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Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship

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Talking Points: 15 goals, 7 games - was all the fuss about Sunderland signing a striker for nothing?

We run over the key Talking Points from the Blackburn win, with Jack Clarke’s form, “Mr Consistent” Dan Neil, Ballard’s defending, and whether we actually need a striker all on the agenda!

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Jack Clarke is simply unplayable at the moment and has responded perfectly to transfer uncertainty!

I can’t remember seeing a Sunderland winger quite as direct as Jack Clarke.

He had the Blackburn defence on strings tonight and despite a highly uncertain summer with endless Burnley bids and agent tantrums on Twitter, the ex-Tottenham winger looks more confident than ever.

With five goals already, he is really bringing more consistency to his end product and every time he gets the ball you feel something is coming.

That last goal to finish the game was just tremendous, the composure to sit two opponents down and just effortlessly slot the ball away - long may his run of form continue!

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Take a seat Aynsley!
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

A consistent performer going slightly under the radar? Step up Dan Neil!

We have raved about Pierre Ekwah all season long (and rightly so), but a man I feel does deserve more credit for being a consistent performer is Dan Neil.

Scorer of a fantastic goal tonight, Neil appears to have cut giving the ball away in ridiculous areas out of his game and has vastly improved the defensive side of his game since Corry Evans suffered a long-term injury.

The academy graduate is one of the first names on the teamsheet at the minute and is maturing fantastically as a more all-around midfielder.

It’s always satisfying to see local lads doing so well.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Two goals already this season for Dan Neil!
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Was Sunderland’s best piece of transfer business all summer Dan Ballard signing a new four-year deal?

That block... just wow!

There’s something about a defender celebrating a block like a goal that I just absolutely love.

There’s well and truly a new Big Danny in town and boy did he put in a performance against Blackburn. Winning headers, slide tackles, making endless goalline blocks, it’s crazy to think he only cost £2 million, what were Arsenal thinking?

The fact we managed to tie the Northern Irish international down to a new deal was a brilliant piece of long-term business and I think Ballard staying fit is absolutely crucial to Sunderland’s playoff hopes this season.

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Battling from start to finish!
Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

A team averaging two goals per game, yet no goal for a striker - what were we panicking for?

You spend all summer worrying about losing a striker, he leaves, and at the time you don’t really have a senior like-for-like so you panic and worry, then football is football and shows just how mad a game it really is.

15 goals, the league’s joint-highest scorers, and yet not a single one of them has been scored by a striker.

Now that’s not to say Sunderland wouldn’t benefit from one, it would be highly welcomed Nazariy Rusyn could hit the ground running and bag 20, but it’s certainly reassuring that even though Hemir and Mason Burstow haven’t quite fired so far, we can rely on the team to create and spread the goals around.

It will be interesting as time goes on to see if we do end up with a more regular goalscorer upfront, or if we continue as quite a fluid side with goals coming from absolutely everywhere.

As long as they go in, who cares where they come from?

Blackburn Rovers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
The victory moved Sunderland up to fourth in the Championship.
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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