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Reader’s Corner: Is Elliot Embleton the solution to Sunderland’s creative problems?

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Welcome to Reader’s Corner, where we invite YOU, the good folk who skim these pages to offer your own articles up for our website. Today, Roker Report reader Jack Dodds says we need to improve our creativity – and the answer to our problems could lie within.

Sunderland v Port Vale - EFL Trophy Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Following the signing of central midfielder Carl Winchester (expected to play as a defensive midfielder) earlier this month, many of us agree that some attacking additions are needed if we are to challenge for an automatic promotion spot.

But does the option already lie within our squad?

A fantastic display from Elliot Embleton on Tuesday evening was a great showcase of just what he can do and suggested he could offer us something unique.

Sunderland v AFC Wimbledon - Sky Bet League One
Roker Report reader Jack believes Embleton could be the answer to our problems
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Despite a lot of criticism of the strikers for not converting chances, the problem actually lies with how ruthless we are in possession.

Over our last three league games, we have registered an average of 3.3 shots on target despite an average of 63.3% possession.

When you compare this to league leaders Lincoln City, who have registered an average of 5.7 shots on target despite having an average of 51% of possession, it’s clear we don’t make the most of the ball – which is down to the lack of a creator.

Lincoln City are primarily able to create chances through one individual, Jorge Grant, who creates an average of 2.1 chances per 90 minutes (only second to George Honeyman’s 2.28), allowing the side to reap the rewards of their time on the ball.

Lincoln City v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One
Jorge Grant is Lincoln’s creator in chief
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

By contrast, Sunderland’s most creative player, statistically, is Lynden Gooch, who has created an average of 0.8 chances per 90 minutes this season.

While many would still point the finger at Charlie Wyke for our lack of goals, it’s clear we aren’t creating as many chances as our fellow promotion rivals – therefore to blame him would, in my opinion, be quite disingenuous. His tally of seven goals in 17 games and returns such as his brace away to Lincoln proves he can score, given the opportunities.

While many fans will call for a new January signing to solve our creativity issue, Embleton’s impressive display on Tuesday evening proved what he could do and, with Johnson already expressing his desire to give him an opportunity, there may be no need to seek out transfers just yet.

Embleton’s agility makes him hard to track and mark; his passing range makes him effective at supplying quality balls to the forwards. His ability to play with both feet makes him unpredictable to defenders.

Crystal Palace v Grimsby Town - Emirates FA Cup - Third Round - Selhurst Park
Embleton impressed while on loan at Grimsby
Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

During his time at Grimsby in the 2018/19 season, he was able to register four goals and four assists in 28 appearances (a lot of which were made from the bench) for a side that finished in the bottom half of the table.

Neither Power nor Scowen have the offensive ability to get close to the striker and effectively link up play, often causing Wyke to be isolated.

Embleton may be able to offer something slightly different.

While it would still be great to see another option brought in midfield due to Embleton’s susceptibility to injury and unproven nature, his performance against Port Vale excited me.

If he could replicate that performance in league games, he would offer us the invaluable creativity we’ve lacked so far – and which has been so costly.