Stats all, folks!
Football is about so much more than cold hard statistics, but a quick glance at the facts and figures from this match tells you everything you need to know.
Sunderland battered Swansea City in so many aspects, but the one thing that mattered most- the full time score- was frustrating to say the least.
The Lads dominated possession, with over 70% according to most sources, and created a host of chances, but the final product was sadly lacking. Three shots on target is very disappointing given how much pressure was applied, and a lack of confidence in front of goal was clearly evident.
Had we nudged ahead, the floodgates may have opened, but instead we were left to rue some poor decision making, a touch of bad luck and a few too many wayward finishes when it mattered the most.
A point made
I would’ve probably taken a point ahead of kick off, but the way things panned out means the game has to be classed as a missed opportunity.
We were already the better side before Swansea’s red card and a winner often felt likely, but they dealt well with the numerical disadvantage and were it not for Anthony Patterson’s excellent penalty save, things could’ve been even tougher.
Had that spot kick gone in, it would’ve been a dreadful time to concede but given the lack of draws this season, it’s a bit of a surprise that there wasn’t a winner either way.
A desire to push forward has sometimes seen us get caught out, and it’s a shame that a stalemate on the road – which can so often be classed as a good thing – has on this occasion come as a bit of a downer.
Change is good?
A lot was made of Tony Mowbray’s comments before the game regarding Hemir, but given the way the head coach nurtures and deals with his players, you have to assume it was a calculated move to try and get a reaction from his forward.
Some players need a proverbial kick up the backside and Mowbray certainly wouldn’t have decided to speak up out of malice, but if his intention was to put a bit of fire in the Portuguese striker’s belly, it may take a while to see if it pays off.
Certainly, Hemir was unable to make a difference this time but then again, neither did any of the other attacking changes.
It can be hard to get up to speed in a game when the opposition is having to shut up shop and the pressure is on, but with fresh legs going up against ten men, it’s a shame the switches didn’t fully click.
Set pieces have long been seen as a way to get at Sunderland, and of course the penalty award came from one here.
The Lads got away with it this time, but Birmingham City will doubtless look at the suspension of Dan Ballard as a real bonus ahead of next weekend and will look to exploit his absence.
To make matters worse, not only was he booked against Swansea but so was Luke O’Nien. Mowbray has only made changes to his defence when dictated to by injury, but he’ll now need to undertake a major reshuffle.
Whether he decides to shift Trai Hume across or not, you’d assume there’ll be at least one player having to make their first start for the club in the centre of defence and given how settled that unit has looked during the campaign, it’s something the gaffer could’ve done without.
Fears have been growing recently about burnout for Jobe, but with the height he offers and the back four requiring a lot of work in the coming days, that may now be seen as a change too many.
Although the three points we perhaps deserved weren’t forthcoming, at least Swansea’s dominance over Sunderland in recent years has now been halted.
Four defeats out of the last four didn’t make for pleasant reading, nor did only two victories out of twenty for the Lads prior to kick off.
Before that sequence, when they were still Swansea Town, things were a lot more positive, and it would be nice to get back into a similar vein in the return fixture, as last time at the Stadium of Light, a controversial red for O’Nien hit us hard.
Swansea reacted well to Charlie Patino’s dismissal on Saturday, but they don’t seem unplayable despite the recent record and if we’ve found our shooting boots by then, we’ll want to make our mark.