Football News: Sunderland Season Review

 

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Sunderland Season  Review
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Sunderland Season Review

What can you say about that season from the Mackems? Pathetic is understating just how bad it truly was. The last time they got above the drop zone was the 3rd game of the season, when they drew with Southampton! From start to finish this season has been a disaster, but the warning signs have been there for years, sadly the club has been so badly run no one took any notice.

Ellis Short has been the owner for a long time now, but not once has he shown any signs of learning a thing during his spell. He still appoints overpaid older managers, rather than looking at young, hungry managers, with something to prove, a smaller salary and a willingness to work with a limited budget. Instead he follows the same old, tired route of bringing in older players on big wages who have worked with the current manager in the past.


David Moyes
The fans will be breathing a big sigh of relief at the news that Moyes has gone, not so much the Moyesiah as the Moyestake. Moyes has confirmed unequivocally that his time at Manchester United and Real Sociedad was not a blip and that he really was overachieving at Everton. However it is ok, as Moyes himself did say that managers should not be judged over 1,2 or even 5 seasons, no managers, according to him, should be judged over a period of 25 years.

The problem is that David Moyes is still using the same managerial techniques and training regimes as he was 25 years ago, which puts him about 40 years behind the times, at least. Moyes is also not a draw to players, as was shown by his inability to get anyone to want to sign for him at Sunderland, leading to the desperation in signing any out of contract player desperate enough to take his offer, such as Joleon 'Pocket Tweeter' Lescott.

Worst of all was his decision to take the players and coaching staff on an expensive jolly to New York while a large portion of the lower paid staff at the club were being fired to cut costs in preparation for the drop! Those players should have been there to face the consequences of their actions and to see what happens to people with next to nothing when they fail to earn their millions. It also could have acted as motivation, knowing that those staff could get their jobs back if they put in the work on the pitch and saved the club from relegation.

Instead Moyes and the players hid away from the damage they had caused. At least they have a nice time in their 5 star hotel watching live basketball games though, so it was not a complete loss.....

Marks out of 10: -10


Jordan Pickford

While Pickford did well, despite a lengthy injury break, his performances have been massively overrated in the media, as there was no downturn or upturn whether he was playing or not. He never produced any performances such as David De Gea had been producing over the last few years for Man Utd, singlehandedly saving points for his team. Pickford is a good Premier League level keeper who performed like one, but he was never able to do enough to make any difference to results.

It is harsh on him that I am talking him down, as he has had a good season, but it is just the way that pundits have been doing their usual ridiculous hype job on any young English player with him. Lets face it, things could have been a lot worse as the only reason he was in the team was because Moyes was unable to convince Joe Hart to sign when Manchester City let him go! The way he has performed for Torino this season, Hart would have relegated them before Xmas.

Marks out of 10: 6.5


Vito Mannone

Filled in for Pickford during his injury and did ok, but showed why he is merely a back up.

Marks out of 10: 5


Lamine Kone

The club fought hard to keep him from jumping ship to Everton, gifting him a new contract in September with a nice pay rise. However, after last season's heroics, he repaid the new contract by being extremely poor. All season long the centre back looked like a player wanting to be elsewhere.

Marks out of 10: 2.5


Papy Djilobodji

Like so many Sunderland players, the summer signing from Chelsea struggled badly this season. The Senegalese centre back does not seem to have adjusted very well to English football since leaving Nantes to join Chelsea. However he did fit in well at Sunderland, mostly because their defence was so bad as a whole Djilobji was well suited! His clumsiness and rash challenges are in keeping with what is to be expected from the Wearsiders these days.

Marks out of 10: 3


Jason Denayer

The young defender arrived on loan from Manchester City, following a season away in Turkey with Galatasaray. Unfortunately the Belgian has not been able to recreate the form he showed when on loan with Celtic in 2014/15. Still just 21, Denayer has plenty of time on his side, he will need to see this as a learning experience. It did not help that Moyes saw fit to mostly utilise him in a holding midfield role that he struggled to adapt to.

Off the ball he was not so bad, though struggled positionally, but on the ball Denayer lacked the quality on the ball to really help his side. He certainly will have done nothing to convince Pep Guardiola that he is ready to slot into City's side on his return.

Marks out of 10: 3.5


Paddy McNair

The young defender joined from Man Utd in the summer, but suffered through being used in midfield by Moyes (which does give clues to just how defensive his tactics were) and never managed to properly establish himself before suffering an ACL injury which ended his season in November.

