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Analysing the goals: What we can learn - positively & negatively - from Blackpool 2-3 Sunderland

With extended highlights of the win at Blackpool available, we take a look back at all five goals and analyse what went right and what went wrong for Sunderland.

Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Blackpool 1-0

It’s sloppy from Jack Diamond in losing possession, but Blackpool really shouldn’t be countering us from that position. Dan Neil should probably do better as he’s the closest man to the ball but instead of stopping the attack he backs out to avoid giving away a free kick - really, he probably should have just taken the yellow.

Niall Huggins is far too far up the pitch, which puts the defence in bother as Frederik Alves then has to come across to try and close down the cross, and he doesn’t get anywhere near close enough to the man but, to be honest, it shouldn’t have advanced that far up the pitch.

Bailey Wright gets done far too easily - he’s aware of Lavery’s positioning before the cross even goes in, yet lets the man get across him.

Sunderland 1-1

Nathan Broadhead does excellent to win and control the long ball.

Dan Neil will get all the credit and rightly so for the fantastic through ball, but that all comes from Broadhead bringing it back into play in the first place.

Also, note Aiden O’Brien’s starting position and movement/run - it’s fantastic really. I’d be interested to see how he’d do playing off the left on Saturday in place of McGeady, because with the creative players that we have now playing centrally, good movement off the left-hand side could be the difference between winning and losing a game.

Blackpool v Sunderland - Carabao Cup Second Round Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Sunderland 2-1

The football in the build to the corner is great. I love the one-touch passing between Broadhead, O’Brien, Diamond, Pritchard and Huggins. It’s like watching a different team to the one that played last season, mainly when Phil Parkinson was manager.

The goal itself is very fortunate for two reasons - the deflection, obviously, but also the fact that not one Blackpool player thought it might be a good idea to pick our centre forward up. Watch his run - he just walks around the back of the pack, and not one orange shirt spots him. Sucks to be them.

Blackpool 2-2

The goal, frustratingly, comes from nothing, really.

We’re in total control of the ball and under no real pressure, but Callum Doyle’s pass is poor and it gives Blackpool an opportunity to counter, which they do.

Because Dennis Cirkin is up the pitch slightly, Doyle gets drawn to the ball where he should just drop, and that allows the pass in behind.

Nobody tracks the run of Josh Bowler - Dan Neil should really have him, but he also gets drawn to the ball, which gives Bowler the space to shoot and score.

I guess the blame lies with Doyle for the crap pass, but Neil’s inexperience perhaps showed there too with him losing concentration at a key moment.

Sunderland 3-2

The move starts from the goalkeeper, to Doyle in the defence who successfully dribbles past two players (just another sign of how good he really is). He passes to Embleton, whose quick feet play it first time to Stewart.

Just a note on Stewart’s role, though, as at one stage in the attack he’s the only Sunderland player forward, with six Blackpool players around him, and we retained possession - he’s so good at holding the ball up.

He feeds it to Huggins, who plays a simple pass off to Diamond, and here we see what Jack can actually do with the ball when he’s played out on the right-hand side - he’s very good at taking people on and crossing into good areas when cutting in.

His ball is great, as is O’Brien’s movement, and as the Blackpool defence is caught napping, we score.

I love everything about this goal because it exemplifies the way we’re trying to play - built from the back, fantastic ball retention and positive passing, with our creative player (in this instance Diamond) crafting a dangerous opportunity for a striker with good movement.

Probably the best goal we’ve scored so far this season.

Ross Stewart advances with six players around him, holds it up for long enough so that the rest of the team can get forward, and we score. Proper centre forward’s play.

Other Notes

  • I think Frederik Alves does very well at 1-1 for Lavery’s chance. At first, I thought he might have been a little bit soft in allowing the shot, but he’s quite close to the man and we know that as soon as you start putting your hands on strikers when they’re going through on goal, they’ll go down and you’ll get sent off. He stayed tight and made sure Lavery struggled to get the shot off, which he did.
  • Nathan Broadhead was really unlucky with that offside goal. Obviously, we don’t have the same angle as the linesman, but he looks level to me when the ball is played. The touch and finish are excellent.
  • Aiden O’Brien’s missed chance at 1-1 was poor, but the movement from him was great again. Bailey Wright’s pass was really well-weighted and perhaps shows he’s got more about him than we think from a technical perspective.
  • Anthony Patterson’s excellent save when we were 2-1 to deny Blackpool an equaliser shows why he’s worth persisting with - I just don’t think Burge makes that save, but happy to be shot down. In the build-up though I thought Huggins was weak and too easily beaten - experienced forwards are going to try and take advantage of our inexperience like that often, so it’s something he needs to wise up to.

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