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Talking Points: O’Nien is now Sunderland’s 1st choice right back - but Lynden Gooch needs a rest

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In today’s post-Charlton edition of Talking Points we look at how Luke O’Nien has now made himself Sunderland’s first choice right back, and how Lynden Gooch looks in need of a rest for a game or two.

Sunderland AFC

O’Nien at it again

Luke O’Nien’s goal early in the game was yet another reminder that this fella isn’t prepared to give up his place in the team easily, even despite the fact he’s playing out of position.

Even without his goal he’s showing that he’s worthy of his spot in the side, and against Charlton he was disciplined, tough and hard-working - all attributes you want from your right back, particularly away from home when you’re often under the cosh for large periods.

Yes, he was signed to be a midfielder, but it’s clear he’s not going to get a game through the middle and perhaps he’s best off continuing to hone himself as a right back - he’s doing well there, scoring goals, playing every week and winning fans over.

I’ve got no idea how long it’ll be before Adam Matthews is back and fit, but he’s going to have to work hard to get back in the side when he is ready. O’Nien, in my eyes, is now our first choice right back and I’ve never seen anything from him which indicates he’s a midfielder playing out of position - the role looks very natural to him and he’s excelling there.

O’Nien scores - again
Sunderland AFC

Good point - but something is lacking

Before the game I said that I’d be happy with a point, and begrudgingly I accepted that at the final whistle. It’s a fantastic result when you consider how good Charlton are at home, but at points during the game we had chances to win it and didn’t.

It feels like something is lacking, and has been lacking for a short while now. Players that were previously having a consistent impact during games no longer are, our passing game isn’t as sharp or slick, and defensively we just seem easier to get at.

Maybe it’s the games coming thick and fast, but it feels like the lads are missing something.

Someone on Twitter remarked to me after the game that we’re 2 or 3 players off where we need to be, and I’d agree. We’ve got a lot of lads out injured at the minute and we only named six players on our bench yesterday, which shows how stretched the squad is.

Nobody is expecting us to splash the cash during January, but signing at least two quality players that can add something different to our arsenal is necessary I think. As of right now we aren’t good enough to win the league, which ultimately needs to be our aim.

Adding some strength in depth may be what it takes to push the lads closer to where they want to be, but will we do it? There’s still a long way to go this month, but getting those bodies in sooner rather than later might be the difference between us drawing games like this and winning them - who knows.

Sunderland AFC

Gooch needs a break

I’m a massive fan of Lynden Gooch, and I was over the moon that he signed a new contract last week, but it’s clear he needs a break from the action for a game or two.

He’s still working very hard for the team, but his quality is lacking and his performance in the second half yesterday was some of the most frustrating football I’ve watched all season. His passing was off, he couldn’t beat his man and he was costing us more attacks than he was contributing positively to them.

Maybe it’s time to take him out of the team for a game or two. It might help him to rest, and rediscover his hunger - he needs to take stock, look at his teammates and maybe work out where he’s going wrong. It certainly did favours for the likes of Chris Maguire earlier in the season, so I can’t see the harm in trying.

He’s still young and learning his trade so these things happen, but we mustn’t be afraid to drop a player if it’s not working out for him.

Gooch out, Watmore in?
Sunderland AFC