clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Talking Points: A win’s a win, but Sunderland can’t expect to win every week playing like that

New, comments

Although Sunderland were facing one of the strongest attacking line-ups in the league, they will need to be far more creative to break down teams that would rather waste time than play football when they visit the SOL.

Sunderland v Peterborough United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Sunderland cannot expect to win playing like this every week

Every manager spends the majority of their week plotting a path to victory.

It would take the straightest of faces from Parky to make us believe that this is how he wanted the match to pan out. Yes Sunderland won, but the best chances fell to the visitors, and only wasteful finishing as well as the crossbar prevented Posh from taking what would be a deserved lead.

Parkinson did manage to shore up the midfield after a harrowing 20 minutes, closing down the marauding Dembele far more effectively, however he will know that he cannot win like this every week.

Although Sunderland were facing one of the strongest attacking line-ups in the league, they will need to be far more creative to break down teams that would rather waste time than play football when they visit the SOL.

Oxford United v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Leila Coker/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Lack of pace means there’s little creative spark

The big worry in the Sunderland side now is the lack of pace; it’s not exactly a state secret. This was laid bare clearly on Saturday, as it resulted in a side devoid of creative spark.

The counter argument to this is that keeping it tight and compact could help to limit the threat that Peterborough carried; but of course it was poor finishing and good defending, not a lack of creativity as the reason why Posh didn’t score.

Sunderland will need to address this as the season develops - they will come up against teams who will afford the likes of Gooch and Maguire the freedom to make their mark, but they shouldn’t expect it against the stronger teams in the division, starting next week at the Valley.

Sunderland v Peterborough United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

A win is a win is a win

Sunderland fans may well moan about the quality of the performance, but the Peterborough game was arguably the toughest home fixture they will face this season, and they have come away with three points, and they should be credited for that.

Clearly, the way Parkinson is trying to achieve promotion is through a solid defence; the footballing equivalent of climbing Everest via the difficult east face - not impossible but most don’t attempt it.

Therefore, any victory should be welcomed, no matter how it is achieved, as long as lessons are learned.

Sunderland v Peterborough United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

What effect would the crowd have had today?

That this game was played behind closed doors may have been a blessing for Sunderland - “what would the crowd have made of this?” has been a common question across the leagues so far this season (see Newcastle 0-3 Brighton).

It’s worth contemplating just what would have happened as Peterborough cut through the Black Cats midfield for the third time in the first 10 minutes, seemingly creating chances at will.

There’s no doubt nerves would have been frayed; it’s not a stretch to say the discontent from the stands would have been clear.

Luckily, Sunderland rode out this tricky opening period and ultimately won the game. Would it have been the same had there been 30,000 supporters in attendance? We will never know but it is interesting to reflect on the effect the crowd can have.

Sunderland v Peterborough United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Wyke selection leaves most scratching their heads

There will have been a method to the manager’s thinking, but if Charlie Wyke was put in for a specific reason, it was not apparent what it was once from almost the very first minute.

There should be sympathy for Sunderland’s number 9, as the set up of the side does not play to his strengths. It wasn’t all donkey work though, just before half time Wyke had his chance to make a mark; a pinpoint cross from Scowen was begging to be attacked.

Wyke could not have asked for better service and should have been moving before the ball was crossed, however was totally flat-footed and the Peterborough defence dealt easily with the threat.

It is chances like this Charlie must exploit if he is to stay in the team.

Sunderland v Peterborough United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Hume steps up

He’s had his share of critics during his Sunderland career, but Denver Hume was perhaps the brightest aspect of Sunderland’s attacking performance.

Hume’s pace and direct running offers something different from the static grid system approach many others in the side bring; and showed if you do something unexpected against a third tier defence, it might just pay dividends.

His cut inside and charge into the box bought the penalty which won the three points. Crucially though Hume is a player it is very difficult to train players to defend against, meaning his impact will hopefully be felt for a long time yet.