We didn’t “do a Sunderland”!
Before the game I was a little bit worried - given how much of a shitshow Sheffield Wednesday are at the minute and that they haven’t won a game all season - that we’d inevitably “do a Sunderland” and manage to find a way to lose. What was I even worried about? The Lads were absolutely mint and started the game exactly as we should have, on the front foot which in turn set the home crowd against the players and gave us the perfect environment in which to thrive. We are a far more stable and professional outfit than we’ve been in years, and “doing a Sunderland” seems to have become a thing of the past. Now we just get the job done.
On the Preview Pod this week I was talking about the potential of resting Mason Burstow and trying something new. I didn’t think he started very well in his first three appearances in a Sunderland shirt and that it was maybe time to do something else. How wrong I was! Yes, it was against an absolutely woeful opponent in Sheffield Wednesday but he really led the line well and played and important part in two of the goals. The next step for him is to get himself a goal or two, but it’ll come sooner rather than later if he keeps playing like he did at Hillsborough.
Mogga’s subs weren’t great
This might seem like I’m nitpicking but I thought that given we were 3-0 up at the break and with two huge games coming in the next eight days that it was a great chance to give a few of the Lads a full 45 minutes to show their worth. Particularly Rusyn, who could have came on earlier for Clarke on the left to rest his legs, particularly given how important he is, and Aouchiche, who looks very ‘ready’ in comparison to some of the others. I would have liked to have seen Rigg earlier than we did too. Again, Mogga will have his reasons for why he didn’t do it earlier and I suspect it was because he didn’t want to change too much which could have allowed Sheff Wed a sniff at a chance of getting back in the game, but it does feel a little bit like a missed opportunity.
I’ll keep the last word for their owner. What an odious little bastard he is. On the same day that he puts a pathetic statement out saying he’s going to stop putting money into the club because the fans don’t like the way he’s doing things, there are constant advertisements of his name and branding throughout the game - CHANSIRI flashing up every two minutes on the pitchside LED boards. Clearly, he has no shame. For any Wednesday fans reading this - stand firm. He’ll be gone soon. We’ve been there and yes it’s shit, but you’ll outlive him and before you know it you’ll be back on your feet.
Kingsley Reavley says...
Sunderland in cruise control!
The way we dominated the game throughout was exceptional for such a young team.
Everyone knew their roles and carried them out perfectly. Dan Neil in particular dictating play in a quarterback-type role was a joy to watch.
The game itself was reminiscent of Reading away last season, where our dynamism, youthful exuberance, high press and intricate play just blew the opponents away.
How many times have Sunderland fans been cheering ‘ole’ in the first half during an away game?
A great night all round.
Clarke dazzles again
Just how good is Jack Clarke?
I recall watching him in League One after he signed and thinking if we could get him into a solid rhythm and playing with confidence, we would have a special player on our hands, and now that time has come.
Every time the ball was at his feet last night, he oozed class and tried to make something positive happen. His first goal is becoming a bit of a hallmark, with him cutting in from the left and then bending it into the far corner.
As he continues to perform consistently well at this level there's no doubt his value will soar. If we’re on course for promotion in January I don’t see any reason why he would leave though.
Some second-half sloppiness?
Sheffield Wednesday were abysmal.
They looked devoid of confidence and clearly a club in turmoil. Playing Jeff Hendrick and Callum Paterson in midfield meant they were always going to be in for a long night.
Therefore, could we not have gone for the jugular a little more in the second half and tried to replicate a scoreline like our neighbours up the road achieved at Bramall Lane a few days ago?
There won’t be many better opportunities to score a hatful and it would’ve been a nice boost to our goal difference.
Another blank for Burstow
I really like the look of Mason Burstow and he seems to be another shrewd acquisition by the recruitment team. I’m just grateful to finally have an athletic 6’2 centre forward as focal point after going so long last season without a recognised number 9.
However, after all his hard work off the ball, it was a bit gutting not seeing him get his first goal in a Sunderland shirt.
The Dennis Bergkamp-like touch to win the penalty was sensational and his overall contribution more than justified his inclusion in the starting eleven.
Hopefully his first goal is just around the corner.
Phil West says...
An effortless victory
It’s often been quite rare that Sunderland make such light work of opponents, but this was about as stress-free an evening as we could’ve wished for.
We seldom got out of third gear against the Owls, with our slick passing, sharp movement and work in and out of possession ensuring that the beleaguered hosts seldom had a sniff.
In the second half, we eased off somewhat- sometimes to the detriment of our shape and discipline- but that can be forgiven when all the hard work was done in the first forty five minutes, and I don’t think there’ll be too many complaints as a result.
‘Nice and easy’ was the theme of this victory, and it was very enjoyable.
Clarke lights up a game once again
What more can you say about the deadly winger who seems to get better with every game he plays?
Post-game, our Roker Report colleague Craig Chapman placed Clarke in the same lofty bracket as the great Allan Johnston. High praise, but on showings like this, it’s tough to argue against that.
With two goals (the first of which was a sublime and unstoppable finish after a trademark burst forward) and a performance of skill and overall hard work, Clarke demonstrated that he’s one of the best and most potent attackers in the league.
His goal total from 2022/2023 seems certain to be surpassed this season, and his value continues to soar as the games go by.
Mixed fortunes for Mason Burstow
Overall, I liked the on-loan Chelsea striker’s performance on Friday.
He was industrious, showed great skill for the turn that led to a penalty, and he was a threat to the Wednesday defence for the majority of the game.
OK, he didn’t score, but this felt like a step forward as he seeks to establish himself as our go-to striker, and we did seem to play to his strengths a little more, which was good to see.
That first goal will hopefully arrive soon, and he’d certainly deserve it after a workmanlike performance on Friday night.
We want four, five, and six!
OK, so the game was essentially won by half time and it was understandable that the players eased off in the second half as we sought to conserve energy ahead of a key double-header next week.
On the other hand, did we perhaps miss a trick by not adding to the scoreline and thereby serving even further notice of our intentions for this season?
Had we replicated our first half performance after the interval, the scoreboard operator might well have been working overtime, because there were certainly more goals available for us.
However, you can’t complain too much and overall, this was a thoroughly professional and enjoyable night’s work.