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Sunderland v Watford - Sky Bet Championship

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Matchday Musings: We’re really good, aren’t we?

Sunderland went to town at Wednesday last week, and focus quickly turned to our midweek home tie with Watford, and hopes that we’d make going to town on Wednesday a common theme in the past five days. 

Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

After a typically coy Tony Mowbray pre-match press conference, a fresh injury woe was confirmed, but to, as always remained undisclosed.

With speculation around Dan Neil and Trai Hume being the mysterious walking wounded, when it came to team announcements, it was actually Alex Pritchard who was the glaring omission from the starting XI, with Abdoullah Ba coming in to replace him.

Aside from Ba’s inclusion, we remained unchanged from Friday’s 0-3 win, with Mason Burstow keeping his place and leading the line.

Watford hadn’t won at the Stadium of Light since 2015, and with last season’s meeting ending in 2-2 a draw, the red and white wizards would certainly have had their eyes on extending that unbeaten run. And extend it they did.

Despite a productive first half an hour, where we knocked it around beautifully, as has been so characteristic of this side, we looked a little lost in the final third and it seemed it might be one of those frustrating evenings where the opposition sit with all 11 men behind the ball. In instances such as these, it often takes a moment of inspired individual class.

In this case, the origin of that brilliance came in the unlikely form of Niall Huggins who took it upon himself to cut in from his right flank and take on three Hornets defenders before guiding the ball emphatically into the top corner for his first goal for the club - sending us into the break a goal to the good.

Sunderland v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The second-half didn’t really burst into life, rather it slowly meandered into a classic case of Sunderland being in cruise control. Watford were arguably the brighter side in the opening exchanges, but looked toothless up front, and rarely threatened Patterson in goal.

On the hour mark after a hopeful ball into the box, Jobe’s looping header was met by a grateful Ba who headed home to put us 2-0 up and out of reach.

The last half an hour had an air of last week to it, with us just sitting deep and nonchalantly knocking it around the back as if we were in a training session.

This was a performance as comfortable as they come, and our refreshing young side once again thrived. Special mentions to Niall Huggins who was faultless down the right, as well as Abdoullah Ba who was relishing another starting berth.

An all-round professional performance from start to finish from Mogga’s young Mackems.

Onto Saturday!


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