How do you grade Sunderland players in a week where no-one performed to anywhere near the level we have come to expect from a Jack Ross team?
That was the dilemma we were facing at Roker Report towers after Saturday’s dismal 2-1 defeat away at Burton Albion.
Ultimately in a poor week for the club, Jack Baldwin has held onto the top spot for a third straight week in our Power Rankings.
It’s hard to feel good about seeing a player who was partly at fault for both Burton goals maintain his spot at the top of our chart. Yet nobody truly did enough to wrestle the top spot from a man who remains crucial to Sunderland’s chances of promotion. Baldwin staying at the top reflects just how much he has impressed the Roker Report writers and Sunderland faithful in his short time on Wearside.
Chris Maguire takes a massive leap back up our rankings after his superb reaction to getting dropped, scoring a majestic goal, plus adding urgency and unpredictability to the Mackem’s attack after half-time.
Aiden McGeady deputises as an active player in the top ten in acknowledgement of his instant impact and role in the Black Cats’ solitary goal. The 32-year-old could be a contender for the top spot once he’s fully fit.
Adam Matthews drops out the top 20 after being Sunderland’s worst performer for a second straight game. It will be fascinating to see if Matthews keeps his spot in the side with Tom Flanagan fit and waiting in the wings.
Finally, we’re happy to report Papy Djilobodji is no longer a member of our power rankings. With the defender’s contract at Sunderland now terminated we can officially remove the defender from our ratings.
1: Jack Baldwin (1) - He remains top in a week where no Sunderland player covered themselves in glory - hopefully next week’s incumbent champ will have done more to earn it.
2: Chris Maguire (18) - A superb turnaround after being justifiably dropped from the starting line-up, his man of the match performance from the bench was capped by him scoring one of the best goals of the weekend across all leagues.
3: Jon McLaughlin (7) - One of the only players in Saturday’s squad who can look back on their performance and be proud of their efforts - he was faultless for both goals.
4: Josh Maja (2) - Arguably one of the better performers in Burton, but even then, Maja was quiet for large spells of the game and looked like a teenager playing against men for most of the first half.
5: Denver Hume (3) - Maintains a top five spot despite not seeing any action on Saturday. This is as much a reflection on the dross we saw on Saturday, as Hume’s man of the match performances a week ago.
6: Lee Cattermole (4) - Struggled in a midfield two with George Honeyman, hard to place too much of the blame on our former captain when it was Ross’ naive tactics that left him so exposed.
7: George Honeyman (5) - Had a tough day, and much like Catts a majority of the blame for his performance lays at the manager’s door, who should never have selected the pair as a midfield two.
8: Aiden McGeady (25) - Vaults into the top ten after an impressive first appearance of the season. McGeady was vital in creating space for Maguire’s stunning strike and caused the Brewers multiple problems initially before fading due to a lack of match fitness.
9: Lynden Gooch (6) - Drops further down our weekly ratings after Saturday’s disappearing act. It’s hard to remember Gooch ever contributing so little to a match he played every minute of.
10: Glenn Loovens (8) - A Jack Ross favourite who’s yet to really convince as Baldwin’s long-term partner at centre-half.
11: Charlie Wyke (9) - Had a quiet game prior to being stretchered off. Wyke’s desperately unfortunate to be facing an extended spell out injured before really getting a run in our first team.
12: Dylan McGeouch (10) - Injured again - another new signing that hasn’t yet lived up to his billing.
13: Tom Flanagan (11) - A surprise omission from the side against Burton.
14: Jerome Sinclair (12) - Hooked early in the second half after a quiet performance on the left-wing. Missed his chance to nail down a starting place.
15: Robbin Ruiter (13) - Unlikely to play anytime soon given McLaughlin’s recent form.
16: Bryan Oviedo (14) - One of the worst performers on a day where no-one representing Sunderland played well, Oviedo looked jet-lagged and disinterested from minute one. Ross would have to see a real improvement in training to justify playing the Costa Rica international ahead of Denver Hume on Saturday.
17: Alim Ozturk (15) - An unused sub at Burton.
18: Reece James (16) - Didn’t make the bench after Oviedo’s return from international duty.
19: Max Power (17) - Desperately missed on Saturday, Power has just one game remaining on his 3-match ban. With McGeouch and Luke O’Nien’s struggles in his absence, the 25-year-old should be line to quickly return to the line up and our top ten.
20: Bali Mumba (20) - There was no-place in our League One matchday squad for our teenage prodigy, he turned out for the under-23s instead.
21: Ethan Robson (21) - Left out of the first-team squad despite McGeouch being unavailable, played in midfield for the under-23s alongside Mumba on Sunday.
22: Adam Matthews 23: Luke O’Nien 24: Benjamin Kimpioka 25: Donald Love 26: Duncan Watmore 27: Max Stryjek 28: Didier Ndong.