown. Character. Great character. The man is a walking cliche, and he is absolutely awful when tasked with answering questions in front of a camera.
He blathers on about a good performance when we let Arsenal have almost 40 shots on goal - it’s hard not to laugh. We were atrocious and let Arsenal run riot, we really did. Runners strolled into our area at will without so much as a white shirt anywhere near them. Players failed to do the basics right - something we’ve manged to be exceptional at all season. You could see the dismay in Pickford’s face as wave after wave of Arsenal attacks flowed through our beleaguered defence.
We caused Arsenal a couple of uneasy moments, but really we never looked like doing anything - and even if we did what good would it do? We’ve been atrocious all season and we’re going down, but that’s not the only issue.
"After I got in in August I didn't think we had a squad capable. But it was what we've got, you have to try and ultimately we were just short.
"I'll speak with chairman Ellis Short over the next few days. I've given him an indication of what we need to do and we'll look to see if that's possible."
Stop, Dave, please just stop. The man has distanced himself from so much of the blame this season that I’m impressed he’s still around to deflect any modicum of criticism.
That being said, why haven’t Short and co. already laid out the plans ahead of next season? Surely they must have had a contingency plan in place? Why are there still unanswered questions and shrouds of uncertainty? Will we ever get anything right as a club?
Tom’s rating: Beige/10 - Staying, or going, or what? I have a feeling that Moyesy might just be adding that extra distance that will allow him to simply walk away from the job - blaming it on differences with Short, and his unrealistic expectations. There he’ll scuttle into obscurity safe from too much media criticism thanks to his efforts at deflecting blame from the get go.