For crying out loud man, this is all just starting to get a bit silly. Two away games, two clean sheets and god knows how many chances missed leaving us ruing four vital points dropped. It is hard to take, draining even – but I can still claw a fair few positives from today’s draw, namely that it was probably our best performance to date.
Unlike our two home wins so far this season, we never truly looked under any great pressure with only Mohamed Diame for the home side offering any real class. Otherwise we were composed in possession, creative in attack and solid defensively. Performance-wise, that was one of those ’90 minute’ performances we all yearn for, though due to a distinct lack of confidence or composure in front of goal here we are - yet another away game without scoring.
At times we were scintillating to watch. Three of our attacking players Jozy Altidore, Emanuele Giaccherini and Seb Larsson (perhaps the term attacking should be used very loosely for the latter) were almost tripping over each other using neat one touch passing to create space with Fabio Borini and Ki Sung-Yeung offering a slightly left sided overlapping approach. Coupling that with both full backs offering true width in almost every forward foray and you have a slick, quick attacking system. This system created chance after chance – and I am not talking about 20 yard shots, I am taking about proper chances.
Altidore, Borini and Ki were all culpable for failing to score the biggest chances we have. Credit must go to Jussi Jaaskelainen who pulled off a couple of great saves, particularly from Ki but Premier League footballers should be taking at least one of those chances. Heck everyone – even Lee Cattermole – was getting in on the act and when was the last time all of our midfield three were having pops at goal? Phil Bardsley hit the post as well with one of his nearly trademark pile drivers. Perhaps it is a shame that when Steven Fletcher arrived the guilt edged chances dried up – or is it because he and Adam Johnson arrived the guilt edged chances dried up? I am not sure.
I have to point out that Cattermole was excellent in his return to the starting line-up in place of Jack Colback. That midfield three looks to be our best at the moment and long may we continue to deploy it…until we sign one that can actually score in January, of course.
Mark Noble could easily see red and would have had he been Cattermole. We might have had a penalty too – when your luck is out there is no relying on it whatsoever which is another reason why taking chances is so important.
It’s such an odd feeling because although here I am lauding our performance that still cannot deter away from the fact we are too deep in the mire for that to be enough. Yes, of course it’s tremendous to watch Sunderland finally play some football we can be proud of but right now all we need is points. And a lot of them. Had we converted some of those chances in this and the Aston Villa game we’d be sitting quite merrily inside the relegation zone just on goal difference with a home tie against Norwich looming. I am not even going to bother trying to highlight the importance of that particular game. Squeeky bum time.
What They Said:
"We deserved to win the game. We don't get any breaks, we are getting nothing, I said it two weeks ago when we played Villa, and this was away.”
"Today from the first minute we were having chances, having shots, one-on-ones, and when you are at the bottom, you need to take those chances. Today we have 19 shots, and how we don't score, I don't know."
"You sit there and you expect that reaction [the home crowd booed after the final whistle] when your team doesn't perform. We didn't entertain them and, more importantly at the moment, we didn't win."
"We didn't do what we did against against Fulham, which was a brilliant game. Today dogged hard work was the order of the day, and we didn't deserve more than a draw."