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2 Up, 2 Down: Looking back again at Sunderland’s afternoon of déjà vu against Doncaster Rovers!

In our second part of 2 Up, 2 Down, we see if our panel can halt the loop of McGeady Wyke Goal in their heads to provide any other positives from Saturday along with any downside to our emphatic win!

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

Malcolm Dugdale says...

Two Up!

Complete performance...

What an emphatic team performance, inspired by untouchable demos of footballing prowess by Wyke and McGeady. Unlike the last match ball Wyke won, this foursome of goals was aggressive, hard earned and one of the most rounded performances I have seen from a Sunderland striker since the heady days of Quinn and Phillips.

McGeady clearly played a huge part, giving their right-back a torrid time for the duration of the game, and showing why he still is a cheat code at this level on his day. After the embarrassment of the fall out with Parkinson, he has shown in the best way possible what we were missing. Despite the four-goal haul I would have given Aiden man of the match, and I don’t think I will be alone in that.

Lee Johnson...

The biggest of the upsides for me is that we have finally found a formation which looks to have found that balance between attacking in numbers whilst keeping a solid defensive shape.

For that we have to give a lot of credit to Johnson, who for this match picked a starting XI and a formation which were absolutely bang on. We needed to bounce back after losing to Shrewsbury and my word did we get that. The shape and tactics were perfect not only at a high level but also under more detailed inspection.

The pressing was incessant, the passing was crisper and less wasteful, the creativity was plentiful and variable. I finally switched off coverage with a beer in my hand and a massive smile on my face, with a genuine optimism this could be a turning point for our club.

Lets hope that is the case, as one emphatic win doesn’t anything in isolation, but repeat performances like that will challenge any team we face in League One, and quite a few in the Championship too. I genuinely feel we can go up again. Thanks lads, a cracking show.

Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One
Lee Johnson
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Two Down!

Problem area at the back...

Our left-back gave away a penalty again through a sloppy tackle in the box, as a result of a tricky attacker passed him too easily, again. While we had a very good day in terms of the big picture, the our challenges at left-back still remain.

This was in against the backdrop of what was a better defensive performance, including a stunning confidence booster for Burge, who saved McFadzean’s blushes, and also ensured the weird penalty, given against O’Nien, didn’t give Donny any inroads.

Variation going forward...

We did very little down the right, and while that didn’t cause any major issues during our convincing win, if the opponents had found a way to mark the unplayable McGeady, we may have had issues penetrating their back line.

I’m not sure if Gooch is the answer, as he had an unremarkable game on a remarkable day. Maybe Diamond should get another run as he did well earlier in the season or maybe we try a different blend with Jones? Ross Stewart should also feature in the squad soon, so options exist which is a good position to find ourselves.

Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One
Jordan Jones
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Mark Wood says...

Two Up!

Perfect answer to critics...

Lee Johnson made some big calls which came off for him. A three man midfield, Charlie Wyke alone up front, bringing back Burge, McFadzean and McLaughlin. He got a lot of flack from the Shrewsbury game, but he should also get the praise for his choices today.

Lee Burge criticised by fans and dropped midweek, came back and responded with two big, big moments to help bring home the points for the team. You can argue they were bad penalties, but he still had to guess them right and stop them. If they had gone in, it would have been a very uncomfortable second half.

Charlie Wyke has had his critics over his whole Sunderland career. Can’t score goals? He’s put that to bed this season. Can’t play alone up front? He was an absolute handful in that role today. I never thought he was a great header of the ball, but a four goals with his head in the same game? Has ANY Sunderland player done that before?

Aiden McGeady...

Its been coming for a few weeks but all the worst footballing nightmares a full-back can have came home to roost for Doncaster full back Brad Halliday as Aiden McGeady hit top form.

He went outside him, he cut inside him, he even went through him as I’m pretty sure McGeady nutmegged him at one point. The ball he played to release Gooch is worth seeing again and again by itself as McGeady put in one of the best wing performances you will see in a Sunderland shirt. Phil Parkinson, what were you thinking of?

Sunderland v Doncaster Rovers - Sky Bet League One
Aiden McGeady
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Two Down!

What if...?

The fans weren’t there to see it. It has been said of Sunderland fans that they are hard to play in front of, that they can be over-critical. Well on a day like today, the place would have been rocking.

Four goals, blistering wing play, two saved penalties, the fans would have been singing the names of McGeady, Wyke and Burge and they would have deserved it after coming back from their own particular tough times.

Fragile at the back...?

It feels a bit like nit-picking after a such a game, but against what was a very good Doncaster team we never really looked like we could shut them out, particularly in the second half.

Lee Johnson didn’t really have much choice but to bring back McFadzean after Vorkins showed badly in his first two games, but we still have problems at left-back.

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