Luke O’Nien recaptured the top spot in our Power Rankings for the second time in three weeks after a terrific performance at Charlton.
O’Nien’s rasping volley set Sunderland on their way to what might end up being a crucial point in the League One promotion race. Our make-shift right-back also battled and showcased his usual tirelessness in defence - he’s been playing so well Adam Matthews now faces stiff opposition for his starting spot at right-back.
Josh Maja maintains his place in the top two after performing well despite his on-going contract negotiations and the uncertainty surrounding his future. He acted as a link between our midfield and attack, showcasing his superb skill and excellent first touch on a few occasions.
Jon McLaughlin’s back in the top three for his role in securing a point at the Valley. His second-half save from Lyle Taylor was absolutely vital, at a point in the game where the Addicks were dominating.
Lynden Gooch spends a rare week outside the top ten. Our American forward had his worst game of the season and maybe ever in a Sunderland shirt against Charlton. With Duncan Watmore and Chris Maguire both having a positive impact off the substitutes’ bench in our top-of-the-table clash, it seems unlikely that Gooch will start against Luton Town.
1: Luke O’Nien (3) - A surprise champion again. O’Nien has impressed at right-back to the point where you wonder whether it is his best position for Sunderland and whether Matthews will even get his starting place back.
2: Josh Maja (1) - Drops only one place after an impressive performance, especially considering the outside noise surrounding his future on Wearside.
3: Jon McLaughlin (11) - Back near the top of the rankings after a few disappointing weeks, McLaughlin stepped up when Sunderland were under severe pressure at the Valley.
4: Tom Flanagan (13) - In the weird world where Flanagan and Jack Baldwin seem incapable of playing well at the same time, it was the former Burton man who stood out on Saturday reclaiming a spot in our top five.
5: Aiden McGeady (2) - Still in the top five, still Sunderland’s most feared attacker, he drops three slots after not producing much end product on Saturday.
6: Max Power (5) - Without playing badly it still feels as if Power is yet to find his best form since overcoming his disciplinary problems. He drops out the top five after another unspectacular showing.
7: Dylan McGeouch (17) - Impressed in his first league start since November breaking-up play and getting Sunderland up the pitch in a tough away fixture, earning the Scot a return to our top ten.
8: Charlie Wyke (6) - Drops two spots after a mixed performance at the Valley. Wyke was crucial to Sunderland’s great performance in the first half bringing others into play, but he did squander big chances and fade badly in the second-half.
9: Jack Baldwin (4) - Drops out the top five after a tough afternoon against Lyle Taylor. Up-against one of League One’s best strikers, Baldwin was booked and could have been sent off as he continuously struggled against a physical, mobile and skillful frontman.
10: Reece James (9) - Like Baldwin, James really struggled up-against Taylor. The former Sunderland transfer target often found space in between Baldwin and James and had great success targeting our diminutive full-back.
11: Chris Maguire (16) - Despite being on the pitch for only ten minutes, Maguire was crucial in securing a point for Sunderland. He managed to hold up the ball, bring others into play and contributed to a few half-chances that could have stolen all three points for the Black Cats.
12: Duncan Watmore (14) - His pace certainly caused Charlton problems, but Watmore couldn’t capitalise on the opportunities he created for himself, missing a golden opportunity and botching the final ball when in behind on another two occasions.
13: Lee Cattermole (7) - Drops out the top ten after missing Saturday’s match through suspension - Cattermole will miss the Luton game as well as he completes his two-match ban.
14: Lynden Gooch (8) - Suffers a rare week outside the top ten as he continues to struggle to find his best form. It’s a testament to the American’s talent that even in an awful performance he forced a brilliant save out of Dillon Phillips, who tipped his first-half rocket onto the crossbar.
15: Bryan Oviedo (10) - Dropped out of Saturday’s squad after failing a late fitness test and falls in our rankings as a result.
16: George Honeyman (12) - Still missing from the first-team through injury.
17: Adam Matthews (15) - Another player who’s ranking continues to plummet due to his injury struggles.
18: Bali Mumba (SR) - An unused sub for the second straight League One game, Mumba represents interesting option to start our Checkatrade clash with the Newcastle United Under 21s.
19: Jerome Sinclair (SR) - Must also be hoping to prove his worth in the EFL Trophy after remaining rooted to the Black Cats’ bench in another crucial League One clash.
20: Glenn Loovens (SR) - With his suspension finished, Loovens must now get back to full-fitness to redeem himself after his red-card at Fratton Park.
21: Alim Ozturk 22: Robbin Ruiter 23: Denver Hume 24: Benji Kimpioka 25: Jack Bainbridge 26: Ethan Robson 27: Donald Love 28: Luke Molyneux 29: Jack Diamond 30: Jake Hackett 31: Lee Connelly 32: Brandon Taylor 33: Jordan Hunter 34: Daniel Neil 35: Max Stryjek.