Pre-season momentum continues
Last season’s gruelling pre-season trip across the pond saw Sunderland fail to build any momentum going into the last Premier League campaign. Although there has been a change to the man in charge of the team after Sam Allardyce left the club, the whole preparations up to now have been key in building the elements that will give Sunderland the best chance of succeeding in the 2016/17 season.
This was the Black Cats third win in as many games and the teams Sunderland have come up against have progressively got better in standard, and will continue to do so. Match fitness is the key to building momentum but the fact that the games have ended in victories will also give players confidence.
Moyes assesses squad
This evening’s game saw new boss Moyes get his first chance to see his new side in action. The Scotsman gave individuals longer runouts than in the past two games and will use Wednesday’s game against Dijon to give the players who didn’t get on the chance to do so.
Moyes will be piecing together his preferred starting line-up for the opening game of the season against Manchester City as pre-season goes on, as well as looking to make some signings in the coming weeks.
Just five of tonight’s starting line-up were regulars in last season’s regular first team squad’s. Michael Ledger, Tommy Robson, Ethan Robson, George Honeyman, Lynden Gooch and Rees Greenwood were all handed starts and impressed throughout the game. Both Ledger and Tommy Robson looked solid in defence as well as looking good in possession of the ball. Honeyman, Gooch and Greenwood all looked lively in attack and defence, but the standout was Ethan Robson, who bossed the midfield and conducted the pace of the game. 17-year-old hot prospect Joel Assoro also came on for Duncan Watmore, who scored both of Sunderland’s first half penalties.
Still no sign of Kirchhoff?
Jan Kirchhoff is still yet to feature in one of Sunderland’s pre-season games and is still being rested as a precaution after the squads gruelling trip to Austria. The German played a huge part in last season’s campaign after joining in January and fans are desperate to see him in action sooner rather than later. As well as Kirchhoff, John O’shea, Sebastian Larsson and Jermain Defoe watched from the stands, but are expected to feature in one of the next two games.
N’zogbia to sign on a permanent?
Charles N’zogbia joined the Sunderland first team on the first day of pre-season training as a trialist whilst he reportedly looked for a new club, after he was released from the relegated Aston Villa at the end of last season. The Frenchman has now featured in all three of the recent fixtures, as well as scoring a goal and captaining the club in the second half against Hartlepool United.
Whether or not the new boss Moyes will want to sign him on a permanent basis is unclear, but the 30-year-old has definitely caught the eye of Sunderland fans with his first three performances for the club.
Sunderland will play Dijon on Wednesday, Montpellier on Saturday and Borussia Dortmund the following Friday, before travelling to Manchester City on August 13.