After the snoozefest that is the international break, it’s back to the sweet stuff this weekend. We’re at the Stadium of Quiet on Saturday afternoon and the first question is, how many debutants will we see?
A first sighting of Federico Fazio is most likely I’d say. Ever since Younes Kaboul returned from injury at the fag end of last season he’s been unconvincing and swapping him out for the new big lad on the block is probably high on Pochettino’s to-do list. Bad news for Kaboul given his contract situation if it does happen but there’s a lot of the season to go of course and if Danny Rose can get offered a five year deal well… Benjamin Stambouli will probably start on the bench unless either Poch decides to change formation and start with fewer attackers or swap him in for Bentaleb. Unlikely at this point I’d guess. Davies or Naughton will come in if either Rose or Dier fail to recover from their knocks, I’ve no idea how serious their respective injuries are, not very I hope, especially in Dier’s case.
Will the manager stick with the formation that worked so well against QPR and Limassol but was found wanting against Sterling and Henderson? Almost certainly yes, though the puzzle of how to bring the best out of the front four will be worrying him. Goals are what he needs from his attacking quartet and one so far from Eriksen, Adebayor and Lamela combined isn’t enough. The brace from Chadli against QPR was unexpected but ideal, we need the others to emulate him and on a regular basis too.
Sunderland have started the season with two draws and a loss to the QPR team we swatted away the week before; their fans might have expected more after their relegation thwarting spectacular end to last season. Poyet has been busy with the cheque book with nine signings over the summer but has already said that he’s unhappy with the changes he’s been able to make. Not a statement liable to help the morale of his team but you can see what he’s driving at, a scan down the Sunderland team sheet doesn’t fill one with fear, Adam Johnson is the only man you’d pause your finger at and go “oh yes, they’ve got him haven’t they”.
We’ve done well at the new(ish) Roker in recent years, it’s always a battle but we’ve generally come out on top. We can expect our lads to press press press and then try and take advantage of any slip-ups from O’Shea and Brown. We should be confident.
Craig Pawson (who?) is the man in yellow/green/black. COYS.
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