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Swansea City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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What’s the answer to Sunderland’s woes in front of goal?

Saturday’s stalemate with Swansea saw the Lads draw a frustrating blank, but is it down to a lack of service or can our strikers do more? We asked our writers for their thoughts

Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Gav says…

I’m not really sure what the answer is and it seems that Tony Mowbray is struggling to put his finger on it too, given that he keeps tinkering with the front line and the system during games to find a solution.

He was keen to point out after the game that it’s nothing to do with what we’re doing on the training pitch, and that we’re putting plenty of good crosses into the box, so what is it? Well, he seemed to be indicating that it’s the strikers themselves, and I got the hint that he’s now wanting them to own it and take some responsibility.

Nazariy Rusyn had one good chance in the game and was taken off not long into the second half. Personally I would’ve stuck with him and gone with two up top instead of bringing on Bradley Dack, but that’s just me and it’s alright saying it in hindsight.

I don’t really know what the answer is and I suspect Mowbray is desperate to get Eliezer Mayenda out there.

Out of all our centre forwards, he’s the one he’s really bigged up, but it’s a lot of pressure for an eighteen year-old lad to shoulder, especially when he’s been injured all season and is coming in from the French second division. He’s going to need as much time as the rest of them to adapt.

I like the look of Rusyn and I think we just have to stick with him. He makes the right runs and works hard, so it’ll come off eventually.

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

Derek Carter says…

It might seem a strange thing to say after we’ve just registered twenty five shots in a single game, but my general thought is that as a team, we tend not to shoot enough and always seem to be looking for that extra pass.

Obviously we have exceptions to that in Pierre Ekwah, Dan Neil and occasionally Jack Clarke, but I feel that some of the other lads suffer a nose bleed with faced with the thought of scoring.

In my opinion, it’s a symptom of playing without an out-and-out striker for so long, because although we’ve developed a passing game that’s great to watch, we seem to have forgotten that not every goal needs to be world class and that we’re allowed to resort to the ancient art of just ‘leathering the get’ when required.

It could be that some of these kids are intimidated by the thought of being given a bit of stick from the crowd if they mess up, but if they can show a bit more courage, the sound of success will be so much more enjoyable and hopefully contagious.

Remember lads, in the words of the great bard Del Boy, ‘He who dares, wins’.

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

Malc Dugdale says...

I think Saturday was a bit of all of the above.

Strikers thrive on confidence and once they start firing they will hopefully be hard to stop, but the longer the present situation carries on, the more they feel the pressures and the more the confidence is eroded. This can only be changed by goals coming from the strike force so time will hopefully sort that, as well as hard work on the training ground and varying all the options to find those that work best.

The service is of course a factor and as the wider team work more with the strikers this will improve too. The through ball from Jobe to Rusyn was lovely to see Saturday and if he had slotted that rather than slipping and putting it wide we wouldn’t be having these discussions.

Luck was also a huge aspect of Saturday’s draw… we hit the woodwork on multiple occasions and the defence that ten-man Swansea put up had elements of good fortune too, but the fact we had over twenty goes at scoring says a lot.

Saturday was one of them days when with an in-form striker and a bit more luck and confidence we would have strolled to a win by several goals, but we didn’t.

We have to learn from that and improve, but we also have to accept that as we build this young squad into a really strong top six side we will lose some games, and we will draw others we should win.

Tony has some work to do but it was one of those bad days at the office for us and while we need to work hard to prevent it repeating, we shouldn’t panic either, as this is part of life with a team like ours.

They’ll get better and very soon, but they’ll have off days too.


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