Lack of Pace Concerning
There’s no way to sugarcoat Sunderland’s performance this weekend - it really was incredibly poor. The team imploded under adversity, their discipline going out of the window as Sunderland lost their first game by three goals under the management of Jack Ross.
One particularly worrying issue that was apparent during the game, however, was Sunderland’s lack of pace - a weakness that has been highlighted and discussed for some time now.
For example, Peterborough’s second goal came after a decent spell of Sunderland pressure until a stray cross allowed Peterborough to break. Sunderland couldn’t keep up with the pace of the Posh attack and the home side capitalised.
The same issue with a lack of pace also hinders the side offensively, too. Peterborough were happy to sit back and hit us on the break; as such, Sunderland sometimes laboured when in possession of the ball, hoping for a piece of brilliance to unlock the home side’s defence.
Good teams know how to stifle our play, but if we were to add some pace out wide or up front then that would give the side some much needed variety that would give the opposition real cause for concern.
Missing Maguire whilst Maddison was Magnificent
Part of Sunderland’s frustrations stemmed from the absence of Chris Maguire playing in behind Charlie Wyke.
Marc McNulty was tasked with the role this weekend, but while he tried his utmost, the on-loan forward is not quite as creative or combative as Maguire. McNulty has played well when asked to play as more of a traditional striker, not as something resembling a number ten or false nine.
Sunderland have done well with Maguire in the side because he is able to drop deep and support Sunderland’s midfield as well as act as a foil to Wyke; he’s adaptable, creative and tenacious. He was a big miss this weekend.
Against Ptereborough we lacked numbers in the middle of the park, struggled to break Peterborough's lines and relied purely on wide play to try and create chances. We lacked spark in the final third - something Maguire has provided in recent weeks.
Marcus Maddison, on the other hand, was absolutely incredible for Peterborough. The forward - often linked with Sunderland - was everywhere and managed to grab two goals for himself.
Imagine a Sunderland side with McGeady, Maguire, Gooch, Embleton and Maddison to choose from? Incredible.
It’s a simple statement to make, but Sunderland must respond to this weekend’s humbling. The most frustrating aspect of the game - aside from the result - was Sunderland’s lack of discipline.
The side lost all composure and control after Peterborough snagged their second - even if that goal came after a decent spell of Sunderland pressure. You would have hoped to see the Lads respond in a positive manner, but the subsequent implosion was anything but.
O’Nien’s red was dubious, but Wyke’s was reckless. I’m sure Ross will have plenty to say on the matter, but he and his men will have to wait until September 14th to do so. Fans will expect a response away to Accrington Stanley, and it’s up to the Lads to provide one.
This isn’t the end of the world, by any means. Sunderland, though, will need to recover quickly from this poor display in order to get their season back on track.