Man of the Match - Josh Maja (7.7)
Looked happier with Wyke alongside him
That anonymously left comment sums up Josh Maja, and Sunderland's, attacking performance yesterday. Whilst Charlie Wyke had an iffy game, his presence was enough to change the way the opposition defended against us.
Up to now it has been relatively simple for teams to double up on our attackers. Whilst the common trio of Aiden McGeady, Lynden Gooch and Chris Maguire are inventive and fairly industrious individually, collectively they haven't supported eachother and Maja enough. The lack of supporting runs has allowed defenders to effectively double-mark the widemen with full backs and midfielders, double-mark Maja in the middle with our full backs generally the only players finding a little space.
Enter Wyke, and suddenly that dynamic changed. Blackpool had much more to contend with, leaving Maja with a bit more time and he looked far better, overall, because of it. We know Maja is as clincal as they come in this league, but he has also had his critics for the rest of his play - which significantly improved with the presence of Wyke. Wombat also left a comment highlighting Maja's other superb natural talent - his touch;
One of his better games with some good touches
Second place - Aiden McGeady (7.2)
Looks most likely to unlock opposition defences. Has that little bit extra class - Anonymous
Standout performance, always looked a threat - Barry
It's nothing we haven't already said about McGeady many times this season, but I won't get sick of highlighting it, the fella is too good for this league. He will be another to benefit from two strikers to feed and feed off, someone else to aim a cross at or run off the back of. January could be an exciting month on the pitch, if it isn't off the pitch.
Last place - Lee Cattermole (6.0)
Despite being moderately dominant in possession, our central midfield looks very vulnerable without the ball. Max Power was the better of the two - highlighted by the ratings, however both need to be much better when defending. Cattermole picked up his 10th booking of the season, as he does every season, and will miss the next two games but this could be a blessing in disguise. Dylan McGeouch is waiting for another opportunity - a player who featured heavily during our fantastic October and November form, though it would be great to see Luke O'Nien get a chance in his favoured position.
Your comments highlighted Cattermole's lack of mobility, with Frank saying that he is "far too slow these days, another booking, only good enough for the bench now." It's a good point, because I don't think Cattermole is clever enough off the ball to make up for his lack of pace. Which is a shame, because he has plenty of quality (you don't make over 270 Premier League appearances as a midfielder if you don't have some quality).
We also had someone point out that he "Looks a much better player when he stays on his feet", no doubt alluding to his habit of getting booked whenever he slides in (because he usually does so wrecklessly).
The rest received a better overall rating than after the frustrating draw with Shrewsbury, but there is plenty of room for improvement;
Luke O'Nien (6.8), Jon McLaughlin (6.8), Jack Baldwin (6.7), Charlie Wyke (6.5), Lynden Gooch (6.4), Max Power (6.3), Tom Flanagan (6.3), Reece James (6.2).