It’s a familiar tale at both ends of the your player ratings this week, as Sunderland fans everywhere ponder what might’ve been from a frustrating afternoon on Wearside.
Man of the Match: Jan Kirchhoff - 7.74
Sunderland’s January signing continues to dominate at the heart of Sam Allardyce’s team. Most encouragingly, Kirchhoff managed the 90 minutes with ease, continuing to impress throughout. With West Brom failing to test Sunderland’s back line, Kirchhoff was able to focus on setting up Sunderland’s attacks, of which there were plenty.
With three chances created, Kirchhoff is behind only Lee Cattermole (6) and Wahbi Khazri, while also working Ben Foster himself after surging through the West Brom defence. Had his shot been either side of the England international we’d be rightly lauding Kirchhoff as King of Wearside. In the end though, he’ll have to settle for Man of the Match.
Second Place: Lamine Kone - 7.08
With much of the attention on Sunderland’s failure to break down West Brom’s defence, minimal credit has been afforded to their back line, who kept their first clean sheet since November. At the heart of that is Lamine Kone, who pips Younes Kaboul to second place.
With Salomon Rondon and Saido Berahino failing to work Kone and Kaboul, it was an easy afternoon for the Ivorian. Winning seven of his ten duels, including four in the air, Kone was nevertheless solid in Sunderland’s defence.
Last Place: Dame N’Doye – 4.86
Dame N’Doye was only on the field eight minutes, yet his placing on this list is hardly surprising. The Senegalese forward hasn’t had the best of times since his January arrival and his introduction from the bench signalled the likely end of Sunderland’s hope of clinching the three points.
Replacing Wahbi Khazri was never going to be a popular decision, meaning N’Doye had an uphill battle from the outset. Yet in his eight minutes he managed a solitary pass, back to Mannone, as well as two failed take ons.
Of course, had he been a matter of inches further onside, this would’ve been a completely different story. There was no complaints when the 46,000 screaming Mackems finally realised the linesman had flagged, with the striker appearing well offside. The benefit of TV proved it was minimal, although the right call. N’Doye was unfortunate, but fortune isn’t something found in abundance on Wearside.
Younes Kaboul (6.94), Fabio Borini (6.84), Patrick van Aanholt (6.68), DeAndre Yedlin (6.6), Lee Cattermole (6.57), Wahbi Khazri (6.57), Jermain Defoe (6.22), Yann M’Vila (6.16), Vito Mannone (5.89).