Sam Allardyce’s fantasies are an area that none of us really want to delve too deeply in to, but, for the sake of this article, we probably should do.
Sunderland are beginning to show the sort of resilience that could be associated with a side about to make a miraculous recovery and save themselves from the abyss of the Championship. However, a lot of that responsibility seems to be on Jermain Defoe and his track record of finding the net with monotonous regularity.
Failing that, Allardyce needs to address many of his squad’s defence issues and help set his side up for the rest of the campaign to make sure there aren’t quite as many defensive blunders as there have been of late.
The Black Cats have been flirting with relegation for years and ‘Big Sam’ is the man tasked with keeping them away for the drop for one more year…
Could this be the XI to keep them up?
Sunderland managers can’t seem to settle on whether Mannone or Costel Pantilimon should take the first choice goalkeeping berth, but the Italian seems to be the better shot stopper.
Jordan Pickford is the other option and the youngster might be able to make the role his own long-term if Mannone and Pantilimon continue to under perform.
Billy Jones is one of those players that seems to be consistent without pulling up any trees or earning a great deal of credit.
The former Baggies star has kept hold of the right-back spot despite loanee DeAndre Yedlin pushing for a starting place and we can expect that to continue if Big Sam opts for a back four.
After one of the worst debuts in Premier League history, this former Bayern Munich defender will hope he can learn pretty quickly how to settle in to Premier League football.
Conceding a penalty and looking like he’s off the pace made for a poor start, but Kirchhoff’s experience should come in handy.
With the brilliance of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld’s partnership, Fazio is likely to be looking for a move away from Spurs and the Argentine central defender would be a good addition for Sunderland.
John O’Shea and Wes Brown have consistently shown they aren’t up to playing at Premier League standard any longer and need replacing.
This ex-Chelsea youngster has been given greater attacking freedom by Big Sam and has become quite a threat in the opposition’s final third.
As he overlaps, the midfield need to be aware to cover for the Dutchman, but he is quite an asset in this side.
M’Vila signing for the Black Cats on loan was quite a remarkable piece of business and he has shown glimmers of why he has been so highly regarded.
Many will think Lee Cattermole should walk into this Sunderland side, but Steve Sidwell has always been an underrated player in the Stoke midfield and should be utilised by the Black Cats if they can sign him.
Versatile to contribute in both boxes, Sidwell would be a shrewd addition.
Despite recent controversy, Johnson is still one of Sunderland’s most creative players and is a regular provider of both goals and assists when the Black Cats are playing well.
Lens was a star in Holland, but has struggled to have the same impact since arriving at Sunderland.
The flying forward’s role needs to be to run at sides and create space for the players like Defoe and Johnson.
Adding N’Doye to the squad might finally mean the end of Fletcher’s time in England, but this striker has a proven goalscoring pedigree and could be a star that keeps Sunderland up.
After his recent hat trick at Swansea, Jermain Defoe is continuing to break records and prove all of those wrong that think he is too old to replicate his own goal scoring heroics.