Tactic Worth Persisting With Despite Tragic Player Performance - Things we Learned from Sunderland 0-2 Manchester City

Author: Gmac

The overall emotion - meh. Sunderland are starting to make me feel like there really is more important things than football. Anyway, here are a few thoughts from yesterday's loss to Manchester City.

Didier Ndong can do a job further forward
Where Fabio Borini and Adnan Januzaj generally failed, Ndong succeeded. In a more advanced midfield role, he ran the channels well and gave Manchester City a lot to think about. Quality prevented us from scoring, but we did create a few opportunities despite a predictably short period of time on the ball thanks in part to Ndong's energy. That energy meant he was able to quickly join the defence during City's prolonged periods of possession and be the focal point of many of our attacks. It's a tactic worth persisting with.

Sunderland need to break better
Despite defending well out of possession, Sunderland squandered good counter attacking opportunities time and again with lazy and loose passing from the back. Our pass completion of 70% is quite pathetic really for a Premier League club and this made it very easy for City to regain possession. The opposition did not have to press us a great deal to draw mistakes and our pass-first-look-second mentality was frustrating. It was almost like we don't practice counter attacks. What made it more frustrating is that when we did manage to get close to City's penalty box, we looked dangerous and create chances. There were opportunities and goals waiting for us in the game which we were reluctant to take.

We are more likely to concede when we are in possession

Both of Manchester City's goals came from us losing possession high up the pitch. With City in possession, Sunderland looked comfortable defensively and, eventually in many cases, managed to turn over possession. With Sunderland suffering from the aforementioned inability to break, rather predictably Manchester City did not suffer from the same problems. Simple, individual mistakes cost us a football match we were in with a shout of getting something from.

Seb Larsson was tragic
It is not difficult to single out a Sunderland player for criticism right now. Larsson was awful yesterday. According to FourFourTwo's pass map, the Swede's forward pass completion was a measly 50% as he gave away four fouls, most of which were ridiculous. I'm not really sure what he is supposed to be adding to the side right now but whatever it is it's not composed, energetic or organised. 

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