This week Martin Lewis has a scouting report on Sunderland. This will not only be interesting for Sunderland supporters but also Manchester United supporters before the big game on Saturday. In fact supporters of any club that are yet to play Sunderland this season will find this in-depth tactical and statistical analysis interesting.
Sunderland are in a bad run of form and with United flying high and wanting to wrap up the title early you’d probably not bet against Manchester United.
- Team currently on a very bad run of form, with no wins in the Premier League since the 19th of January. Therefore confidence will be low as well as lacking belief and certainty in their system of play, team mates and own abilities.
- Create numerical superiority in the box when they get into rhythm, forcing the opposition to defend deep and have capacity to retain possession in creation areas, putting the opposition under immense pressure in the box.
- Team set up in a 4x4x2, with Fletcher dropping between lines to receive the ball & short build up from the back.
- Very aggressive and create numerical superiority to win second balls, often allowing the to build and get into rhythm.
- Very dangerous and hard to contain when in rhythm, as they look to dominate creation areas as well as gain numerical superiority in the box.
- Quality lay-offs and flick-ons from Fletcher.
- Good positioning and density in the box, with 1st post always attacked [Usually Graham] & late support on the second post from opposite winger or Larsson breaking lines from deep.
- Look to bring the ball out of defence in short build ups with progression from Rose or finding Fletcher/Sessegnon coming deep [to feet].
- If progression from Rose or vertical pass is blocked, they will go back to O’Shea for him to play a long ball to the head of the strikers [or Fletcher’s feet in between lines if possible] to work off the second ball.
- To ensure they can condense the space and squeeze lines to gain a numerical advantage on the second ball, the midfield line will move high when O’Shea receives the ball. This creates two problems for them.
- If the second ball is lost then there is a lot of space to exploit in between lines and in-depth initially.
- The passes to O’Shea are not always correctly weighted, so if he is pressed quickly when receiving the ball it can be won high or he will make a poor pass, as he struggles to get the correct weight or accuracy on passes when under pressure.
- Johnson looks to take on defender 1v1 and 1v2. Also stays wide to allow inside progression from Rose.
- Sessegnon plays tucked inside on the right, allowing overlaps from Gardner.
- Good combination play between strikers with flick-ons and quick 1-2 combinations.
- Long balls from Mignolet [Goalkeeper] with poor consistency in weight and accuracy.
- Rotations between wingers and Fletcher.
- Team defend in a 4x4x2 medium-low block, with spaces between lines when in a medium block.
- In medium block, the team initially look to keep their shape and force the opposition to play the balls in front of their midfield players, who are high and aggressive in 1v1.
- They leave a big space behind them during pressing, therefore it is important to use mobility to arrive and receive in front of them & then look to lay off and exploit the space behind them.
- Centre backs are usually very deep initially, then look to move up to put pressure on the ball, creating a big gap between lines.
- Often poor alignment in their defensive line in medium block.
- Rose especially can be draw too deep, allowing the offside line to be broken.
- Well organised, tight lines and compact when in a low block, with Fletcher pressing opposition from behind around the half way line.
- Poor line alignment with after balls into depth, especially O’Shea, as he leave space behind him to exploit.
- Early pull back crosses at the byline can expose the space there, but O’Shea anticipates and intercepts pull backs when delayed.
- Medium reactions to gaining ball possession.
- If they can find Sessegnon [to feet] early then they can be dangerous as he is direct with the ball, very good in 1v1s and has vision to exploit depth, although inconsistent at times.
- Fletcher will often move wide to the left, to allow Sessegnon to progress down the middle. He will then look to make a diagonal run inside the fullback into depth.
- Quick and long transitions from corners from the goalkeeper [Sessegnon running channels].
- Often slow reaction to losing possession of the ball, decent reaction to the area of the ball, with pressure to force opposition back to the goalkeeper.
- Due to the progression of fullbacks [Especially Rose] there is lots of space to expose down either side, as well as both centre backs too deep to play offside.
- They are also very vulnerable if they lose the second ball after a long ball to the strikers if the ball is played quickly between lines.
Double exposed on both sides in transition:
Johnson often stays on his post too long in transitions out of the box, exploit diagonal crosses.
Offensive frontal free kicks:
Offensive free kicks from the side:
Defensive free kicks from the side
Pattern and combination play
Short build up:
Dynamics of the right:
Dynamics of the left, behaviour 1:
Dynamics of the left, behaviour 2:
Combinations between strikers:
Crosses and movement in the box from the left [Larsson breaking lines from deep]:
Crosses and movement in the box from the right:
Following up of long shots on the outside of the centre backs:
Larsson or Colback dropping deep in short build up, with the other high:
Larsson & Colback pushing high early in long build up to create numerical advantage to win second ball [long build up]:
Fletcher moving out to the left when Johnson receives the ball wide and deep:
Kick off combination:
£20 Wins You:
Sunderland to win: £105
5 Goals in game: £175
van Persie scores 1st to break duck: £80
Danny Graham to open account: £105