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Ipswich Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Portman Road

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Two Up, Two Down: What were the positives & negatives from Sunderland’s performance?

It was a frustrating result for the Lads as Kieran McKenna’s side rallied to secure a 2-1 victory on Saturday night. What did our writers make of the game?

Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images

Gav says...

A good performance from Abdoullah Ba

Given the reaction to the team news on social media when it was announced that Ba was starting, I was really glad to see him play well off that right hand side.

He had George Edmundson in particular in his pocket and played a huge part in our goal.

He really needed it, because it’s been a while since he did anything of note. I guess that’s the issue when you have a young player often being moved around different positions, and you can expect inconsistency.

Still, I thought he did well in this one.

Jack Clarke shines again

Our top goalscorer was at it again with another thunderous finish.

Every team we face now has a game plan specifically designed to restrict Clarke, yet his quality shines through and more often than not he manages to find a way round whatever they’ve got planned for him in order to make an impact on the game.

I’m just enjoying him while he’s here.

Adil Aouchiche’s cameo

What an awful change.

I like Aouchiche and I think he’s got so much more to offer than what we’ve seen, but there aren’t any excuses for missing chances like the one he had, because you simply have to put those away.

If it’s 2-1 to us at that point, it’s an entirely different game. But he didn’t score and then to make matters worse, he gave a stupid free kick away which allowed Ipswich to score the winner.

An afternoon to forget, and he really needs to start taking his chances to shine sooner rather than later.

Sunderland’s team selection

I understood the decision to include Ba, as everyone knows how dangerous Leif Davis is.

We saw last week what a mistake it is not going with someone on the right hugging the line high up. It allows the full back to advance much more than they would if they had someone occupying them in their own half.

We put nobody really ahead of Trai Hume versus Newcastle and it allowed their left hand side to take the piss, so including Ba was a fine choice and I was OK with that.

However, how do you drop Nazariy Rusyn when he’d scored a goal in our last league game?

Jobe actually held the ball up well at times but he’s not got the pace to get in behind, and that’s what we needed, especially against the carthorses Ipswich had at the back. I saw them against Leeds United the other week and it’s basically how Leeds won the game.

There was time to remedy that but by the time Rusyn was introduced, it was far too late.

If they don’t rate the lad, I really hope we sign a striker sooner rather than later so we can just focus on something else other than what’s going on up front, because it’s becoming boring.

Ipswich Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - Portman Road Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images

Phil West says...

Abdoullah Ba shows his worth

In twenty eight years of watching Sunderland, I’ve seen quite a few players to whom you could affix the term ‘unpredictable’, and Ba is certainly among them.

At times, he looks out of sorts and prone to making rash decisions, and then on other occasions, as was the case at Portman Road, everything will click and he’ll look like a real threat.

Ba was excellent on Saturday.

Not only did he set up Jack Clarke’s thunderous goal, but he sought to play with positivity and always tried to get us up the pitch with powerful runs and tricky dribbling.

His substitution in the second half was baffling and it didn’t pay off, but on a night of frustration for those in red and white, Ba showed that he really can play a major role for us.

Dan Neil strides through another game

Neil is destined for the Premier League and it’s now an undeniable fact.

He’s an absolutely class act and this was another game during which he demonstrated that he’s blessed with everything you could possibly want in a midfielder. Nothing fazes him, and he’s able to adapt to whatever kind of challenge he faces.

Enjoy him for as long as he wears his beloved red and white stripes, folks. He won’t be here for very much longer, that’s for sure.

Points thrown away

To be frank, I didn’t think Ipswich were anything special on Saturday night, and after Clarke opened the scoring (and added even more to his potential transfer value in the process), we were in prime position to take at least a point out of the game, even after Kayden Jackson levelled matters shortly afterwards.

However, when Adil Aouchiche conceded a needless free kick which was duly headed home by Conor Chaplin, our fragilities were exposed again and turned what could’ve easily been a victory into another annoying loss.

We’ve got to smarten up, sharpen up, and ensure that these sloppy mistakes and needless errors are eradicated, and fast.

Nazariy Rusyn left on the bench

Have you heard about the Sunderland striker who scored in his previous league appearance and was then dropped to the bench for the next league game?

Sadly, there’s no witty punchline here and simply put, Rusyn’s omission from the starting eleven on Saturday was absurd. How on Earth are we meant to find out exactly what a player has to offer if he’s not given a run of games? It just felt like an incredibly harsh call from Michael Beale, and it didn’t work out.

Surely Rusyn has to start against Hull. If he doesn’t, it would be even more ridiculous and would leave Beale open to more criticism.

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


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