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Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship

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Two Up, Two Down: Opening day blues as Sunderland slip up against Ipswich

A patchy performance led to a frustrating defeat as the Lads kicked off their 2023/2024 Championship campaign. What were the positives and negatives from the game?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Anthony Gair says...

A good first half

We came out of the blocks looking for an early goal and playing in the same exciting way as we did at the back end of last season, albeit lacking that quality in the final third.

Jobe Bellingham should’ve scored but you can’t blame him for the full time result, and we’ll get better if we can play like that for ninety minutes.

Nothing to worry about!

I seriously don’t believe we have anything to worry about with that performance.

There were a few defensive jitters which will be ironed out with minutes on the field, and we desperately need Ross Stewart to come back fit and scoring.

Defensive mistakes

We gave the ball away far too often in our own half, either through trying to pass too quickly or panicking on the ball, which led to multiple chances for Ipswich.

This needs to be coached out of the players as they gain more minutes through the season.

Toothless up top

We should’ve scored more than once in this game.

Hemir is new to the intensity of English football and he’ll gain confidence the more minutes he plays.

Stewart is the answer to all of this.

Sunderland v RCD Mallorca - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images,

Joseph Tulip says...

Some signs of our best?

This was one of those games where things just didn’t quite go our way, but there were so many positives to take from it.

Jack Clarke and Patrick Roberts started the campaign in the same vein as they finished last season, causing Ipswich plenty of problems with their relentless running, movement, bringing others into play and creating opportunities.

Our passing was very crisp during the first thirty minutes, and also in the latter stages when we were piling on the pressure with ten men.

A good late flourish

We didn’t start the second half well, as we were clearly reeling from going a goal behind on the stroke of half time.

This can happen with young players and we must be patient, but we can take comfort from the way we generated some late momentum and fought tirelessly to the 103rd minute.

We were unlucky not to snatch a late equaliser.

The rub of the green

Rather than dwell on Jobe’s missed opportunity on the rebound from Pierre Ekwah’s shot, it was clear that we should’ve had a penalty when Clarke was hauled down in the box.

I always believe that decisions balance themselves out over a season but the reality is that we were punished for not scoring when we were on top in the first thirty minutes of the game.

Playing the long game?

There’s no doubt that we’re giving game time to young players for long term gain, but it was clear that we’re doing this at the expense of experienced heads.

Whilst Jobe has huge potential, I can’t help but feel that Alex Pritchard would’ve given us a bit more cutting edge in the final third from the number ten position.

Of course Pritchard and Lynden Gooch were introduced later, but it was a different stage of the game by that point.

I don’t mind if we’re going even further down the route of youth, but perhaps we’ll have to be even more patient in terms of results as the new lads take time to adjust to the Championship and their new surroundings.

Sean Brown says...

Footy is back!

I think I’ve lost my mind since last season ended, so everything else in life can stop now.

There are important matters at hand once again, like wondering if we’ll use Chris Rigg against Crewe on Tuesday night, trying to find out how much money we squeezed from the Isaac Lihadji deal and drooling over just how promising a player young Jobe Bellingham is.

A squad with real character

We really did play some sexy football at times- dominating possession, winning midfield battles and making exciting breaks to attempt to overwhelm the Ipswich back line and hilarious keeper, who honestly looked like a competition winner (until ruining everything with a great save to deny Dan Neil at the end) but maybe I’m just too happy the season has returned to find many negatives.

I found the game itself exciting, especially when we decided to throw the kitchen sink - Dan Ballard and the rest - at them after losing Trai Hume to a second yellow.

No fucks were given and Lynden Gooch proved once again that despite his lack of technical ability in comparison to some of the talent we have available, his passion, determination, strength and experience can come in handy when heads start to drop.

Need more help up top

As I wipe the blood from my hands after all of my happy clapping, I find myself leaning towards getting a couple of strikers in, just in case Hemir needs a bit longer to settle.

However, this is no criticism of the lad.

He’s young and that was his first league game in English football, so I can’t be overly critical of him but I do think that taking him off to put on the lad who might’ve actually got the ball to him was a perplexing tactical decision.

He’s not getting any shorter, Jack...

We need to make the best of our set piece opportunities, especially when we’re dominating the opposition like we did in the first half.

Jack Clarke has a habit of hitting the first man and he seems to think at some point they’ll magically shrink a good foot and a half. Gooch and Luke O’Nien put better balls in under higher pressure at times but still, what can you do with a lad like Clarke who has that ability to suddenly turn it on?

It’s no good having all the opportunities we have without capitalising on them, and hopefully we’ll improve as the season goes on. ‎

Sunderland v Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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