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Wigan Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Two Up, Two Down: What positives & negatives can we pluck from Sunderland’s win at Wigan?

The Lads flattened the Latics on Thursday night, winning 4-1 and demonstrating their Championship credentials once again. What did our writers make of the game?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Kyle Garrett says...

Amazing Amad!

Need I say more?

He’s an absolute joke at this level. He scored another unbelievable goal and he gets better every game. A special player.

The lads passed the test

A lot of people questioned the team when it was announced, but everyone who complained is quiet now.

Edouard Michut, Trai Hume, Abdoullah Ba and Bailey Wright all stood up to the challenge.

Injury concerns

We can’t seem to catch a break at the minute.

Ba and Alex Pritchard were the latest players to go off injured, and Pritchard was on the pitch for all of about three minutes.

Wigan Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Mitch Marshall says...

We’re magic!

When we get into a rhythm, we’re unplayable at this level.

Patrick Roberts is coming good, Amad is a cut above, and even the likes of Leon Dajaku were showing their skills by the end of last night’s match. Wigan were bang average, but not many goalkeepers would have kept out Ross Stewart’s penalty or Amad’s strike.

I’ll always love Sunderland, but this is the most I’ve loved our squad for many a long year. At our best, we’re fighters with fire in our bellies and stardust in our boots!

Vindication for Tony Mowbray

I was a bit concerned about our starting eleven.

It had shades of Cardiff at home, especially with Abdoullah Ba and Edouard Michut starting together, but they both played really well, with Ba’s roaming role behind Amad and Simms in the first half particularly pleasing on the eye.

The three of them were lightning-quick on the counter at times, and Mowbray’s choice to play with five at the back and three central midfielders also covered for any weaknesses, and his substitutes were well-timed.

My worries were definitely misplaced.

Dropping deep

On Thursday, we dropped deep at times and managed to soak up pressure effectively.

Once we had a lead with only twenty minutes to go, this was fine, as Wigan couldn’t really break us down. Doing it in the first half was a different kettle of fish, however, and it’s something we’ve been susceptible to several times this season.

To push on against better teams, we need to know how to balance soaking up pressure and slowing things down with the desire to look for a goal.

We got it right in the end, but not without giving ourselves an unnecessary scare first.

Will it last?

I have faith in our club’s much maligned ‘model’, but it’s hard to see how we could possibly replace the likes of Ross Stewart and Amad- certainly in the short term.

I’d dearly love to keep them, because they’re brilliant, and losing them in January would be particularly galling. None of us have much control over this, however, and whether Amad stays may not even be in the club’s control.

All we can do is make the most of these memories as they happen. They’ve been all too rare in recent years, so let’s drink them in!

Wigan Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - DW Stadium Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Jon Guy says...

Magic midfield

With injuries came opportunities for Abdoullah Ba and Edouard Michut, and they both showed what they can bring to the team.

I was particularly impressed with Ba, who was more than decent throughout and looked to make dynamic runs whenever he saw the space.

That said, Dan Neil was outstanding and he stepped up to fill in as our leader in the middle of the park. He showed what we all know he is capable of.

A team of many talents

Some of the football last night was so good.

In parts, our passing and movement made Wigan look like observers, and if we’d improved those final balls, it should’ve been seven or eight.

Injury worries

It was another great performance that came at a real cost.

Alex Pritchard is a major worry and Ba will be heavily bruised at best. It’s one step forward and two back when it comes to injuries.

Taking chances

We could and should’ve been out of sight before the equaliser.

Wigan were poor, but when we have teams by the throat, we need to put them away. A better team might’ve used an equaliser just before the break as a platform on which to lift their game.

It really is a stretch but against better teams, we may live to regret it.

Wigan Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - DW Stadium Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Kingsley Reavley says...

Silky football

Ultimately, football is an entertainment business and that was a fun game to watch, with fans getting their money’s worth.

Some of our play, particularly in the second half, was mesmerising. The one-touch passing is brilliant to watch, and dare I say that it’s reminiscent of the Arsenal team of the early 2000s?

