Sunderland Player Ratings - Crystal Palace: Whole team impresses after strong defensive display
Photo: BBC Sport

The full team scores highly after Sunderland grinded out a crucial 1-0 win away to Crystal Palace on Monday night.

Despite the failures of the 3-5-2 set-up against Everton recently, a game in which the Black Cats conceded plenty in a 6-2 loss, Sam Allardyce's team pulled it off this time out in order to earn all three points at Selhurst Park, and many individuals impressed with their efforts.

Costel Pantilimon - 8

For all the possession and time spent in Sunderland's third of the pitch, Crystal Palace were unable to create many clear sights on goal meaning goalkeeper Pantilimon was not tested too much.

The giant Romanian stopper was confident in what he did have to do though as he beat shots from distance to safety and commanded his box really well in order to secure a second clean sheet of the season.

Billy Jones - 8

This was arguably the best game in a Sunderland shirt for former West Bromwich Albion right back Jones as he did a fantastic job both going forward, where he got the assist for the only goal, and defensively, as he kept arguably the Premier League's trickiest winger Yannick Bolasie in check for most of the match.

John O'Shea - 8

Once again this season, the Republic of Ireland international was a much needed calming influence for his fellow defenders after returning from injury during the international break.

The organisation and communication between the back line and goalkeeper was spot on as they kept former teammate Connor Wickham quiet.

Younes Kaboul - 9

The former Tottenham Hotspur defender was named man of the match and rightfully so with his name standing out in a Sunderland victory just like for the Tyne Wear derby.

Kaboul seemed to win everything in the air as Palace put a fair few balls in the box, but he dealt with it and was the best of the three central defenders.

Sebastian Coates - 8

A lot has already been said about the effectiveness of Allardyce's decision to go three at the back for this one, and Coates was every bit a part of this as Palace's direct attacking threats were neutralised. It quite easily could have been the Uruguayan as the goal-scoring hero too as he had a header cleared off the line in the second half.

Patrick Van Aanholt - 8

This was easily the Dutchman's best performance of the season as at left wing back he seems to have found his calling with the freedom to use his pace in an attacking sense with extra security in behind him. However, like Jones, he did a great job in stifling a high rated winger in the form of Wilfred Zaha on his side of the pitch too.

Yann M'Vila - 7

M'Vila was asked to do a fairly basic job for this game in protecting an already overloaded defence, but he performed the task really well while continuing to display his array of passing. A good comeback performance after effectively losing the Southampton game for the team.

Lee Cattermole - 7

Similar performance to M'Vila really in the fact he was put in a position which likes to be in, protecting the defence with his tackling and work ethic while also popping into space and playing accurate balls down the field. A nice controlled game too with no booking picked up, for once.

Sebastian Larsson - 6

Larsson gave his usual absolute 100% effort in this game but, to be honest, not too much else, which is why it came as little surprise when he was replaced quite early in the second half mainly after wastefulness on the ball and poor set piece deliveries.

Steven Fletcher - 7

The striker was taken off the same time as Larrson but he was a threat mainly in the first half with a couple of glimpses at goal. His work ethic was spot on despite again minimal service into him but he won his fair share of balls in the air and supported Jermain Defoe nicely.

Jermain Defoe - 8

A really dogged display from a classy professional as he worked tirelessly for the team both on and off the ball and struck up a good understanding with Fletcher.

It was this never say die attitude which forced the mistake for the goal as he gave Scott Dann a decision which he failed to act on. Hopefully, his injury late on will not be serious as this performance showed just why Allardyce needs to keep him on Wearside.


Duncan Watmore - 7

A new contract signed in the week and he seemed like a player who was up for it when he came on just before the hour mark.

His pace and direct running did a great job of getting the team up the pitch and relieving pressure, while also a bit of quality nearly set up a goal. He showed naivety at times to give the ball away in bad positions, but made a great impact otherwise.

Jermain Lens - 6

A day before his 28th birthday the Dutch international might have wanted to make more of an impact, but, like Watmore, his speed still helped the team out massively and kept them a threat. He could have scored the winner too and he'll be disappointed with how tame his close range effort was.