Ethan's Report: Dismal performance shows up squad depth


Leeds United were the second visitors to the Stadium of Light this season and Simon Grayson would again go unchanged to the team that just about held on in Sheffield midweek. 


Not only would Grayson be facing one of his former employers, the West Yorkshire club were promoted to the Championship under the current Sunderland gaffer's tenure at Elland Road. Leeds were adapting to life under new Spanish manager Thomas Christiansen following Garry Monk's resignation. Both teams were unbeaten going into this fixture.

Sunderland started on the front foot and looked the most likely to score in the opening period. The first chance coming from a Brendan Galloway cross which was just in front of the arriving Lewis Grabban. Sunderland came close again when former Newcastle full back Vuron Anita botched a clearance and it fell straight to James Vaughan but his effort was blocked by the centre half. 

Grabban would then hit the bar after he initially cleared to Vaughan who held the ball up brilliantly for the loanee from Bournemouth to join the attack. Grabban showed great pace to support his strike partner and was played in. Most fans thought he'd have shot first time but he instead took a touch taking the defender out of the game, beating the goalkeeper but a slight nick off Liam Cooper on the line helped it onto the crossbar. 

Sunderland would come to regret their miss as Leeds scored against the run of play through Spaniard Samuel Saiz after Ezgjan Alioski somehow managed to shake off Lamine Kone who was out of position. The Ivorian was only there because Galloway was majorly out of position and left the defence exposed which allowed the Macedonian into the area. He set up summer recruit Saiz who smashed it hard and low past Steele who again looked poor and shaky throughout. 

Lee Cattermole's had an effort but it wasn't much to shout about as it looked a routine stop for goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald - it was the closest Sunderland would come until the end of the first half. Galloway gave away far too many chances first half and made life a lot easier for Leeds winger Alioski who should've doubled the Yorkshire team's advantage but chose to shoot early, dragging it wide.

Second half saw Sunderland again on the back foot and Steele being forced into turning away Alioski's free kick, although some may have said he should've held onto it. Again Alioski caused problems down Sunderland's left as he then played in Saiz who delivered a delightful cross to the Northern Irishman Stuart Dallas. He made it 2-0 although you really would expect Steele to make the save as it was right in the middle of his goal. Sunderland were again left open down the left in the build up to this goal, however Galloway had been substituted and it was Adam Matthews who has nowhere to be seen.

Sunderland's unbeaten run came to an end and it is still apparent that Sunderland have no where near the squad depth they need to challenge in this division. If Sunderland don't get a left back by the end of the window the Black Cats could be in serious trouble as Costa Rica international Bryan Oviedo doesn't want to be at the club and Brendan Galloway just hasn't got the quality - likely will never have the quality - of a good footballer. Steele speaks for himself really, costing minimal from a team relegated from the Championship last season and conceding 62 league goals last season, not only that getting demoted to Boro's 3rd choice goalie under Aitor Karanka.



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