Poor starts are an all too familiar situation for Sunderland in the Premier League over the last few seasons. However, despite these slow starts, they’ve always managed to avoid relegation, but, is it going to be a mountain too high to climb this year?
Under new manager David Moyes, the Black Cats have not registered a win in their first 10 games and have only picked up 2 points which is the worst in Premier League history.
Comparing to this time in other seasons, the 2013/14 season saw them with only 4 points but found a way to finish 14th with 38 points as they won 4 of their last 5 matches of that season. In 2014/15 season, they had 11 points and finished 16th with 38 points. Last season (2015/16), they had 5 points after 10 games but after going unbeaten in their last 6 games, they finished 17th with 39 points, 2 points out of the relegation zone.
Sunderland have the worst attacking record in the league, with their seven goals for the season coming from just two players. Former England International Jermain Defoe has 5 goals while left back Patrick Van Aanholt has 2. They clearly need to find new avenues to goal, relying on Defoe will only get them so far. Not lacking attacking talent, with the likes of Steven Pienaar, Wahbi Khazri, Dider N’Gong, Duncan Watmore and Adnan Januzaj in the team, they must fire in order for the Black Cats fortunes to change.
Along with having the worst attack in the league, they have the second worst defence, conceding 20 goals this season, with only Hull City fairing worse, with 23. The defence is being exposed for their lack of pace on a consistent basis, and their lack of organisation has them conceding goals which leave them further on the back foot then they already need to be. John O’Shea and Lamine Kone have performed well below their normal standards, and whilst the wing backs in Javi Manquillo and Patrick Van Aanholt have been serviceable in an attacking sense, their defensive efforts have left a lot to be desired.
For all their failings, not just this season, but those systematic of seasons previous, the one positive for Sunderland is, they’ve been in this situation before, and they’ve gotten out of it before. They still have 28 games left to turn it around, but it needs to start now
If avoiding relegation is going to happen, then drastic chances on field need to happen and this weekend’s away game against Bournemouth is a great start of trying to get their first win of the season.