Norwich City 0-3 Sunderland: Key points from a vital Black Cats win

Sunderland came away from Carrow Road with all three points today as they showed fans and pundits alike that they are well up for the fight, but what did we learn from the performance?

Norwich City 0-3 Sunderland: Key points from a vital Black Cats win
Goalscorers Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe show their delight after the latter put his side two goals ahead. (Photo: Sunderland AFC)

Sunderland put in a performance full of fight and determination as they won 3-0 against relegation rivals Norwich City earlier today, showing that they may well have what it takes to avoid the drop yet again. There were plenty of talkings points from the game, though these were the main musings from the Carrow Road win.

Sunderland have the ability to take the game to the opposition

It seems as if in recent weeks, the Black Cats have thrown away numerous points from winning positions due to their reluctance to attack the opposition, instead choosing to sit back and hold on to the lead which has simply not worked. Three points against Southampton and Newcastle were thrown away for this very reason in recent games, but today this wasn't the case.

Despite Sam Allardyce stating that he wanted to ensure his team simply did not lose, his players were up for the game from the get-go, and made it clear that they were desperate for the win.

It took until just before half-time for Fabio Borini to put his side ahead, and from there Sunderland did not look back as they added a second and a third before the final whistle brought the game to a halt. Perhaps confidence has been low prior to this and may have led to a hesitance to take the game to the opposition, but after this display the players should be confident in their ability to assume control of future games.

Duncan Watmore makes a welcome return to the side

He has had to wait for what seemed like forever after his injury near the beginning of February, but Duncan Watmore was back in action today and he certainly did not disappoint. 

Used as a half-time substitute for Wahbi Khazri, who was on a yellow card, Watmore ensured that his side had an option on the counter attack as his direct style of play and pace proved troublesome for the Norwich defence on multiple occasions.

He managed to net himself a goal in the dying moments of the game, and could have perhaps had an assist if he had sent Jermain Defoe through on goal earlier when he counter-attacked after a Norwich corner in the second half.

He likely won't break into the starting eleven so soon after his return, but he is definitely an effective option for his manager to have on the bench.

Cattermole was outstanding at the heart of midfield for his side. (Photo: Sunderland AFC)
Cattermole was outstanding at the heart of midfield for his side. (Photo: Sunderland AFC)

Lee Cattermole proves doubters wrong with Man of the Match performance

He has had a fair few doubters over the course of the season - myself included - but today the captain proved to Allardyce that he was right to persist with him after last week's defeat against Leicester City.

Deployed in the usual central midfield role ahead of Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole was given more licence to be aggressive with his pressing than in past games where he was more inclined to stay back and hold his position. This paid dividends as the skipper was a nuisance for the Norwich midfield from start to finish, even clearing off the line twice in the second half.

If he continues in this vein of form until the end of the season, Cattermole could be one of the players that keeps Sunderland in the Premier League.

Younes Kaboul and Lamine Kone continue to impress

When you're keeping the club captain out of the side, you know you must be doing something right.

That is certainly the case for Younes Kaboul and Lamine Kone, who have kept John O'Shea out of the starting eleven in recent weeks and have largely looked solid at the back. Keeping their second clean sheet in three games today was crucial for their confidence, and it was well earned as they dominated Norwich striker Dieumerci Mbokani from the first whistle to the last.

Keeping a consistent back-line together is a key factor in a relegation battle, a fact proven by the lack of composure shown by the Norwich defence in the absence of January signing Timm Klose who was unavailable due to injury.

The back four picks itself from now until the end of the season barring injury, and that is something Allardyce will be grateful for.

Jermain Defoe yet again proves that with proper service he is Sunderland's most lethal threat

In stark contrast to the previous game against Leicester City, Defoe was played in behind the defence on multiple occasions and looked threatening when he received the ball around the Norwich penalty area, rather than seeing the ball launched towards his head as it was last week.

Defoe got himself a goal after timing his run into the box and prodding home Borini's low cross, and could have had more if his team-mates had chosen the right moments to play him in during the second half.

His ball to Borini led to the penalty in the first-half, and the 33-year old was tireless throughout the game as he chased down lost causes and ensured that he was always in the minds of the Norwich back-line.

His goal today was his 13th in the Premier League this season, a highly impressive total for a side that has been less than stellar for much of the campaign, and he needs service like he received today if he is to add to that tally before the season is over.