Source: Sunderland AFC via Facebook

Sunderland look doomed and, in honesty, have done for weeks. Games that must produce points produce none or, as against Burnley and West Ham, just one. Here, James Reynolds, a freelance sportswriter, looks at the reality staring David Moyes in the face. We can question some of his conclusions (why, for example, would Moyes’s career be over if we went down?) but it’s mostly hammer hits nail on head …

With six Premier League games remaining, Sunderland need a miracle to avoid relegation to the Championship. David Moyes was thrown in the deep end a little at the start of the campaign but his side hasn’t been anywhere near good enough.

If Sunderland do go down, Moyes’s managerial career will be all but over and Sunderland will need to make some major changes ahead of an attempt to secure promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking.

Moyes’s men have won just five league games all season; it just hasn’t been good enough. They have been victorious only once since mid-December and the Sunderland boss must take some responsibility for the lack of effort and substance.

Last year, Sunderland relied on Jermain Defoe to keep them up but even his goals – 14 so far compared with 18 for all of last season – have been insufficient to get the team out of trouble. Recently, even his scoring has dried up and without them, Sunderland have struggled to score at all. And now time is almost up.

To be fair to Moyes, he inherited a weak Sunderland side and has had little time to mix things up at the Stadium of Light. When Sam Allardyce announced that he was leaving the club for the England national role last summer, Moyes seemed the best of a bad set of options, but he didn’t really have a chance to assess the squad and make wholesale changes.

Consequently, Sunderland have paid the price for lack of preparation, although you could claim that Allardyce left his successor in the lurch – you only need to look at how Crystal Palace are doing with him in charge to remember how effective he is.

Nor has Moyes has helped himself. He has found himself in the media eye in recent weeks for his actions off the pitch and the pressure is clearly getting to him.

Back in August, the former Everton boss probably assumed Sunderland could get by with one or two signings – a naïve belief. Given the weaknesses in the squad,  and the certainty that the few key members look likely to leave if relegation cannot be avoided, an entire upheaval is needed in the near future. Even if Moyes somehow guided Sunderland to safety, massive change is needed.

Punters can back SAFC at 33/1 to avoid the drop this season and, due to their precarious position, they may look for offers on comparison websites such as www.latestbettingsites.co.uk before parting with their cash. Sunderland’s struggles have been well-documented in recent weeks; is there still time, and a slender hope for Moyes’s men to rise to a enormous challenge (and hope other clubs falter)?

Until the 2-2 draw at home to West Ham, Sunderland had failed to score in more than 11 hours of top flight football. The point from that game was of little help in the desperate battle to stay up.  Nothing short of five wins from the final six games is likely to be enough to achieve that miracle.

Further draws are not good enough. There are four theoretically winnable games left before back-to-back away fixtures against Arsenal and Chelsea and even those games must produce points to stand any chance of survival. Five years ago, and with more breathing space before the last day of the season, Moyes might have been backed to pull it off it. 

But he wears the look of a beaten man who knows in his heart that keeping Sunderland in the top flight may be a step too far for any mortal.

Source: Sunderland AFC via Facebook

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Salut! Sunderland is written, illustrated and edited by - and principally for - supporters of Sunderland AFC. The site aims to be sufficiently literate and entertaining to appeal to people who do not follow SAFC but enjoy good football writing.

One Response to “David Moyes: steering his Sunderland ship on to the rocks?” Subscribe

  1. malcolm April 23, 2017 at 9:22 am #

    James has written a piece which may be informative to football fans in general but says nothing to Sunderland fans that we hadn’t worked out for ourselves.

    Moyes did inherit a weak Sunderland side but the foundations were there last season for improvement this year.

    Where Moyes and Allardyce before him have been let down is that those foundations have been weakened instead of being the building blocks for progress. The writing was on the wall when it became clear that M’Vila and Yedlin weren’t going to be signing for us never mind any others who would see the side progress. The Kaboul and Kone incidents undermined morale and the unfortunate early season injuries to Cattermole and Kirchhoff and later Watmore weakened an already thin squad.

    The signings we have brought in have been particularly underwhelming. Consider the overall contributions of Djilibodji, Love, McNair, Piennar, Anichebe, Gibson and don’t forget Jolean Lescott! For various reasons none have given us much to shout about. Had they all been injury free then it might have been a different story but the fact is most have been unavailable for most of their time at Sunderland. The only partial success in my view has been Oviedo.

    The loan signings have been a mixed bag, with some decent performances but not a lot of consistency from any of them. Manquillo, Denayer and Janujaz haven’t been as influential as Kaboul, Yedlin and Khazri were in last season’s relegation dogfight. I’d have rather Lens stayed at the club than Janujaz. Ndong is no M’Vila although he might get there.

    Moyes is getting a lot of the flak just now and there is no doubt that he has been as disappointing as Martin O’Neil was but to my mind the whole structure of the club needs an overhaul.

    I fear we may go the way (and may have to go the way) of Portsmouth, Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn, Leeds – and look how long it has taken them to re-establish themselves after they became the last team to win the Football League before the Premiership was invented – and God forbid Coventry City.

    Up the road Ashley has survived numerous campaigns to get him to leave. I am surprised that the owner of our club gets off so lightly.

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