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Talking Tactics: Did Sunderland deserve a point at Ipswich? The data says...

Sunderland extended their unbeaten run to seven league matches with a draw at Portman Road. What does the data tell us about the performance?

Danny Roberts | Roker Report

Formation & Line-Ups

Lee Johnson has opted to pick pretty much the same team for a good few weeks now - largely due to the sheer size of our injury list - and the Ipswich game was no different, with the Sunderland gaffer picking the same side and system that took three points off promotion rivals Plymouth Argyle.

Shots and xG

Having accumulated just 0.67 xG, Sunderland weren’t as busy as usual, and were quiet compared to their own standards - however, we did still have chances, most of which came from Nathan Broadhead, who again found himself on the scoresheet.

Broadhead has been an interesting addition to the squad, and since the international break in November, he’s consolidated himself as a first-team option.

It goes without saying, but Kristjaan Speakman and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus really ought to consider signing him permanently when the transfer window opens next month.

The shots count was low, with the Lads recording one in the first half and four in the second half. Sunderland lacked creativity and cutting edge up front - it’s likely it was just a one-off against a resilient opponent.

Oh - and there were some interesting stats coming out of this game in relation to our overall performance this season - we recorded the lowest amount of shots in a single match (5) and recorded our 2nd lowest xG for (0.67).

Taking that into account, I think we can probably be happy with the point!

Passing Networks

Unfortunately, due to Dajaku’s injury, we had to make a sub early - so the Passing Networks can be split into before the first sub, and then from that moment until we made our second.

During the first 40 minutes, we can almost see that the left and right sides are separated as we were unable to make passes across the pitch regularly. Sunderland lacked any real momentum in the match, and our ability to move the ball wasn’t particularly effective.

Ross Stewart

A consistent theme lately has been Ross Stewart dropping deeper to receive the ball, and his overall play is crucial to the attack for Sunderland.

Last season with Charlie Wyke - the man Stewart replaced up top in Lee Johnson’s side - we became used to Wyke just being a goalscorer. Stewart is so much more than that, and the team undoubtedly benefits when he’s on the pitch.

Ross Stewart recorded some season-best stats v Ipswich:

  • Most Passes attempted this season (43)
  • Most completed passes this season (29)
  • Most attempted passes for Sunderland v Ipswich

Dan Neil

Once again, Dan Neil proved that he’s the man with the cutting edge in midfield - the youngster has lit up the division this season, providing another assist on Saturday which brings his tally to 7.

An interesting stat is that Neil has recorded the same number of assists per 90 minutes this season as Aiden McGeady - 0.36 per 90 minutes.

This shows just how brilliant Neil is, as McGeady has been the assist king for Sunderland for many years now.

What next for Lee Johnson?

With a lot of uncertainty in football due to the ongoing COVID 19 crisis, this could be Sunderland’s last league game for the foreseeable future. We go to Arsenal on Tuesday in the League Cup, and hopefully move on to Doncaster on the 27th December.

Since returning from the international break, the Lads have recorded 2.14 points per game. If we can keep that up, we’ll hit 94 points come the end of the season - and only once in the last decade has that not been good enough for a top two finish.


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