System change for Sunderland against Luton? Another new signing looks destined to start as well

Away day's are back as Sunderland look to win their opening two games for the first time ever.

by GMac88 Saturday, 11 August 2018 08:14 AM Comments

Okay, not the first time ever. When was the last time? I'm not sure, it's just gone 9am and I can't really bring myself to research beyond the point of this article, which is who looks likely to start today.

Looking back on the Charlton game, despite the fantastic result, there were mixed fortunes for a side littered with debuts. We could see more debutants today, particularly with the late arrival of Max Power. First, let's see who looks safe as houses in Sunderland's first team;


Safe and starting

Jon McLaughlin - number one keeper, solid debut, can't really see beyond him between the sticks. He can catch a ball too - crazy concept, I know.

Adam Matthews - Donald Love is injured so he will move from starting at left back to right back.

George Honeyman - the captain will probably start every game he is fit enough to do so this season.

Chris Maguire - the standout debutant without a doubt, looks a shrewd purchase and I expect him to cause some issues today.

Lynden Gooch - arguably our best player, would be daft to consider dropping.

Josh Maja - looked pretty accomplished against Charlton. Not only that, but we don't have anyone else!


Tinker row

Glen Loovens - both centre backs had a torrid time against Charlton, particularly in the first half. However Loovens recovered better than his partner so probably will keep his place (and looks the better player in general).

Alim Ozturk - it was a gash debut let's be honest, in the realms of Jan Kirchhoff against Tottenham. Let's hope he recovers in the same way, and looks more like a centre back next time we see him. I think he'll be dropped today if we stick with the system we started with against Charlton, which I actually don't think we will.

Luke O'Nien - the announcement of O'Nien felt like one of our marquee signings and, whilst he had a poor debut, I think Ross knows there is plenty more to come from him. Again, if we stick with the same system I think he'll start, but otherwise I expect him to be the one to be dropped if we do change formation.

Bali Mumba - it would be really harsh to drop the 16 year old after such an accomplished performance against Charlton. He's in this list purely from a tactical perspective, the lack of physical presence in the midfield was a massive issue against Charlton and you would imagine him or O'Nien will be dropped to rectify that. What a prospect.

Donald Love - he is injured and, that aside, Bryan Oviedo was magnificent.


The verdict

It's interesting because Ross strikes me as the kind of manager to take action when he feels something isn't right. I don't think I ever remember such a tactically sound half time switch like against Charlton, and I think Ross knows that playing the same or similar starting eleven would probably reveal the same weaknesses against a very imposing Luton side. After everything that has happened this summer, I don't expect the answer to be Lee Cattermole, given we'll have plenty of options in midfield once injuries subside, though if we can't ship him out on loan by the end of August he will probably feature at times this season.

Being away from home, and given it worked so well in the second half against Charlton, I wouldn't be surprised to see three centre backs on the team sheet and therefore I reckon;

Starting line up

McLaughlin, Ozturk, Loovens, Baldwin, Matthews, Oviedo, Honeyman, Mumba, Maguire, Gooch, Maja.

I wouldn't suspect this will be our standard formation, but whilst our options in midfield are limited (couldn't imagine Power being thrown straight into the thick of it), it would be a sensible set up in my eyes. 



Jack Ross, Bali Mumba, Luton