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Sunderland v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet Championship

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What were the positives and negatives from Sunderland’s victory over Plymouth?

Despite falling behind to a messy goal in the first half, the Lads fought back to secure the win with three goals after the break. What did our writers make of the game?

Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Jon Guy says...

A good team performance

There were lots of positives to take from our display.

We dominated possession and other than a wobble after Plymouth’s goal, we stuck to the task, and whatever was said at half time, we got better as the game went on.

There was also some game time for Chris Rigg and Romaine Mundle and it was probably the best performance under Michael Beale.

Dan Neil shines again

What a performance from Neil, who’s becoming the player we always knew he would be.

Some knock him, but he really is a class act. He pulled all the strings and was as good in his defensive duties as he was on the front foot.

Our striker conundrum continues

Nazariy Rusyn looks to be the best of the strikers we have, as he’s mobile and puts in a real shift.

He made some good runs but we don’t seem to be set up to feed him in positions where he can have a clear sight of goal.

Whether the plan is to occupy the centre halves and make space for the midfielders and wingers, I don’t know, but it must be frustrating to lead the Sunderland line.

Poor judgement from Anthony Patterson

Patterson didn’t have a huge amount to do but you could argue that he was at fault for the goal.

Trai Hume had the striker squared up and Patterson should’ve moved back onto his line, so the chip wouldn’t have been on.

Instead, he charged out of his box in a move that left him stranded. He’s a wonderful talent, but he’s young, and the coaches need to work on his decision making.

Sunderland v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

Sunderland show resilience

To fall behind to such an odd goal would’ve resulted in many teams (including Sunderland teams of the past) losing that game.

However, we readjusted and played much better in the second half, and to see a 0-1 scoreline turned into a 3-1 win was fantastic.

It was a great turnaround and it showed that we perhaps do have more tactical variety as well as a ‘plan B’ when needed.

Mercurial Jobe

Jobe Bellingham has needed a breather for some time but to come on and score such a cracking goal spoke volumes.

Every player needs a rest at times and if that’s what it does for Jobe, let’s do it whenever it’s needed.

I’d like to see more of that, as the lad clearly has the talent to deliver more goals and any more like that would be very welcome.

A poor goal conceded

To give away the goal as we did was very disappointing.

We simply couldn’t afford to let their attackers make runs from their own half without cover, and Anthony Patterson could’ve done better by heading back to his line as soon as he could.

That was one of the few chances they had, and we gradually tightened up as the game went on.

Set piece struggles

We need to do more from set pieces, and especially when it comes to free kicks in positions where we can potentially hit the target.

The goal from Pierre Ekwah aside (which came from a colossal misjudgement by the Argyle wall), we were poor from most dead ball situations, including corners.

On another day, we could’ve suffered for that but it’s simply a lesson to take to the training ground and to sort out for the next game.


Tom Albrighton says...

A slow start and a fast finish

Whilst the opening exchanges on Saturday could be generously described as ‘drab’, the second half was something entirely different.

A freak goal aside (which came as a result of some naive play right across the field), Plymouth posed little threat and it was quite nice to see Sunderland turn the screw and eventually dominate a match we should’ve been winning.

Credit goes to Michael Beale for identifying some clear issues and putting them right, alongside some good substitutions.

Sunderland regain their balance

After being imbalanced for large parts of the season, we showed ample threat down both sides for a pleasant and much-needed change.

Although Patrick Roberts didn’t have his best game, his threat from the right hand side gave Plymouth something to think about.

Alongside the threat from out wide, the seamlessness with which we could vary our attacking focus was also pleasant to witness. Whilst we lack a ‘traditional’ number nine, having an attack comprised of ultra-mobile players is essential and it paid off yesterday.

A tale of two halves

Not for the first time, we saw a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ performance from the Lads and although we’ve gotten away with it during the last few games, it’s safe to say that we like to ride our luck.

We were fortunate that Plymouth were largely toothless in front of goal, as were Middlesbrough last weekend, but we can’t afford to give better teams forty five minute head starts.

It’s nice to see Sunderland turn the screw on teams, but it would be an even finer sight to see us do it from the off.

Not much else to complain about!

Aside from the referee being a bit rubbish, there wasn’t much to moan about.

Even after a slow and somewhat boring start, Plymouth took the lead with a freak goal against the run of play.

Perhaps it’s the mark of a quality squad that we can experience these drop offs, yet still pick up points.

Sunderland v Plymouth Argyle - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Martin Swinney/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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