Marks out of 10: 3


Joleon Lescott

A bizarre signing, having already shown, last season, that he was so far over the hill and down the other side he was in the Marianas Trench. After a failed couple of months in Greece for AEK Athens, which ended in November, Moyes, in extreme desperation, brought him in on a free. Just two Premier League appearances were all Lescott managed, both of them bordering on shambolic.

Marks out of 10: -3


John O'Shea

O'Shea is a player that always makes me think I must be missing something whenever I watch him. Only I see a player that is not good enough on the ball, not good enough positionally, not strong enough, not quick enough, not good enough in the air and not good enough at organising his team mates to have had the career he has had and to be the captain of a top flight club. Though he has fixed that last bit at least!

In particular this season, when fit, he looked like a man whose legs had completely gone but without the ability or footballing intelligence to make up for it. One game that stood out, and showcased his lack of reading of the game, was the one against Arsenal. Sunderland played a back three, Kone was drawn out of his position on the left and there was a huge gaping hole on the left. What does O'Shea do, in his position as the central of three defenders? He drops off to the right side, increasing the gap and Arsenal used the yawning chasm to score a goal.

Then there is his job as captain, O'Shea's leadership skills are negligible at best. Clapping your hands while shouting in the general direction of team mates is not organising or encouraging, it is just a pointless exercise in pretending to care.

Marks out of 10: 0


Bryan Oviedo

The closest thing to a successful transfer of the Moyes era, the Costa Rican joined in January to replace the outgoing van Aanholt. Oviedo has always been a decent player who has just been very unlucky with injuries, as he reiterated with a hamstring injury making him miss a chunk of the season after moving.

Marks out of 10: 5


Patrick van Aanholt

While he managed to notch a couple of important goals, his lack of any effort defensively meant he was not missed the way he should have been when he headed off to join Sam Allardyce at Crystal Palace in January. If van Aanholt remembered he is a left back, not a left winger, and that he should actually break sweat getting back to help out, then he would be a good player. As it is, his laziness is just frustrating, for fans and teammates alike.

Marks out of 10: 3


Javier Manquillo

The Spanish defender had his second loan spell with an English Premier League club from Atletico Madrid. This spell was a little more successful than his time with Liverpool, where he flopped badly. It seems unlikely that he did enough to make the club take up their buying option, just as unlikely as him wanting to sign for the Black Cats in the Championship. Failed to establish himself at right back and filled in almost as often at left back as cover. While he has the technical and physical attributes to be a top class player, the attitude is never quite right.

Marks out of 10: 4


Billy Jones

It is difficult to understand how this former Crewe Alexandra full back ever made it to the Premier League. He is not outstanding in any area of the game, just quite quick, quite good on the ball, quite good in the air, quite strong, quite average in short. Even his effort and workrate is not outstanding, which leads to the question, how has he managed to raise himself so far above his ability level? It is the constant buying of players who are not quite good enough, like Jones, to be first choice, rather than back up, that has led Sunderland into a downward spiral.

Marks out of 10: 4


Donald Love

Another summer arrival from Man Utd, he struggled to hold down a regular place in the team. Not a season for the youngster to enjoy.

Marks out of 10: 2


Jack Rodwell

A name that has been synonymous with underachievement since he left boyhood club Everton for the riches of Manchester City. While persistent injuries have been the main problem he has had, his little time on the pitch has not been successful. There is something extremely frustrating about watching Rodwell, there is clearly ability there, but it is also clear that he is not putting his heart and soul into the game. Whether that is the injury problems in his head or he is just a mercenary who does not really care enough for the team he plays for is difficult to know. What I do know is that he is not performing to the level he should be.

Marks out of 10: 2.5


Lee Cattermole

Injuries kept the fiery midfielder out for most of the season, which was a big loss to the Mackems as he provides the drive and determination in midfield they sadly lack otherwise. Far from being a great player, but what he brings to Sunderland's midfield is a great contribution. Without him the Black Cats are weak and overrun, with him in the team they scrap and fight for everything. His loss to a long term injury was a major contributing factor to the slide out of the Premier League.

Marks out of 10: 3


Jan Kirchhoff

Another player who missed most of the season due to injury. Only managed to play one full 90min the whole season, just seven games altogether.