All the lads seem to be playing with confidence and they’re really on each other’s wavelength. Huge credit to Tony Mowbray.

Fringe players contributing

They might not get all of the plaudits, but was pleasing to see some of our squad players make a positive contribution.

The likes of Edouard Michut, Abdoullah Ba, Leon Dajaku and Jay Matete all got valuable minutes and the victory will’ve helped their confidence.

They can still play a big part during the second half of the season, with fixtures coming thick and fast in an unexpected promotion push.

Occasional sloppiness

The amount of times we gave the ball away unnecessarily was far too high, particularly towards the end of the first half.

We allowed a poor team back into the game when we should’ve finished them off much earlier.

We did recover, but against a better side the story could’ve been different.

A penalty not awarded?

One small gripe concerns the officials, although the foul on Patrick Roberts was picked up on and the penalty awarded.

However, we should’ve had a spot kick a few minutes later, when Dajaku drilled the ball across the box and the defender committed a blatant handball.

Ultimately it didn’t have any bearing on the result but it was still very frustrating.

Wigan Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Joseph Tulip says...

Finishing off the job

Amad hitting the bar in the first half was a turning point in the game, and despite our dominance we found ourselves going in at half time at 1-1.

Earlier in the season, it was a situation where we might’ve struggled to get the win we deserved, but for the second game running, we finished the job and in some style with an emphatic second half display.

Our team gets better!

We finished fifth in League One last season and winning promotion was a real slog. Now, we’re playing at a higher level and we look more comfortable and composed in the Championship than we did in the third tier.

This is largely down to the faith we’ve put in young players who are improving weekly, are clearly being coached effectively and who are enjoying their football.

Confidence is sky high.

Possession problems

I’m struggling to find negatives, so I’m being picky here.

Injuries have already been mentioned so I’ll highlight that we’re sometimes so focussed on building the perfect attack with our passing that we occasionally give the ball away.

Games in the Championship are so open at times and losing possession can set the opposition on the counter attack.

No clean sheet

Despite conceding a goal, however, our makeshift defence stood firm with crucial interceptions.

We no longer have a soft centre and that’s a real positive.

Wigan Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Kev Campbell says...

Youth shines again

Last night proved that the revolution that’s been taking place at Sunderland is most definitely the way forward.

Dan Ballard was solid at the back, the midfield starting trio of Dan Neil, Edouard Michut and Abdoullah Ba were a class above, and Amad and Jack Clarke were running at defenders at will.

A potent attack

Every time we had the ball, heads were up and we were driving towards goal.

We looked like scoring during every move forward and we should’ve had at least three more goals.

This is a great sign for the second half of the season, because we’re well and truly pushing for the playoffs!

A tricky opponent

Wigan are physical, dirty, and an all-round nuisance to play against.

Hopefully we won’t be playing them in the league for quite a while.

Wigan Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

Strength in depth

The strength of the squad was demonstrated in both the starting eleven and the substitutes that we brought on last night.

There were a few hairy moments but we were in a different class to Wigan from the first eleven to the finishing eleven, and that was a pleasure to watch.

Graft, graft, graft!

The lads worked their socks off in a game that seemed to pass by in a flash.

The skill level was very high at times but the work rate of the players to regain possession and break up attacks from Wigan was what we expect of everyone who pulls on the red and white stripes.

If we’d won by six or seven, it wouldn’t have been unfair.

A cheap goal conceded

Anthony Patterson made a mistake and as is often the case with goalkeepers, it resulted in an undeserved equaliser.

He kept the score at 1-1 with a strong left-handed save against Blackburn, but he needs to hold onto shots like the one he parried last night. Against better teams, it may swing the game against us.

Injury concerns

We lost both Abdoullah Ba and Alex Pritchard to injury last night.

Although we’ve got great strength in that area of the field, we can’t keep losing players like this.

Hopefully they aren’t long-term problems, and those who came in did very well, including Jay Matete and Leon Dajaku, but we need to get the squad back to full fitness or add to it in the January window if we’re to stay in the top six.

Wigan Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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