Two best Players & Spaces for the New Signings: Things we Learned from Sunderland 0-0 Spurs


Points for the clubs around us makes this very decent point feel like a bad one. In truth a win never looked likely after the first half but it was a good performance. Here are some things that stood out to me.

Returning AFCON players made a huge impact
Didier Ndong and Lamine Kone were the two best players on the pitch for Sunderland. Ndong was tireless in midfield, constantly in the face of the opposition and generally being a hassle. He made twice as many tackles as anyone else on the pitch with the best success rate, 94%, only equalled by the impressive Moussa Dembele. Sunderland's overall pass success was an atrocious 62% and that helped Spurs keep us penned in throughout the second half. Unlike his teammates, Ndong was classy in possession and wasn't dispossessed, which is unusual for the Gabon midfielder and hopefully signs of his improvement.

Kone was brilliant, nothing like the half-hearted bloke who wanted a move to Everton we endured earlier in the season. Harry Kane barely had a sniff as Spurs mustered just three tests for Vito Mannone and Kone was the biggest part of that success. He was particularly effective in the air and positionally.

Formation fluidity
There is definitely a divide as to whether or not Jack Rodwell's foul was a red. I am biased of course, but I am not convinced it warranted more than yellow given it was one footed, no studs, no foot in fact as Rodwell took out Dembele cynically with his shin. Anyway, Rodwell wasn't sent off and his tackle invigorated Sunderland who went on to have an imposing 15 minutes. It would be the only imposing 15 we could manage as Spurs took control of the second half, but in that short period of time we really saw some fluidity in the formation.

I was quite impressed with Javi Manquillo down the left, he had a good game and made a couple of decent runs. He might have been in on goal had Rodwell possessed some sort of vision. Our best opportunity came shortly beforehand, however, as Borini shot straight at Michel Vorm when in on goal. The Italian looked a little preoccupied with a clear hand ball outside of the penalty area moments earlier, which is strange given the chance which fell his way was a much simpler one.

Three central defenders and two wing backs looks to be David Moyes' preferred line up and it worked yesterday. Jason Denayer was a little shaky, as he has been for a while, but there was enough support to limit the negative impact.

Where will the new players fit?
I'd imagine Bryan Oviedo will be thrown straight into the team this weekend against Crystal Palace as he is our only natural left back, or left wing back. Sunderland have always looked weak in midfield going forward, something which Darron Gibson may have some impact on should he remain fit. The former Manchester United man is definitely a decent footballer, but his lack of game time is a worry. Out of the three midfielders who player yesterday, Seb Larsson was the least influential and would probably make way.

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