What a frustrating start to the 2015-2016 campaign for our beloved Sunderland Black Cats as they lose 4 -2 to the lowly Leicester which I would admit looks much better than I thought. You could tell Sunderland wasn’t going to win this match after watching the first 20 minutes and lo and behold, they got their heads handed to them. The strike force of Defoe and Fletcher look decent but this team needs more creativity in the midfield.
Here’s the player rating below:
Costel Pantilimon – 6
I’m sure you’re thinking that any goalkeeper who let 4 goals pass him must have had a terrible match. Well, it wasn’t as simple as that. You could probably fault him for the 4th goal but that’s about it. Pantilimon a few very good save that could had made the scoreline worse. So he had a decent match.
Patrick van Aanholt – 4
One of the worst match I’ve seen Patrick Van Aanholt play in a Sunderland shirt. Felt like he wasn’t there at all and was still on holiday.
Billy Jones – 4
Whoever is battling Billy Jones for that starting right back position should love his chances. Just like his counter-part on the other side, Billy was horrible and made no influence defensively or going forward. Let’s start the guy backing up Billy jones next match please.
Younes Kaboul – 3
What a disaster this Kaboul guy was. He actually was pretty good a few years back playing with Tottenham but now he’s old and slow. I thought that maybe coming to Sundeland would re-ignite his career but I guess not. Please, let’s drop this guy and go for a younger and faster guy. I’m tired of old and slow central backs. Very poor performance by him.
Sebastian Coates – 4
Coates was not as bad as Kaboul but was only marginally better which is not saying much. Made a few good tackles but was caught out of position too often and clearly wasn’t playing with full confidence.
Lee Cattermole – 2
Cattermole with his dumb tackles had a terrible game to start the campaign..What else can I say…Gave up a penalty because of his clumsy challenge. Needs to learn to stay on his feet. Should be dropped even after he comes back from his red card suspension.
Seb Larsson – 5
Larsson was average at best and did nothing influential. We really need midfielders that can create and I’m tired of seeing Larsson get start after start with no one to challenge his place in the starting eleven. Larsson will always try hard so I give him credit for that.
Jack Rodwell – 5
Just like Larsson, had a pretty below average match and was part of the midfield who got completely overrun. This guy had been a disappointment since we signed him last year for 10M pound.
Jeremain Lens – 5
Lens was decent at going forward but had no presence defensively and let Van Aahold to fend for himself on too many occasion. Needs to help out defensively a bit more. Did pick up an assist.
Adam Johnson – 5
Adam Johnson also grabbed an assist but was also average the rest of the match. Took a few very selfish shot and was wastful in possession on too many occasions.
Jermain Defoe – 7 (MAN OF THE MATCH)
Defoe looked lively and it feels like he could have a very good campaign. Picked up his first goal of the campaign and possibly could had gotten one more.
Steven Fletcher – 6
Fletcher got himelf on the scoring sheet and I’m happy with that eventhough there weren’t much else in his game.
Adam Matthews – 6
Did much better than Billy Jones. Should get the nod ahead of Billy jones next match.
Was totally brilliant for this match and made a boat-load of saves which probably would had cost Sunderland the draw that was needed to save themselves from dropping out of the Premiere League. So big SHOUT-OUT for Costel Pantilimon.
Billy Jones – 7
Made all the play that had to be made defensively to keep the clean sheet. Was not great going forward but again, only needed to play solid defense to get the draw.
John O’Shea – 7
Very calm out there and dealt with everything in a very calm manner. Had no very serious situation to deal with which is a good thing for old-man John O’Shea.
Sebastian Coates – 9
Was the best defender out of Sunderland back 4. Really stood out and dealt with every dangerous Arsenal threat with grace and smoothness. Made every tackles and won every balls in the air. Played like a total world-class central-back out there. Should now be the starting central back for Sunderland entering next season.
Patrick van Aanholt – 7
Was not as brilliant as his previous matches, but still managed to play his part and be solid enough to be rated above average. There were a few nervous situation but nothing came off them so good for Sunderland. Did not bring much to the table going forward.
Lee Cattermole – 8
Cattermole also did not have one of his best matches, but managed to do enough. Had some good and some not so good moment but at the end of the day, he got enough done to get the result needed to make sure Sunderland stays in the Premiere League next year.
