Title odds 2016-17 1,000-1
Star man Jermain Defoe
Has done what Jermain Defoe has always done, scored goals. But he has never done it in a team struggling against relegation and in many ways this might just be the 33-year-old’s finest campaign. Without his 15 goals in the Premier League, Sunderland would have been relegated.
What went right
Appointing Sam Allardyce and ripping up the failed director of football model in order to persuade him to take the job back in October. It took Allardyce a while to have an impact, but he recruited well in January.
What went wrong?
A lot at the start of the season and the decision to persuade Dick Advocaat to return as manager backfired. The Dutchman’s enthusiasm vanished as soon as the summer transfer window shut.
Lame duck Jeremain Lens
The Holland international looked to be the best of Sunderland’s summer signings, but although there have been flashes of brilliance from the former Dynamo Kiev player, he has struggled to get his head around English football.
What’s the verdict on Sam Allardyce?
Allardyce is embroiled in brinkmanship with Sunderland owner Ellis Short as he looks to make sure he is given a sizeable transfer budget to improve the squad. He has refused to guarantee he will remain as manager, but he will most likely stay on.