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Talking Tactics: How Sunderland finally achieved an overdue victory

Sunderland recorded their 2nd highest shots count in a game this season (24) and the highest amount of shots on target this season (11) - the perfect response!

Danny Roberts | Roker Report


Average Locations

The three visuals are based on the timing of the subs in the game. They also correlate around what Sunderland do as the game progresses,

From minutes 1-45, we can see Stewart is playing as the main forward with Gooch playing as a deep forward. Jordan Jones typically has a high average location, which was no different against Plymouth. Denver Hume at left-back is at the same level as Gooch, showing his attacking intentions.

Going into the second half Sunderland turn the screw after Plymouth equalised and got a man sent off. The average location starts to move further up as the game goes on. Hume’s attacking position is the reason he scores the 3rd goal - providing we can keep Hume fit, I believe he could be as good as anyone at this level as an attacking left-back.

Chris Maguire came on for Jack Diamond and plays as deep as Josh Scowen, which is a contrast to Diamond, who in the same position pushes further up the field.


Sunderland registered some excellent shooting statistics in this game - recording their 2nd highest shots count in a game this season (24) and the highest amount of shots on target this season (11). Of course, the red card played a part, but you still have to make it count.

It seems as though we’ve been working hard in training on finding the back of the net.

It was great to see three different goalscorers, too.


Sunderland performed better with the ball than on previous occasions, achieving 82% passing accuracy in the game. Two performers who stood out in the passing category were Josh Scowen and Max Power. These two linked up well in central midfield during the first half, but Power was shuffled to right-back at half time.

The first 20 minutes of the second half saw our passing accuracy numbers fall to around 70%, whether this was related to the enforced change due to the planned substitution of Conor McLaughlin or Plymouth making adjustments, it can’t be ignored that our ball efficiency numbers went down with that sub.

Max Power made the most passes across the team, with 76 passes recorded, showing how his influence was key crucial throughout the match.

Why did we beat Plymouth?

The easy answer would be to say is that we played against ten men, and made the advantage count - and I would say the data backs it up.

At times this season we’ve made a real mess of game management, and it does make me consider if Sunderland would have won without the red card.


The xG shows until the red card and equaliser, that Sunderland didn’t create a lot more than Plymouth. What is encouraging for Sunderland is when the red card occurred, the chances starting coming our way. It was very important for Sunderland that we picked up three points, as we have lost and drawn games with similar xG stats.

the bottom visual shows the xG

Chris Maguire

I can’t be sure why but Chris Maguire has really become irrelevant to Sunderland under Lee Johnson. I was happy to see him return from exile and score a crucial goal vs Plymouth.

He is a player you want for the big moments, and if he moves on in the summer, Maguire will be a huge miss for the club.

Maguire excelled in the deep playmaker role vs Plymouth

More visuals can be found below


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Editorial: What a difference a year makes


In Aji Alese and Dennis Cirkin, Sunderland could have a duo to rival Gray and Scott!

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