Since I last wrote about Sunderland, they have gone 1-2 in the premier league and beat Norwich City in the opening round of the Carling Cup tournament.
BLACK CATS 1 – 3 CHELSEA
Sunderland just couldn’t hold off Chelsea after scoring early in the first half. These matches against top-5 clubs are just brutal to follow, because you’re just waiting and hoping Chelsea doesn’t just drop the hammer on your team. Unfortunately that’s what happened in this one.
BLACK CATS 2 – 1 BLACKBURN
These are the matches that Sunderland has to win if they want to move up the table. Last season their record at home against teams 1-15 in the final standings was pretty poor (2 wins, 3 draws, 10 losses) which was a big reason why they had to fight off relegation late last season (more on this below). So it’s good to get started on the right foot at home.
STOKE CITY 1 – 0 BLACK CATS
Blah. Couldn’t get any points on the road. Frustrating match, but that’s all I really have to say about that.
I looked at all 20 teams in the Premiership last season, and I found that only Hull City had fewer points in their home matches than Sunderland. (in the figure below Hull finished 17th and Sunderland finished 16th).
So clearly they need to do better at home this season, but I wanted to see how they did against the top teams and the bottom teams and everyone in between, so I broke down all the data in the above figure to points vs. top 5, points vs. second 5 (6-10 in standings), points vs. third 5 (11-15 in standings), and point vs. bottom 5. Once again Sunderland is 16th in this figure.
They have a huge percentage of their home points against the bottom of the table (4 wins in 4 matches against 17-20, and I already mentioned their record against everyone else). So that’s where they need to improve this season. Points at home against the middle of the table teams. And this is a timely discovery because 2 of their next 3 matches are at home against Wolverhampton and Hull City. If they’re going to compete for the top half of the table this season, that’s got to be two victories.