AFTER another disappointing home result against Crystal Palace, the pressure is mounting ahead of this weekend’s trip to Norwich.
But it was never going to be easy. All talk on last week’s podcast pointed to a 0-0 draw, and that proved to be the case as Sunderland toiled and once more failed to break down a solid, well drilled back line.
It’s a problem that has presented itself on too many occasions this season.
The major conundrum facing Gus Poyet, in the last 11 games of the season, is how do we fix it?
I kind of feel we’re compromising in the wrong areas. Another blank highlights how toothless we are up front.
It’s like we’ve just decided to go with Jozy Altidore and Steven Fletcher because they’re our forwards and that’s that.
The fact is neither have been pulling up any trees. Altidore has been a mixed bag performance wise and offers little or no goal threat. Fletcher highlighted how bad he’s been in recent times with a bizarre first-half showing against Palace before going off injured.
Fabio Borini is the obvious option when it comes to soling the striking problem, but why does Gus seem so reluctant?
Borini showed his qualities when playing through the middle in the Capital One Cup final, scoring an excellent goal and was arguably our man of the match. He worked well as a lone central forward and looked as promising an option as we’ve seen all season.
We also saw Borini as part of an unusual system in the Southampton cup tie. On that occasion he was accompanied by Nacho Scocco, with Craig Gardner as a false number nine and Emanuele Giaccherini in a floating wing position. It was a dynamic and interesting idea that saw us dominate the game. Gardner himself got on the score sheet.
So for me, Borini has to have a go as the centre forward. Can Scocco or Giaccherini be as bad in wide forward areas as Fletcher and Altidore have been, at times, through the middle?
I’m not sure if that’s possible. I don’t think we should be risking such an important area of the field and we should give Borini the role for the future.
There’s an argument for Gardner or Giaccherini to fill in that false nine roll, with Johnson adopting that free role from the right hand side and Scocco playing as an advance wide forward from the left. Both Gardner and Giaccherini have shown they’re capable of scoring goals.
Whilst both have been generally uninspiring in their own ways in general play, they might bag you a goal out of nothing.
At this stage of the season, when we’re dropping points because we can’t break teams down, it might be time to try something different. To accommodate all of our goal threats as best as we possibly can.
I think Poyet is tactically excellent, and I’d like to see him try the system that served him so well against Southampton at Norwich on Saturday.
It’s a big game to try it in, but it’s a game we need to win. Sometimes you need to take risks to get results.