Cattermole a only Cats play
The long-term situation at Sunderland does not seem to be within anyone’s control. No one is likely to take the club off Ellis Short’s hands until we know which division it will compete in next season; and only those with the loudest mouths “know exactly” what the owner should do.
Still, we may as well suspend our fretting over the myriad of off-field incompetence for now. For those who enjoy a good fret, there’s plenty of on-field incompetence to be going on with.
The cliché about just concentrating on the next game is perfectly true.
Tactics and selection at SAFC are now considered academic by many. But even if this is correct, it shouldn’t alter the approach to the next game.
This happens to be against Preston, although the opposition is not especially concerning. Who cares who Sunderland play next? The result is all that matters.
What to do? Well they can start by not playing five at the back.
This was tried, yet again, against Aston Villa. With 30 minutes gone centre-back Tyias Browning was injured. This was bad news, although it did present the opportunity to change things around.
Yet, even though Sunderland hadn’t managed a single shot at that point, Browning was replaced by Billy Jones with no change in formation.
Playing someone who hasn’t convinced even in his true position of full-back was apparently preferable to discontinuing the ongoing failure of fielding five defenders.
True, the formation wasn’t used at QPR. But we can’t help but think that this was attributable to the availability of just two centre-backs, rather than any pennies dropping.
Three centre-backs should be available against Preston. So don’t be surprised if they make scoring even less likely by reverting to a back five.
Incidentally, the back four was not the problem at Loftus Road. However, eagle-eyed supporters may have noticed deficiencies elsewhere on the pitch.
Further up the field, though not much further, was Lee Cattermole. Will he ever be dropped? If other midfielders play badly, they’re out. Yet Cattermole’s selection is ringfenced.
It does appear he has been subjected to one injury too many. His forte now is standing on the centre line, turning 180 degrees and tapping the ball to a defender.
That’s about it. Although on Saturday, by defending like
Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole.