Injuries forced David Moyes into a number changes ahead of the bottom of the table clash at Stoke. Patrick Van Aanholt, Jack Rodwell and Papy Djilobodji replaced Jason Denayer, Jan Kirchhoff and Lamine Kone. Billy Jones returned to the bench after a lengthy spell out, and young Swedish starlet Joel Asoro was named on the bench.
Sunderland’s misery worsened at the Bet365 Stadium as Moyes and his men succumbed to another defeat. There is now a mountain to climb as we’re firmly rooted to the bottom of the table, and our fixtures aren’t getting any easier.
Sunderland started the opening moments of the game brightly, with Duncan Watmore winning a corner. Whabi Khazri took the corner short, a decision which unsurprisingly turned out to be the wrong one as Manquillo failed to communicate and miskicked it across the face of the goal. Minutes later, Papy Djilobodji played a hellish ball to Jermain Defoe but the striker failed to find Dider N’Dong.
Stoke then began to take control and Joe Allen headed home from an Arnautovic chip, Djilobodji should have done better, but that’s generally the case for our defenders. Sunderland did not respond too badly to the goal and went close to equalising through Paddy McNair and Khazri linking up, however, the latter saw his effort blocked. Not to be defeated, the Tunisian powered forward again, picking out Defoe, though his efforts proved fruitless as Shawcross blocked the ball well.
The lads had another chance to put themselves back in the game on 25 minutes, but Defoe saw his attempt sail narrowly over the bar. No more than five minutes later, Moyes’ men almost found themselves undone by Wilfred Bony who thumped the ball well wide. Stoke were proving troublesome on the counter attack and nearly grabbed a second after Arnautovic terrorised the Sunderland half, before playing to bony, who then switched it back to Arnautovic, though thankfully, he sent the ball wide.
Sunderland’s injury problems then worsened as Van Aanholt was forced off on the 40 minute mark, with Billy Jones replacing him. Joe Allen grabbed his braced after Shawcross header fell straight into his path, the Welshmen was able to hit home through a crowded box.
Moyes looked fierce as he emerged from the tunnel for the second-half and had cleary had words with the lads. Whatever he said, did not work, and Stoke continued to dominate the game.
Bony went close to getting his first goal in a red and white shirt but Pickford blocked his effort with an out-stretched arm and Djilobodji prevented an Allen hat-trick. Moyes then opted to take Paddy McNair off in place of Steve Pienaar.
Billy Jones did his bits up front and linked up with well Watmore but Defoe struggled to convert in a crowded box. The offside flag gave Sunderland a huge let off as Arnautovic converted Allen’s wayward strike, but the linesman had his flag up.
Anichebe made his comeback from injury with ten minutes remaining, replacing Rodwell. The striker had been on the pitch no longer than 20 seconds before giving away a free-kick, great stuff. Thankfully, the free-kick came to nothing but the lads still didn’t seem to realise that we were 2-0 down. Stoke continued to press for the remainder of the game and Adam saw his effort ricochet off the bar from 25-yards out.
It was another uninspiring performance from the lads and Stoke deservedly ran out 2-0 winners.
Final Score: 2-0
ALS Man of the Match: No one
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