Have Sunderland found a new role for Grigg?
Will Grigg impressed during Tuesday’s impressive victory against Tranmere. However, despite bagging a much-needed goal, Grigg’s performance as a creative outlet is also deserving of praise.
Grigg played in a deeper role, picking the ball up in space and moving the play neatly in and around the box. Lynden Gooch and Duncan Watmore were tasked with getting beyond the Northern Irish forward, either moving into space out wide, or getting into dangerous positions heading toward goal.
Sunderland’s first goal was a prime example of the way in which Grigg operated effectively in a deeper role. Coming short to receive the ball into feet, Grigg then peels off his defender to find some space before picking out a wonderful pass that Watmore converts.
It was something Grigg did well all evening as he made 4 key passes - the same as Gooch, Watmore and Maguire combined. It will be interesting to see if Grigg is utilised in a similar role this weekend and whether he can manage another impressive performance.
Sunderland put on a five-star show last night in Phil Parkinson's first home game...— Sporting Life Football (@SportingLifeFC) October 23, 2019
⚽️ Duncan Watmore - 24'
⚽️ Chris Maguire - 26'
⚽️ @LyndenGooch - 39'
⚽️ @WillGrigg 83'
⚽️ @LukeONien 90
️ All five goals...@RokerReport @SunderlandAFC #SAFC pic.twitter.com/rEPLmNiElw
Sunderland take chances
Both in terms of quality finishing and rolling the dice when in possession - Sunderland took chances against Tranmere.
The Lads managed 16 shots during Tuesday’s game with 12 of those inside Tranmere’s penalty area. Only 6 of Sunderland’s shots were on target, yet 5 of those found the net. Analysing the information available, it’s clear to see that Parkinson’s men were not only clinical in front of goal, but were eager to try and create chances, too.
It’s a rudimentary assertion, but Sunderland averaged less than 7 shots inside the opposition’s box per game under Jack Ross. If Parkinson can keep his side creating close to 12, then offensively the team will be moving in the right direction.
It is worth noting that Sunderland haven’t had enough games under Parkinson’s management to identify a real pattern as of yet, but the Tranmere performance, if indicative of the side’s approach moving forward, is a positive one that bodes well for the side.
Still some work to be done
As much as Sunderland’s victory against Tranmere was a cracking result, there is still some work to be done.
The question can be asked as to whether Sunderland’s impressive performance made Tranmere look particularly poor, or if Tranmere’s woeful performance made Sunderland look more impressive than they perhaps were.
I’d argue that the truth probably lies somewhere between the two sentiments. Tranmere were poor, but Sunderland asked questions of the visitors and created impressive opportunities that the Lads duly converted.
That being said, defensively - despite a clean sheet - Sunderland still have room to improve. Parkinson’s men only completed 11 of their 19 attempted tackles. Better sides will punish the side if they cannot effectively win the ball back the majority of the time.
In general, though, the result was absolutely cracking, and the side were really impressive. Fingers crossed the Lads can keep the momentum rolling this weekend against Shrewsbury.