Sunderland concede late to lose on the opening day of the Premier League season to Manchester City.
Paddy McNair was in the wrong place at the wrong time and cannot really be faulted for his own goal which decided the tie. Sergio Aguero, typically, opened the scoring from the penalty spot thanks to Patrick van Aanholt's brain fart. Sandwiched between City's two goals was one from, who else, but Jermain Defoe who latched onto Jack Rodwell's excellent pass to fire home a temporary equaliser
Adnan Januzaj has talent
David Moyes' most recent recruit, on loan from Manchester United, showed glimpses of true quality on his debut. He showed fantastic ability in the build up to our goal and generally was very composed, appearing like he could make the ball do whatever he liked at times. If the Belgian can be nurtured and his attitude issues subside, this kid can be as good as he wants to be. He can't take a corner though.
Sunderland can still defend
In general, Sunderland defended astutely and patiently throughout against a dynamic City side who moved the ball with plenty of pace. Patrick van Aanholt's brain-dead challenge and Younes Kaboul's positioning for their second shows there is still much to work on but there would have been plenty to please Moyes about his side's defending overall. Lamine Kone did much to repair the damage caused by his off-the-field contract antics with a superb performance.
Solid performances aside, Sunderland need quality in the middle.
The absence of Jan Kirchhoff and Yann M'Vila was very evident during the first 70 minutes or so with Sunderland almost incapable of retaining possession for any reasonable amount of time. Whilst we defended well enough to reduce City to minimal chances, we were unable to get out of defence because the initial ball was either poor or an aimless lump forward. Getting M'Vila signed and Kirchhoff to full fitness must be the priority as this side with these two players will be a very potent one indeed - and one which will not be relegated. John O'Shea played well defensively but was more of a hindrance than anything else when Sunderland were in possession.
The bench has filled with quality
I would guess that our starting eleven was far away from the regular one will we see in future. Moyes' decision to leave the likes of Jeremain Lens, Wahbi Khazri and Januzaj on the bench was to try and capatilise on the latter stages of this match, with the opening exchanges always going to be bossed by Man City. It worked, with Januzaj heavily involved in Sunderland's equaliser - but we know these players will start in future. That said, with Lynden Gooch looking a handful whilst he was on the pitch and the impact we all know Duncan Watmore can have - swapping say those for Januzaj and Khazri would still be a quality looking bench. It gives us options later in the game and options that we know will positively impact games - don't be surprised to see Sunderland scoring a few late goals this season.
David Moyes knows what he is doing
I thought Moyes set us up really well and had we not gifted City a lead we could well have taken something from this match. The inexperienced Donald Love struggled at times and there were a few lapses in communication, but overall it was a very organised, thorough and industrious performance despite us missing key players. Sunderland are in good hands and if we can make a couple of decent inroads into the transfer market before the end of the window, and keep Defoe fit, we will be absolutely fine.