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Plymouth Argyle v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Two Up, Two Down: What are the positives & negatives from Sunderland’s performance at Plymouth?

The long trip to Devon ended in frustration as the Lads were beaten 2-0 by the Pilgrims on Saturday. We asked our writers for their thoughts on the game

Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Gav says…

Aouchiche & Mayenda offer promise

Whilst ultimately they didn’t get us the goals we needed after going 2-0 down, the introductions of Adil Aouchiche and Eliezer Mayenda did improve Sunderland from an attacking perspective and I liked the majority of what I saw from them both.

We’re at the stage in the season where games are coming every three or four days and Tony Mowbray has no option but to rotate and keep things fresh.

They’re two that I’d like to see an awful lot more of in the coming weeks.

Ballard imperious

Dan Ballard was a serious doubt going into the game because he picked up an injury on international duty, so it was a bit of a surprise to see him starting — and I’m glad he did, because he was very good throughout, at both ends of the pitch.

He’s just fantastic and I’m making the most of him while he’s here, because he stands out as a player who’s above this level, consistently.

The same old mistakes repeated

We concede the same type of goal consistently and it does my head in.

It was far too easy for Plymouth, particularly with their second, and I have to ask why our right back was at the top end of the pitch trying to get on the end of a long ball when only seconds later, Plymouth broke down his side of the pitch and scored.

Our defending for both goals just wasn’t good enough, and I’m really frustrated.

Frustration for Patrick Roberts

I’m getting bored of repeating myself on this, but as fantastic as I think Roberts is, he’s just not justifying Mowbray’s loyalty in him at the minute.

He had chances to score and fluffed it; he had easy chances to slip people in and couldn’t manage it, and was then brought off.

I’m keen to see what Aouchiche can do on a more frequent basis and I can’t help but feel Roberts’s presence in the team is preventing him from having more of a chance than he’s had thus far, and we need to start seeing more from him.

Plymouth Argyle v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Joseph Tulip says…

Some decent football played

The stats show that we created more than Plymouth and had the lion’s share of possession, so although things didn’t go our way on Saturday, I think we can quickly move on from this game with a home clash against Huddersfield to look forward to on Wednesday.

The depth to rotate

There’s been talk of resting several players for a while now, with Patrick Roberts struggling for form and Jobe Bellingham having played a lot of games for someone so young, so we’re are fortunate in that we have depth in the squad.

The impact of Adil Aouchiche in the second half is a sign that he’s knocking on the door, while Eliezer Mayenda is also a viable option.

I also think Alex Pritchard could come back into contention, should Tony Mowbray look to change things up a bit.

Defensive frailties

Let’s not get bogged down on this.

It was one of those days and it’s not like Sunderland to return home empty handed from an away fixture these days.

We’ve had defensive disruption lately, with Luke O’Nien just returning from suspension and Dan Ballard playing with an injury picked up while on international duty.

Back on home turf against Huddersfield!

Let’s give Tony Mowbray and the Lads a chance to get the house in order and put things right at the Stadium of Light in midweek.


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