Seb Larsson – 7
Did his part, while not being overly impressive. Also played with a knock and probably should had been taken out. Kudos to him for playing through it.
Adam Johnson – 7
Played decently but with Arsenal domination of possession, there’s not much a player like Johnson could do as for influencing the game on the offensive end. Did tracked back well enough to make things harder for Arsenal.
Jermain Defoe – 7
Played out of position again an I’m surprised he’s not been moaning about it Credit to him but I expect things to change starting next year.
Connor Wickham – 6
Was averaged at best.
Danny Graham – 6
Just like Wickham, had an average game, but he played his part during last match, so I’m grateful.
Jack Rodwell (Sub) – 7
Played very hard and showed a lot of commitment to keep Arsenal from doing anything good.
Steven Fletcher (Sub) – 7
Fletcher missed some very good opportunity but put himself in position to at least threaten unlike Graham and Wickham.
Will Buckley (Sub) – 6
Ran hard and give Sunderland a pair of fresh legs coming off the bench.
Costel had another great match in between the stick. Kept the Black Cats in the game by coming up with more than a few crucial saves. Really commanding performance and got Lukaku frustrated.
BILLY JONES – 6
Did what he had to do and defended well for the most part Made a few mistake here and there but at the end of the day, he played his small part in keeping Everton from scoring. Also did okay keeping Leighton Baines under control.
WES BROWN – 6
Made his first start in a while and played decently enough to get an above average grade. Was not faultless but did enough to help keep Lukaku and co off the scoring sheet. That will always be enough in my eyes.
SEBASTIAN COATES – 8
Coates was the better defender of the back 4 that day. Made some crucial blocks that could had led to very dangerous opportunity for Everton. Looked very comfortable and you could tell his confidence was at its max. This match was surely his best in a Sunderland uniform.
PATRICK VAN AANHOLT – 8
Did very well going forward and making himself an threat. Defensively, he kept Seamus Coleman from doing anything valuable for Everton. Had a few dazzling forward runs and at point, dribbled past at least 3 defenders.
LEE CATTERMOLE – 9
Played wonderfully in the middle of the field. Commanding performance by Cattermole, once again. Great defensive work-rate by closing down hard and fast. Disrupted Everton ball-creation with hustles and hard-tackles.
SEB LARSSON – 6
Again, same old performance by Larsson by simply doing enough. Work hard and ran around tirelessly.
JORDI GOMEZ – 6
Average performance by Jodi Gomez. Can’t remember him doing anything of value. Plays a bit too slow and Sunderland could use an upgrade at the expense of Gomez who simply doesn’t do enough for me.
CONNOR WICKHAM – 6
Another player who was average at best. Needs to show up more in the box and make himself a goal-threat. Not vincible enough for a forward. Did work hard tracking back on defense to help Van Aanholt.
JERMAIN DEFOE – 7
Defoe got himself on the score sheet and that is good enough for me. Was also playing a bit wider and tracking back on defense which was weird as Defoe has always been the main central striker. But it works so maybe he can adopt to the wider position.
DANNY GRAHAM – 8
Finally got himself on the score sheet as a Sunderland player and what a better time to get your first goal. Worked really hard and really deserve that goal eventhough it was a deflection off his body and into the net.
ADAM JOHNSON (SUB) – 6
Had a few positive moment once he came on and played a part in Defoe goal.
Wasn’t as influential as previous matches going forward or defending. Had trouble dealing with Southampton attack coming his side and got caught out of position a few times.
Billy Jones – 6
Billy Jones worked hard all day but with no glaring impact. Made less of an impact on the game than his counterpart, Van Aanholt. Also did not bother going forward much to pressure Southampton defenders.
Played very well in the midfield and dictated the flow of Sunderland passing game nicely. True commanding match by Cattermole. No stupid reckless foul either.
Seb Larsson – 6
Nothing new here. Larsson played his typical game which is good enough. Nothing fantastic. Kept things simple but played his butt off and chased after every ball and closed up the ball-carrier fast. Had one good free-kick that was saved by Southampton keeper.
Jordi Gomez – 7
With the exception of the 2 penalties which he should of course get credit for, I thought Jordi Gomez was average at best. But like I stated, his penalty kicks were world-class.
