Striker-Less Sunderland Gain Two Points but It Could Have Been Six

Striker-less Sunderland have to settle for two points from two games

Two home games, two 0-0 draws. Although not a disaster, had Sunderland had a fit out and out striker on the pitch for these games, the Black Cats could have easily been celebrating two wins from two home games. However, the lack of know-how up front meant they struggled to break down two stubborn and experienced Championship defences. 

Read More: Sunderland Cult Heroes Part One and Sunderland Cult Heroes Part Two

Sunderland a Striker Away From Six Points Instead of Two

Tony Mowbray Frustrated 

Head coach Tony Mowbray cut a frustrated figure following a second 0-0 draw at home. Speaking after the Preston North End game Mowbray said: “We are playing without our main striker, he’s still up there in all the data and he hasn’t even played the last five games for us. He is a loss, but I keep saying I don’t want it to be an excuse, we’ve got to find a way.

“It’s an easy narrative to talk about strikers but we could easily have scored today, we should have scored.”

Mowbray added that Amad Diallo who filled in as a striker on Tuesday night needs to learn when to shoot:  “We need Amad to shoot more, and we’re getting that message across to him every day. At the moment he wants to score that perfect goal.

“He has that chance there in the first half where he has to smash it in… football is about repetition and learning good habits, and that is the journey he is on with us. He’s learning his trade and he’s a good finisher [when he takes it on].”

Efforts Cannot Be Faulted

Tony Mowbray has tried several players as the team’s focal point in the absence of the injured Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms. Players like Elliot Embleton an attacking midfielder, Amad Diallo, Leon Dajaku and Jack Clarke who are wingers have had spells leading the line. 

Their effort in these games cannot be faulted; however, their instincts are not that of a natural striker. Extra touches have been taken instead of instinctively shooting has seen chances being missed and eventually cleared. 

Stubborn and Experienced Championship Defences Deny Striker-Less Sunderland Victories

At Reading and Watford where the Black Cats had to play without a striker, they scored five goals with the opposition unable to pick up the various runs of the attacking midfielders. However, since then Preston and Blackpool have visited Wearside in quick succession. Both have had time to work on stopping Sunderland due to the international break. They are experienced in the Championship and made it difficult for Sunderland’s creative players to find a way through. 

Both Blackpool and Preston are more experienced in this league than Sunderland. Saturday’s opponents Preston, for example, came to Wearside having conceded just four league goals all season. Mowbray’s young team must get used to playing against teams that will make it difficult for them, especially at home. 

Frustrated but Sunderland Have Nothing to Fear

Mowbray has some very talented players at his disposal, several of them young and inexperienced, especially at this level. On another day, fans would have celebrated six points from two games; however, they had to settle for two. 

So far Sunderland have faced several clubs who will undoubtedly be challenging for promotion. With 12 games played, the Black Cats are seventh and have shown that they can compete with the best in the league.

When Stewart and Simms are back, draws seen in the past two games will more often than not result in victories.