Third time is charmless for Mowbray and the Lads
For the third time in a week Sunderland have found themselves on the wrong end of a result, and fans have found themselves scratching their heads.
Successive 2-1 league defeats are the bread in a Shootout-Defeat sandwich.
The match at Deepdale was at best, forgettable, but there was still much to talk about after the final whistle.
Dack = Pritchard v2.0
With Stewart and Mayenda on the physio bench, and Hemir relegated to the substitute bench it was back to more of the same (but different). Sunderland adopted the strikerless false 9 approach, a position we became accustomed to seeing Alex Pritchard in last season.
This time however it was the new and not match-fit signing Bradley Dack filling the position.
A peculiar decision and for what Pritchard lacked in pace and striker’s prowess, he made up for in workrate and delicacy - but we didn’t see much of anything like the same from Dack in that role.
What was meant to be Pritchard 2.0 ended up being Pritchard 0.5, however it was certainly not Dack’s fault.
To drop a new lad specifically brought in to play striker (who remember made a La Liga defence look daft at times in the summer) seems like a wrong move for many reasons, not least the future development of Hemir’s talent.
Pitiful goals conceded
Three games played, five goals conceded, and not a single one of them has been well earned or deserved - two deflections, an instance of terrible defending from a corner and two passes that we have allowed through that forbidden path between centre back and full back.
This only adds to the frustration of fans because last season, when we were strikerless and goals were hard to come by, the one thing that we were able to rely on was a pretty rock-solid and unflappable defence.
Yesterday was the third time in seven days that we’ve been blunt in attack, but suicidal without the ball, and that combination does not sit well.
Worryingly - we’ve not even got to the hard stuff yet!
I know it’s very early days, and normally I’m the one shooting down all the doom prophets this soon into a new season but…
What last season would have likely been four points and a clean sheet, instead has us as only one of four teams yet to score a point in the Championship (with Sheffield Wednesday, Boro and Huddersfield).
The slightly more worrying thing is that Ipswich at home, Preston away and Rotherham at home will have been seen by many as a good chance to make a strong (and a possible 9-point) start to the season before going into tougher fights against Coventry and Southampton.
The way things have been going for us since being (semi) embarrassed by Hartlepool, it's the sad reality that unless something clicks it really could be winless in five, with Mowbray under pressure, and the whole season starts to take a different tone.
Maybe it’s me “doom-typing” straight after the disappointment of the game, but hey… it's definitely a point to talk about.
Finish on a positive
It’s not all sorrow here, and I’m going to finish on a positive - how good was Patrick Roberts?!
I’ve been a massive advocate of Roberts’ importance to us since he signed for us and maybe because of that maybe it’s a little biased, but jeez if we are able to pick out anything good in what we did I’d be willing to bet my mortgage that it will have come directly or indirectly from the boot of our number 10.
It’s clear he’s missing his buddy Amad in the build up of attacks, but he’s trying to do more himself and it’s the most threatening we look when he does.
In total, 28 players graced the pitch and such was the nature of the game only one man out of all of them deserved to be on a winning team - and that was Patrick Roberts.