Still lingers on the ball for too long and kills the flow of the match for Sunderland.
Connor Wickham – 6
Wickham had some nice runs but you still get the sense he tries to do too much instead of taking the simple route and keep it easy. Did worked hard and ran his butt off. At time, I thought he was a bit selfish in not passing the ball off and trying to go on his own to make something spectacular happen.
Jermain Defoe– 6
Defoe was about average. He had a few moments here and there which includes winning the penalty kicks, but nothing to gloat about. In his defense, his service wasn’t great that day.
Danny Graham -7 (Player Of The Match)
Finally, Danny Graham had a game where he influenced the team to victory. Did not scored but played a huge part in winning the 2 penalty kicks. Man of The Match by a mile.Held the ball well while leading the line properly.
Santiago Vergini – 5 (sub)
Was subbed into the match after O’Shea picked up the head injury but did not make an impact on the positive. Instead, he nearly gave the 3 point away by failing to clear the ball properly.
Adam Johnson – 5 (sub)
Johnson came in as sub and gave the team a spark with his pace and fresh legs. After that, I don’t remember him doing anything else worth talking about. Adam probably has much important things to think about, specially with the rape accusation still pending.
Don’t recall Costel being threaten much by Newcastle’s forwards. Should think his back-line for the quiet night. Swept away every ball with ease which wasn’t that hard.
Billy Jones 8
Played his part defensively in keeping a clean sheet for Costel Pantilimon. Was really up for this match and had a good all-around match.
Santiago Vergini – 8
One of the best outing for Santiago. It seemed like everyone was pretty much pumped up for this match and Santiago was huge making crucial tackles.
John O’Shea – 8
Played well just like Santiago. Really needed a good match after the disastrous last match where he was the scapegoat of the match. Formed a wall back 4 alongside Santiago to keep Newcastle off the goal sheet.
Patrick van Aanholt – 9
Van Aanholt was simply amazing going forward and gave Newcastle so much trouble keeping him from their final third. Also tracked back well to play defense.
Lee Cattermole – 8
Hustled all day and played his heart out. Lots of tackles and chasing like a dog. Had a few bad tackles which is pretty much normal for him.
Jordi Gomez – 9
One of his best match so far. For a moment, I thought this guy was Cesc Fabregas commanding the midfield and passing the ball around like a boss.
Seb Larsson – 8
Larsson had one of his typical satisfactory game which was good enough for me. Showed good work rate by always chasing and breaking plays.
Connor Wickham – 8
Wickham had some really nice moment with the ball which really wowed the crowd. Was really a problem forging forward with ball.
Steven Fletcher – 9
Had a good hold up game and showed good movement to create space for Defoe.
Jermain Defoe – 10 (Player Of The Match)
Defoe scored a wonder goal which he deserve a lot of credit for since it won the match. That alone should get him the player of the match.
I thought Costel had an above-average game. He was commanding and hobbled most of the crosses thrown into the box. Made a nice save against Alex Song. As for the lone Wes Ham goal, he simply couldn’t do much about it and wasn’t at fault.
Patrick Van Aanholt – 7
Van Aanholt had a better match defensively when it came to dealing attacks on his side, but more importantly, he also went forward well to support Sunderland attack. Overall, he was one of Sunderland better player for this match.
Anthony Reveillere – 5
Like Patrick Aanholt on the other side, he improved a bit defensively in compare to his previous matches but wasn’t as good going forward and make himself a threat.
John O’Shea – 6
As opposed to his awful display against Aston Villa last week, John O’shea bounced back with a good commanding performance. Headed away most of the crosses that came into the box. Wasn’t at fault for the Sakho at the tail end of the match.
Wes Brown – 5
Wes Brown picked up an injury 10 minutes into the game and had to come out, replaced by Verginie. No grade since Brown wasn’t on the pitch for long to warrant a score.
Jack Rodwell – 6
Was a bit of a presence in the middle and shown decent work rate, but did not do much offensively. Need to force himself into the box and make himself a goal-threat.
