Although the Black Cats have certainly endured a rather tough start to the 2015/16 campaign, they have seemingly struck upon a winning formula down at the Stadium of Light recently in successfully achieving back-to-back wins in their last two Premier League outings.
Fortunes could easily turn back around at any moment of course, for the English top-flight remains incredibly hard to predict with every passing week. But as the Black Cats’ back-line has somehow managed to register two impressive clean sheets against Crystal Palace and Stoke City respectively – maybe things are finally starting to go right for the Wearside club.
However, as the Stadium of Light faithful have experienced their fair share of false dawns in the past, Sam Allardyce clearly still has a great deal of work to carry out in order to defiantly avoid relegation this term. The going will invariably get tough once again just a few shorts weeks down the line…
So then, have Sunderland really found the right manager in Big Sam Allardyce, or are Black Cats fans simply experiencing little more than a short-lived honey-moon period?
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As the man himself has determinedly made clear, Allardyce is a manager who has never been relegated from the English top-flight. He has a strong reputation for keeping things tight at the back amongst his respective outfit – and although many other Premier League clubs would simply turn their nose up at just the thought of their team landing Big Sam as manager, he arguably represents the perfect option for Sunderland right now.
The Black Cats have always played host to a decent range of attacking options. Yet without a resolute enough back-line in place to maintain a certain solidarity throughout the rest of the team, Sunderland have often subsequently faltered in calamitous style as a result.
Big Sam therefore possesses just the right skill-set to help the struggling Wearsiders, and if recent results are to offer anything to go by this season, the threat of relegation could certainly evaporate somewhat later down the line. It’s going to take a lot more hard work and grit from the players themselves, but at least the club now play host to a manager who seemingly knows how to avoid taking a pummelling on a week-to-week basis.
However, because Sunderland’s problems stem from the overall lack of managerial consistency down in the Stadium of Light dug-out of late – can a long-term plan really be established with Big Sam firmly at the helm?
As was witnessed throughout his time at Upton Park not so long ago, the former Bolton, Blackburn and Newcastle boss can indeed stave off impending relegation effectively enough – yet when it comes to building meaningful teams that can impress their respective fan-base on a consistent enough basis, the 61-year-old tactician is largely incapable. It may make little sense to the many Black Cats fans currently enjoying their recent run of results in the league, but the deep-rooted fate of their club simply looks far from promising with someone like Allardyce in charge…
Although they may well avoid an unwanted trip back down to the Championship in the upcoming future under Big Sam, what good will that be if life in the Premier League undoubtedly becomes a chore? Sunderland will arguably define themselves as nothing more than a stagnant and boring outfit as a result of his influence at the club, ultimately enjoying very little progress from a pure footballing perspective.
Get ready to witness a further dose of aimless long-balls punted up to a solitary striker who plays almost exclusively with his back to goal, players constantly proving unwilling to take on shots from outside the box for fear of losing possession and almost every single creative flair talent being sacrificed to the wing simply in the name of sheer un-ambition alone. When all is said and done, Big Sam just doesn’t set his sides out to actually win games as often as he should.
As long as their club successfully maintains it’s place in the Premier League, most of the Stadium of Light faithful will likely care very little about what comes next within their team, which seems pretty reasonable enough right now.
But make no mistake about it, Sunderland fans, the long-term warning signs are already in place for all those honest enough to take note this season – and there is no getting away from that…