Strong start meant game was done within 10 minutes
In our last away game, at Blackburn, we got off to a really sluggish start, which gave the home team an advantage and buoyed the crowd. Last night, we quickly sucked out any confidence Sheffield Wednesday may have had in their team or the stands. We dominated the early stages, pressed Wednesday well and got an early goal, which was quickly followed by a second. When we can do this, teams can’t live with us – the other game when we’re really done this superbly was at home to Southampton – and its important we keep trying to do this against better teams in the games we’ve got coming up.
Was this a case of us being good or Sheffield Wednesday being awful?
A bit of both, to be honest. They are a dire team – and there’s so much turmoil going on there it’s no surprise they looked as bad as they did. I do feel sorry for them. I like Sheffield Wednesday and their fans deserve a hell of a lot better. We’ve been there before – we all know the feeling, and hopefully they can get a new owner. But for us, we can only beat what’s in front of us, and we did it without really getting out of second gear.
Burstow performance shows the value of a ‘proper’ striker
Hands up, I would have left Burstow out of the team for last night’s game – but he turned in an excellent performance. He linked the ball well, played a lovely pass out to Clarke for the second, and won the penalty for our third with a neat turn. We’ve talked a lot about having to play without a striker for most of last season, even though he didn’t score, Burstow showed a good instinct to make good runs and take on shots. He’ll get a goal soon, and that’ll see him grow in confidence.
Jack Clarke’s price tag just keeps going up
What can you say about Jack Clarke? He’s stepped it up a level from last season, and already has seven goals to his name for the season. His first last night was a super strike from a player with a load of confidence, and it’s so pleasing to see. He’s enjoying his football, he’s playing in a good team that’s set up to showcase his ability. It’s likely he’ll be playing in the Premier League next season – hopefully it’ll be with us. Regardless, for any clubs interested in bidding for him in January, he’s likely already added on another £10m to his price tag. It’d take £25m+ to get him now, surely?
Should we have gone for it more in the second half?
The only (very minor) negative from last night was our second-half display. Mowbray was disappointed by it too. We could have had any number of goals we wanted last night, but sat back after 10 minutes of the second half and played the game out. Professional? Absolutely. Smart to conserve some energy for the upcoming games? Of course. But as a fan, I want to see us being ruthless and relentless, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say we could have reached seven or eight – or even double figures. Given our last league visit to Hillsborough, however, I’ll certainly take a convincing 3-0 win!
Should we have used our subs a little better?
A minor criticism, but I was surprised we didn’t make any halftime subs, and would have liked to have seen more of Rusyn and Aouchiche. I wouldn’t be surprised if AA was given a start in midweek – he looks a proper player, and could be a star for us.
How does Pierre Ekwah get back into that midfield?
If you’d said before the QPR game that, in three games’ time, you’d be asking that question, you’d have been carted off. But really, who do you drop? Pritchard’s probably playing the best football of his Sunderland career, while Bellingham’s been superb and Neil outstanding. Nice problem to have – Pierre could have a wait to get back into the side.