Jordi Gomez – 6
Agin, another Sunderland player who played much better than the their previous outing but not enough to make the difference needed to put some points on the board. Jordi was much more active defensively and making things happen in opposition final third. Still tend to slow things down a bit to much and needs to quicken the passing pace.
Seb Larrson – 5
Larsson was very active defensively and hustled all day. Nothing really top state as for his performance. Simply played hard and nothing else.
Steven Fletcher – 5
Was used on the flank so did not get service that a striker expect to get. Did well for what was asked of him given the fact he was not being played as the main central striker.
Connor Wickham – 6
Wickham really put in a hard shift and was very active. Seemed like he was motivated by the new coach and wanted to prove something. Unfortunately, was not able to find the back of the net eventhough he had a few half chances to make it happen.
Jermain Defoe – 4
This was probably Jermain Defoe worst match in a Sunderland shirt. Missed a golden opportunity to score after being put through by Fletcher’s flick. So far, the Defoe tranfer is not looking good for Sunderland, specially when you take into account the fact he’s 32 and has had injury issues.
Santiago Vergini – 6 (sub)
Was subbed in for an injured Wes Brown at the 1oth minute and I though he did okay. No big mistake and dealt with crosses well.
Adam Johnson– 5 (sub)
Looked like Adam Johnson wasn’t affected by his current problem with the law. He did well considering he hadn’t been with the team for 2 weeks. Had a few dribble run forward and made himself a genuine threat on occasion.
Costel Pantilimon – 8
3 of the 4 goals wasn’t Costel’s fault but I believe he could had done better on the second goal which cam at the feet of Agbonlahor. That second Villa goal was really the beginning of the end for Poyet and you could simply feel it in the air.
Anthony Reveillere – 4
Has really started showing his old age in the past 2 month, unlike when he was first signed and was a revelation as a full-back. Right now, Reveillere simply can’t be counted to help this team. Simply can not keep up with opposition wingers and is not bringing anything to the table when it comes to going forward as a wing-back.
Patrick van Aanholt – 3
A large percentage of Villa’s attack came at Patrick Aanholt throat and he simply had no answer on how to stop them. To be fair here, he also didn’t get much support from the left side winger. Team after team seems to have realized that Aanholt is a weak defensive wing-back and the best way to go about playing Sunderland is to attack on the left side.
John O’Shea – 3
John O’shea run of great form was enjoyable and now he’s back to the guy that was showing his advance age and needed to start thinking about retirement. Was terrible against Villa and looked completely clueless out there.
Wes Brown – 3
Wes Brown, just like his central-back partner O’shea, was as horrible out. No sense of positioning and awareness on how to stop Villa’s strikers.
Liam Bridcutt – 3
Villa constant wave of attack was simply too much for Bridcutt to deal with. Is simply not a premiere league central midfielder. Not enough positioning sense to deal with premiere league attacks. Played poorly but was not the worst Sunderland player out there.
Jack Rodwell – 5
Played a decent match and actually looked like the best Sunderland player on the pitch willing to make something happen. Managed to get on the ball enough to try to make something happen.
Seb Larsson – 5
Typical display for Seb Larsson. played hard and ran his butt all across the field. Looked like the only player who actually care out there. Made some tackles and held his own, unlike Bridcutt and the others.
Ricky Alvarez – 3
Too one footed and predictable. Not fast enough for a premiere league winger. Was very ineffective against Villa and was actually lucky Poyet took him out at the half since he was such an embarrassment. I just hope the rumors that an 8Mil pound already agreed is false. This man is not worth 8Mil.
Steven Fletcher – 3
Was completely ineffective but how can you blame him when Poyet got him playing on the left flank as a winger. Any idiot would know Steven Fletcher would be completly out of his depth playing out wide. So Poyet is responsible for his poor performance here.
Jermain Defoe – 3
My worry about Defoe was that he’s too much of a one-trick-pony of playing on the shoulder and couldn’t do much. He’s an extreme poacher that need good service. He’s not going to out-jump or dribble past defender to score himself. Was completly ineffective and you could tell Villa defenders had him figured out.
Connor Wickham – 4(Sub)
Wickham was actually slightly better than Defoe and Fletcher. A bit more visible but not by much.
Danny Graham – 4
Was not on for too long to make an impact off the bench. Did manage to run around and play hard trying to make something happen with no effect.