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2 Up, 2 Down: The good and the bad from Sunderland’s win against Rochdale!

Can you give us two positives and two negatives from Sunderland’s winning performance over Rochdale at the weekend?

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


Joseph Tulip says...

Two Up!

Maximum points...

You can never be dissatisfied with a win and a clean sheet. We took our chances in the first half while Rochdale missed a gilt-edged chance to level proceedings before our second goal.

Many times this season we’ve dominated sides and failed to win, whereas this time we got three vital points while playing at nowhere near our best. With injuries and two games per week, results are far more important than performances and we are now closing in on the three sides above us in League One.

Winchester...

A less obvious one here but last week I called for more incisive play from our midfielders. Against Rochdale, Carl Winchester really stepped up to the plate with a good all-round performance. Winchester looked to make driving runs, played with his head up, and tried to creatively pick out McGeady and Jones with a series of intelligent forward passes.

Sunderland v Rochdale - Sky Bet League One
Carl Winchester
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Two Down!

Injury-list...

It’s a credit to our injury-ravaged defence that we kept another clean sheet, but we really are down to the bare bones now.

Younger came in and didn’t look comfortable at right back, especially going forward. Younger will no doubt be a good option in central defence with with the likes of Power and O’Nien able to drop into the right back position. But with McFadzean continuing to struggle on the left side, we need some of our sidelined defenders back before we suffer any further injuries.

Final third...

Decision making in the final third. Our two goals were supplied by quality deliveries but there were times when we could have added to our goal tally if our decision making and had been better.

We had several chances to counter attack, but rarely do we break at speed, instead choosing to turn back slowly and allow the opposition to regroup.

Sunderland v Swindon Town - Sky Bet League One
Luke O’Nien
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Gary Engel says...

Two Up!

Momentum...

An excellent three points, especially given how other results also went our way. So many times over the past couple of seasons Sunderland have failed to string results together to keep the pressure on teams faltering around us. You can see the wind is in our sails now, if we can keep this momentum up even automatic promotion looks possible.

Clean sheet...

Another clean sheet and Sanderson’s legend continues to grow. He rose to head us into an early lead and his swagger for his age is just so impressive. The last time we saw a young defender here with such a bright future ahead of him, it was Manchester Utd’s Jonny Evans. Albeit, we’re at a different level but some player’s class, such as Sanderson’s, is just evident.

Sunderland v Rochdale - Sky Bet League One
Dion Sanderson
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Two Down!

Doing enough...

We’ve certainly seen massive improvement, we may not be always that exciting to watch but currently what we are doing is enough. It would have been nice to see us score another couple of goals without really breaking a sweat and putting the game well and truly to bed early in the second-half. We were at home to the side bottom of the table after all.

In need of a rest...

It may feel a little pernickety, but with the game won, and clearly not pushing for a third. I would have expected a bit of a rest for Wyke, he probably won’t get too many better chances in the next few weeks.

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

Malcolm Dugdale says...

Two Up!

Wyke...

Wyke carried on his scoring streak with another well taken goal, which in this instance gave us a two goal lead that we held onto quite well in the second half. His assist was provided from another wide player in Jones, which adds to the options we have to feed what is our new found scoring machine. This can only be a positive for Wyke and his assist makers.

Sanderson...

A well deserved and very well taken goal for Sanderson to open our account, who has done everything but score before today.

He clearly executed a set piece perfectly and he also bosses the back line like a man of many more years experience, and he once again saved our clean sheet stat with help from a very capable O’Nien. What a great loan (at last!), the only shame being he can’t do the same at Wembley next weekend.

Sunderland v Rochdale - Sky Bet League One
Dion Sanderson
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Two Down!

Dion only on loan...?

The more Dion Sanderson improves the harder it will be to hold onto him if we do go up. Going out in a limb here, but in my view he is as good as VVD at his age, and we could build a team of the future around him and some of the young midfield and forward talents we have.

Though this is the risk of loan signings, after almost signing Virgil all those years ago I really hope we don’t make the same mistake twice and lose a gem for the future. If Kyril does one major thing let it be signing Dion.

No big statement...

Another winning performance without really performing. I was hoping for a statement win or at least a polished performance today and we didn’t really get either, but the three points are the main thing and with another couple of teams dropping off around us, let’s just keep doing that as a minimum.

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