Let’s start by taking a look at the key statistics from yesterday’s 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light.
Like many games where we haven’t taken the three points this season, we had the edge over our opponents in terms of possession. The hosts only managed to take a 47.4 percent share of the possession, whereas we had 52.6 percent of the keep ball yesterday. However, we were unable to take the three points in the North East, despite having the Lion’s share of the ball.
Shots on and off target
The Black Cats had the advantage over us in terms of attempts on goal, but we were more accurate than the hosts with our shots at Jordan Pickford’s goal. Of our seven efforts nearly half of them were on target with three directly at goal, despite the hosts having double the attempts we managed; only four of them were on target. It was certainly even in terms of testing each other’s goalkeepers and this was reflected in the 2-2 score line, as we shared the points with our hosts.
Corners and crosses
With tall striker Andy Carroll back in the starting line-up, we failed to make the most of our opportunities to get the ball into the box from open play, but we were clinical with our limited number of set pieces. Of the eight corners in yesterday’s game, Sunderland had seven of them; however we were able to make use of our only corner with James Collins heading in from Robert Snodgrass’s delivery. The open play crossing, however, was a different story, the hosts managed to get 22 crosses into the box, whereas we only managed eight, making the most of early ball into the box when Andy Carroll knocked it down for Andre Ayew to open the scoring. We certainly were clinical with a number of our balls into the box, but it is no lie that we didn’t create enough of them on Wearside.
Tackle win rate and passing accuracy
There is no denying that our midfield lacked a certain finesse in terms of passing yesterday, our hosts didn’t do much better either and this can be seen through the passing stats. The Black Cats just edged us out in the passing accuracy department with 77.5 percent to our 77.4 percent of passes finding their intended recipient’s. One main reason of our poor passing rate yesterday was the absence of our suspended skipper Mark Noble; we haven’t won a game since December 2014 without Noble in our starting line-up. Our defence was again under scrutiny at full-time yesterday, it has been our downfall in recent weeks and despite our clean sheet last week, our shaky defence was back up to its old tricks yesterday. We only managed to win 76.9 percent of our tackles at the Stadium Of Light, whereas the hosts won 82.4 percent of theirs. One thing is for sure, we are going to have to step up our tackling and all-round defensive performance if we are going to cope with Romelu Lukaku and the Everton attack in six days time.