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Charlton Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One

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Two Up, Two Down: What were the biggest positives + negatives from Sunderland’s performance?

Despite failing to score, there was plenty to dissect from Sunderland’s performance against Charlton - what were the biggest positives, and the biggest negatives?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Andrew Smithson says...

Tightening up

To now have two clean sheets in a row having looked so fragile before that is an encouraging sign. The defence worked well as individuals and as a unit and stood up physically when needed - if we can keep that up it gives us a strong platform to build on.

Broadhead revisited

I was surprised to see Nathan Broadhead starting but his return is another big plus. He seemed sharp and his presence definitely adds something to our play. I assume adrenaline helped him get through so many minutes and he will have to be managed carefully, particularly with Alex Pritchard walking off gingerly and Jermain Defoe possibly injured too, but he can make a real difference.

Two points dropped?

The hosts have been out of form, so the pessimist in me had feared the worst before kick-off, but in reality, we dominated in terms of possession and chances created so it is a little deflating now not to have won. We are showing signs of progress and four points from six on the road is not bad at all, but I can’t help but feel we’d done enough to take all three points and that if things had fallen for us a little differently we’d be saying that was the perfect away performance.

Incessant

Results elsewhere have once again gone against us for the most part. I keep thinking other sides will blow up but it doesn’t seem to be the case - the league table doesn’t look good at all and it means that we cannot afford to drop many more points. That in turn cranks up the pressure on Tuesday night’s game and we just have to hope another early goal sets us on the way.

Charlton Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One - The Valley Photo by Kieran Cleeves/PA Images via Getty Images

Kelvin Beattie says...

Loooooooooadsa chances!

We created enough chances to win three games, never mind one. I know it is a well-worn cliche, but I would be far more worried if we were not creating chances. On another day, three or 4four of these go in.

Another clean sheet!

Consecutive shutouts can only be good for the collective confidence of the team in games to come. Arby can of course claim some of the limelight for this, he has certainly exceeded my expectations. I had not appreciated how two-footed he is, which always a good skill set for a central defender. Wright has stepped up in these last few games and is leading by example on the pitch. We have been crying out for leaders and he has shown himself. Today I thought our two full backs contributed really well, if mostly in an attacking sense. They were both due good performances and obliged, to make our back four, look solid defensively as well as lively down both flanks offensively.

Itch the Pritch...

Undoubtedly, Alex Pritchard's injury will be a worry until the full extent is known. He has been a bright spark through a very difficult patch, so let’s hope he recovers quickly.

Not quite back to our best...

Having manifested twice as many shots as Charlton, we would have to acknowledge we are not quite back to our slick all-action style, a.k.a. the Sheffield Wednesday game at the Stadium of Light. Logic might argue that making us more solid and less likely to concede was always going to affect our offensive play!

Time will tell whether the point gained or the two points lost will be the focus.

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

Ant Waterson says...

The clean sheet

Sunderland have now kept two clean sheets in a row on the road. This was unheard of a few weeks ago, and the resting of Callum Doyle has been huge. It’s given Doyle a much-needed break, and I’m sure he will come back firing when called upon. But it’s also formed a great partnership between Arby and Wright. Arby had been so unlucky with a terrible knee injury during his time here, and he is showing how good a player he is.

Return of Broadhead

Just what we needed with us having to go on a big winning run - Broadhead did well considering it was his first game for over two months, and the signs showed as his partnership with Stewart looked strong. We are going to need him for the run-in, and it was good to see him get some much-needed minutes.

Dobson strikes again...

It just had to be George fucking Dobson. didn’t it? The man was absolutely useless for us, let’s be honest. But we saw him play the game of his life in the reverse fixture at the SOL, and on Saturday he injured Alex Pritchard. I really hope the injury to our best player isn’t as serious as it looks. Cheers George.

Form of other sides

Whilst I would have bitten your hand off for four points over these two games, I can’t help but think we missed out. Sides around us have games in hand that could see Sunderland drop lower down the league, and we all know this point of the season is where we really need to go on a winning run. We have two very winnable games coming up at home. Six points is a must, I feel.

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