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Sunderland AFC: Relegation Fodder?

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For a team who’ve diced with relegation consistently over the last few years, and arguably only escaped last season thanks to Sam Allardyce’s remarkable gift for masterminding relegation-escapes, Sunderland have once again failed to strengthen convincingly. Could this year finally see them slip out of the Barclays Premier League?

Primarily Sunderland have been over-reliant on Jermaine Defoe in terms of their goal-threat. The ex-England star contributed 12 goals last season, the 7th highest tally in the league, despite only joining Sunderland in the mid-season window.

Incoming striker Victor Anichebe, though useful, is unlikely to contribute too many goals to Sunderland’s tally. He only racked up 9 goals in his 63 appearances at West Bromwich Albion. His arrival sees him re-join David Moyes who previously managed him at Everton and looks suspiciously driven by convenience.

Elsewhere in Sunderland’s strike-force, Fabio Borini has been ruled out for 3 months with a groin injury. The young Italian showed little promise at Liverpool and his signing received mixed reviews from Sunderland fans. His absence further weakens an already questionable forward line.

Of course Sunderland’s squad has its highlights though: centre-back powerhouse Lamine Kone added an impressive steel to Sunderland’s defence when he arrived last year as an inspired Sam Allardyce purchase. The Frenchman will be under immense pressure to perform as Sunderland’s questionable attacking options could pile a lot of pressure on their defence. However Jack Rodwell’s presence as an impressive central defensive midfielder could help relieve some of that pressure.

Another glimmer of hope comes in the form of Corsican forward Wahbi Kazri, who offers a sharp and skilful attacking option to a squad that elsewhere lacks bite.

While the incoming manager David Moyes has experience at big clubs, the Glaswegian’s record since he departed Everton has seen him consistently fall short of expectation. At both Manchester United and Real Sociedad he failed to impress fans or mastermind anything that could be described as ‘great football’.

All in all, with a lack of attacking options, an over reliance on the ageing Jermaine Defoe and a weak forward line, things aren’t stacking up well for Sunderland in what’s becoming an increasingly competitive Premier League. Sam Allardyce pulled them out of near-certain relegation last year but gives way to David Moyes, a man struggling for form. This year it’s likely that we finally see Sunderland drop.

 




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