Sunderland fans could be forgiven for thinking we woke up in an alternate reality! What can we learn from the rout against Palace?
Oviedo's instant impact
Bryan Oviedo was brought in to replace Patrick van Aanholt late in the transfer window, and had an immediate effect. While the former Black Cat endured a torrid afternoon, Oviedo was a rock in our defence. The usually influential Zaha was marked out of the game as Oviedo gave him no space to turn, and the debutant hardly let a single ball get past him all afternoon. Flogging the Dutchman for £14 million may be the best outgoing deal we ever made, and Oviedo could quickly become a Wearside cult hero.
Goals, goals, goals
Defoe's two finishes were outstanding. In both cases, he wriggled his way into a shooting position and pulled off two fine finishes across goal, but the opening two goals deserve a lot of recognition as well. We may be seeing signs that our burdening reliance on Defoe for goals is coming to an end, and credit must be given to Kone and Ndong for staying alive to chances that may have got away from them if they hadn't been paying attention.
Following Kone's opener, Palace were sniffing for an opening, and it could even be said that they were unlucky not to get an equaliser, missing a couple of good chances. In times of old, Sunderland would have sat back until we inevitably conceded one or more, but today, we continued to push out and it paid dividends. Palace weren't allowed to sit on the ball and we made them play the game at the tempo that we wanted. Ndong's goal was symbolic of this, pouncing on a mistake, taking a couple of touches, and finishing beautifully.
Kinks to work out?
Not to bring any negativity into one of the best performances we've put in for a very long time, but it wasn't a perfect performance. Palace carved out a number of opportunities that they missed, but that a more accomplished team would have put away. Rodwell looked a little slack at times, and Joleon Lescott showed a number of signs of not having played in several months. There are things that David Moyes will still want to work on, but we shouldn't let anything take away from our enjoyment of that result and that performance.