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Sunderland v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship

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Two Up, Two Down: What are the positives and negatives from Sunderland’s performance v Norwich?

Against Norwich City on Saturday, the Lads turned in a much-improved home performance and the win was fully deserved. What did our writers make of the game?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Kyle Garrett says…

Ekwah makes an impact

The Pierre Ekwah we all know was back yesterday.

I lost count of the number of times he played that raking switched pass to Patrick Roberts, and he was strong in the tackle and tidy in possession.

A good performance from our French midfielder.

Brilliant Ballard

He’s so good, isn’t he? He wins everything in the air and players bounce off him if they get anywhere near him.

He’ll be playing in the Premier League next season, irrespective of where we are.

Jaded Jobe?

I don’t think anyone expected Jobe to be as good as he’s been this season, and that’s really positive, but in the last couple of games he’s looked a bit leggy and in need of a rest.

Chris Rigg has been waiting in the wings and I think it’s his time to have a go from the off!

Another slow start

That’s the third game in a row where we’ve conceded in the first twenty minutes or so.

It shouldn’t take the opposition scoring for us to start playing, and it’s frustrating because Norwich were really poor and it could’ve been a very easy clean sheet for the Lads.

Sunderland v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Lars Knutsen says…

Sunderland’s intensity returns

This is a very tough league, and players can’t afford to drop their focus for a moment and expect to come out of games well.

We had a lapse of concentration for Norwich’s goal but Hwang Ui-Jo still had to convert the chance, and I thought it motivated our players to do what they do best: play the ball through the midfield in neat triangular moves.

Neil and Ekwah shine in the middle

Saturday showed how much we’ve missed the Dan Neil and Pierre Ekwah midfield combo.

Theoretically, they’re there to protect the back four but the pair both provide a goal threat, and it was great to see Neil net his third of the season.

Ongoing striker concerns

We still have some confusion around strikers, and I reckon it’s now twenty games since we had a striker score, if Joe Gelhardt counts.

Nazariy Rusyn impressed, but when Hemir came on he was very close to a headed goal. We do need one of these four summer signings to come good, and soon.

A flat atmosphere?

Finally, the Stadium of Light crowd seemed a bit subdued after recent losses to Cardiff and Middlesbrough.

It was as if the fans were expecting some home hesitancy, which we managed to avoid in the end.

Malc Dugdale says…

Ending the losing run

It was important after a good showing at Leicester that we got something from the game yesterday and after we went 1-0 down, the concerns were significant for me.

However, the way we bounced back and won comfortably in the end was great to see.

That was more than stopping the rot; it was a classy performance and Norwich didn’t really seem likely to cause many problems at all.

Successful attacking changes

Starting Nazariy Rusyn made a real difference and although he didn’t score, he definitely added a dimension which helped us to get the upper hand.

In addition, Hemir looked hungry and keen to score when he came on, and although he didn’t get a goal, he got into some great positions and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet.

It was great to see us trying different things and the players showing promise.

Another sloppy goal

We got off to a decent start, but Pierre Ekwah not playing to the whistle in the build up to Norwich’s goal was an unnecessary blip in a good performance.

That aside, he had a good game and is getting back to his old self. We know when he’s at full strength, he’s amazing, so let’s see that again very soon.

No second negative!

This was a strong performance which has brought us back into the playoff picture.

We have a couple of winnable games coming up, so let’s see the Lads swap the losing run for a winning one!

Sunderland v Norwich City - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Will Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images


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