Mumbo jumbo from Slapstick Si; five more reasons to fear for Sunderland after Brentford cave-in

Another two points dropped as Sunderland are stuck fast in the Championship bottom three. But it's the manager's continued blithering nonsense which is eye-catching again this week as Simon Grayson continues to unveil his unique collection of limitations.

Throwing away a 3-1 lead at Brentford, Sunderland again proved incapable of getting themselves out of their now settled position in the Championship drop zone. 

Optimists will point to upcoming home games against bottom side Bolton and top-six Bristol City as a chance for the Black Cats to kick-start their season, but this latest inability to engineer a win is again firmly on Slap-Stick Simon. 

Not relieving the increasing pressure on the dodgy back six early enough

On this evidence, Grayson's inability to organise his side to prevent the opposition scoring at will when they apply a little pressure is perhaps the biggest worry. 

Failing to act or react in time, the Sunderland boss claimed after the game that reorganising his side to protect their 3-1 advantage was not an option, because he was lambasted for it a few weeks ago: 

"I do it the other week and I get criticised for shoring up. We wanted to try and win the game and be positive in the approach."

Adding ever attacking players to the mix on top of the tired legs already out there was a bizarre ploy from the Black Cats boss. With Duncan Watmore visibly fading even as far back as the first half, the 23-year-old was withdrawn on 67 minutes. 

But with Aiden McGeady also showing signs he increasingly couldn't take the play up the field and Lewis Grabban knackered on his first start in a month, not bringing the ball-handling Lynden Gooch on for the former until a minute from time and James Vaughan on for the latter five minutes before may well have cost Sunderland the three points.

What goes on at half-time?

Sunderland's emergence from the half-time team talk only to concede moments after the restart was the catalyst for ensuring Brentford salvaged a point. Never one to spare his own blushes, Grayson had this to say with devastating understatement: 

"We wanted to start the second half positively and make sure we didn't give away an early goal, but obviously that didn't pan out as we wanted it to."


And after watching how Sunderland emerged from the break the previous weekend against QPR as a bizarre sequence unfolded in which the players in red-and-white were incapable of controlling or passing the ball, you really do have to wonder what he's telling them in that dressing room. 

Jason Steele's footing

The Sunderland goalkeeper has had nothing but stick since his summer arrival from Blackburn - most of it deserved - but he made a few saves yesterday as he did against QPR last weekend. 

But it really is his positioning and footing that needs intensive work after he misjudged Brentford's free-kick which brought the home side back into the game. Bouncing about on his goalline, Steele feinted to go the wrong way before readjusting as Jozefzoon's strike wafted past him. 

Steele just doesn't seem to plant his feet like a normal goalkeeper and the way he sets himself looks all wrong. He may have avoided the worst of the criticism for allowing the Bees to score moments after the restart simply because he got close to the ball with a wave as it went past him, but this was suspect again.   

The deadline day signings are proving to be little more than bit-part additions

Sunderland fans have yet to see much of the trio brought in on deadline day and that looks like being the theme for the season as far as Callum McManaman, Jonny Williams and Marc Wilson are concerned.

With Williams and Wilson still sidelined, Grayson continues to only deploy McManaman from the bench as his preferred options tire. 

Bringing in players not required elsewhere because of issues with fitness or form was always going to be a risk unlikely to pay off with too much reward. It looks like Sunderland will have to make do without these three for most of the season. 

Forget focusing on Sunderland's home record, away trips are costing as many points

As some have become fixated on the Stadium of Light as a 'difficult' place for Sunderland's fragile players to perform, away trips ought to be providing some respite - especially with the travelling Mackems urging their players on throughout this game. 

But with Sunderland now having thrown away leads at Sheffield Wednesday, Hull City and Preston on top of yesterday's at Brentford on their travels, that inability to defend a winning position  now means the Black Cats have surrendered 8 points on the road. 

And now Grayson must aim for six points from the next two games at home to save his skin. The pressure is truly mounting. 


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