Marks out of 10: 1


Didier Ndong

A last minute buy in the summer transfer window and it did seem like a bit of a panic buy, as it was clear all season he was not ready for the Premier League. Struggled with the speed of the game and his touch all season long but did add energy and pace to a sluggish midfield.

Marks out of 10: 4


Sebastian Larsson

The former Arsenal youngster is moving into the veteran stage of his career, since joining on a free from Birmingham City. An MCL injury saw him miss most of the early part of the season and he never looked fully back to his best. Larrson's mobility has virtually gone from the days when he was a hardworking right midfielder. Suffered from Moyes' inability to know how best to use his talents, even playing as a defensive mid in one game.

Marks out of 10: 4


Darron Gibson

Moyes went back to former club Everton again to bring Gibson in during the January transfer window. Unfortunately, though he played most of the matches, it is difficult to see exactly what he brought to the team at all. Another gamble that failed.

Marks out of 10: 1


George Honeyman

The 22 year old struggled badly to establish himself under Moyes, then finally got a chance towards the end of the season, showed real enthusiasm and a little bit more quality than the rest of the squad, but picked up an injury that finished his season. Honeyman was one of the few bright lights of the season, it is just a shame that he only got five appearances.

Marks out of 10: 4


Wahbi Khazri

Last season the Tunisian international was one of the main creative influences on the side that escaped relegation. This season it was obvious from the moment Moyes arrived that he did not like what Khazri brought to the table. Khazri spent most of the season sat on the bench watching as his teammates struggled to score.

Marks out of 10: 2.5


Fabio Borini

The little Italian has scored important goals for the Mackems in the past couple of seasons, since joining from Liverpool. The first half of the season was disrupted by injury but his second half was ruined by Moyes' tactical masterplan of everyone behind the ball as deep as possible. Borini's workrate has never been in doubt, he is a willing runner and workhorse, but his goalscoring has never reached the level it should. This season was worse than usual, with just two goals in the Prem. When they needed the kind of important goals he nicked last season, he was usually too busy being employed as an auxiliary fullback to get that far forward. As a result, this was a poor season for Borini.

Marks out of 10: 2


Steven Pienaar

Another player Moyes turned to in desperation that he had worked with in the past at Everton. The South African midfielder was once a very good player, but he is 35 now and is a long way past his best. Even Moyes realised he was not the answer.

Marks out of 10: 1.5


Adnan Januzaj

The young winger had his breakthrough season while Moyes was in charge at Manchester United, but has since struggled badly. A season long loan to rejoin Moyes seemed like the ideal recipe to revitalise his career. Unfortunately Januzaj has shown that he is nowhere near as good as he seemed initially, with his potential still entirely unreached. If he is not careful, his will be a tale of what could have been.

Marks out of 10: 0.5


Duncan Watmore

Prior to suffering an ACL injury in December which ended his season, Watmore was the young English player getting the ridiculous amounts of hype, totally disproportionate to his actual ability. What he does do is work his backside off for the cause, with a never-say-die attitude and a burst of pace. What he lacks is that bit of quality to enable him to make the most of his desire and workrate. Watmore will run until he drops, but there is very little intelligence or end product to his work.

Marks out of 10: 5


Lynden Gooch

It is difficult to see what the young American actually adds to the team, in terms of value. Gooch has no real skill or pace to beat a man, his passing and crossing is wayward, his finishing is panicky and his touch is poor. Plenty of aimless running but little thought or quality to his work. At just 21, Gooch has plenty of time to improve and make himself an important player for the Black Cats, but last season was very much a learning process for him.

Marks out of 10: 2


Jermain Defoe

The former Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Bournemouth striker started the season well, scoring goals when no one else was looking like they could. Then, just as the pundits waxed lyrical over Defoe, his season faded out and the goals dried up. Played up front on his own, with little to no support, week in, week out, took its toll on Defoe. With no service and no help, the season petered out.

Marks out of 10: 7


Victor Anichebe

Another former Everton player Moyes turned to in desperation, as he was unable to attract players to the club. Anichebe was released by West Bromwich Albion at the end of last season, after a spell marred by injuries. While Anichebe did miss out a few games through injury, even when fit he struggled to offer anything to the team. Just another example of Moyes being out of touch with the modern game, bringing in a player he had worked with years ago but was never really good enough.

Marks out of 10: 3.5

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