venerdì 27 dicembre 2013

Sunderland need help up front to continue to hope

Gus Poyet has problems to solve and must find solutions quickly. It would be early to write off Sunderland just yet, above all after they renewed hope ending Everton’s unbeaten 2013 home record thanks to a Ki Sung-yueng's match-winning penalty. But the Uruguayan manager has things to fix. Goals have been hard to come by in recent years and the days of Kevin Phillips, and Niall Quinn are gone. One of the primary cause for that is summer signing Jozy Altidore’s lack of goals. His work rate is high but insufficient to produce scores. Altidore continued to frustrate, showing good attitude with his pace and running effort but still looking as not a  goalscorer. But Altidore’s work was enough to provide him a spot in the starting XI so it was no surprise that United States striker currently kept Steven Fletcher out of the starting lineup. So Fletcher is still on the bench after recovering from his injuries. Beyond that there was Fabio Borini who can play up front, and there is always Ji Dong-won. However, there’s a lack of options at Sunderland with Steve Fletcher out of shape. Fletcher was the club’s top goalscorer last season, but he has scored just two goals this season. Poyet will need Altidore or Steven Fletcher to flourish if Sunderland want something out of this season. Surely, both need to see more of the ball in the box. In 68 minutes on the field against Norwich, Altidore received the ball just 18 times. Poyet's generally preferred 4-1-4-1. He put five men across the middle of the park still to the Goodison Park. Having more strikers on the pitch is not enough to produce goals but is obvious that forwards need to be utilized in the right areas. Poyet is right saying “We need to find a style and a system which plays to the strengths of our best players.” But the fact is also that both forwards were less than prolific until now. Altidore has gone scoreless in his first 10 Premier League matches. Fletcher still failed to regain his shape after the major ankle surgery he suffered last season and after he injured his shoulder against Crystal Palace last September. He had been ineffective until this point. Against Everton he still wasted a good scoring chance. He pointed his finger against Paolo Di Canio’s previous regime. "When I came back into the first-team squad after being injured it was a shock to see how intense everything was," Fletcher told, "He [Di Canio] can't deny he didn't want us to smile and laugh in training, but at every other club I've been at laughter's been a big part of things, of creating togetherness." Di Canio has a different thought “I received criticism from people like Steven Fletcher who, as soon as he picked up an injury, abandoned the squad and flew to Dubai." Gus Poyet has improved Sunderland's defence  but he’s still looking for to improve team’s goalscoring power.

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