Sunderland are sitting pretty at the top of the League One table during the first international break of the season after winning four of their five matches in August.
Lee Johnson’s side came out winners against MK Dons, AFC Wimbledon, Blackpool and Wycombe, whilst their one defeat came in a 1-0 loss at Burton Albion. The Black Cats conceded four goals and scored eight on their way to the top of the table, with plenty of positivity to come from their excellent start to the campaign.
However, there are also areas where Sunderland can improve to make sure that they keep this run going and are ultimately successful at the end of the season. One player who let Lee Johnson down with his performances in August was wide midfielder Lynden Gooch.
The American started all five of Sunderland’s matches in League One and averaged a disappointing SofaScore rating of 6.66, placing him 12th in the squad. This suggests that the overall quality of his displays on the pitch was not high enough to make him one of their key players during August, as he struggled with his all-round game.
As per SofaScore, Gooch lost possession of the ball a whopping 89 times in August. He lost the ball 17.8 times per match, whilst averaging a passing completion rate of just 69%. The winger struggled to retain the ball for his side and gave it away on a regular basis, allowing the opposition more chances to attack Sunderland’s goal, although thankfully it did not have a major impact on the results in the grand scheme of things.
In terms of his end product when he did get into the final third, Gooch also struggled to provide high-end quality for Johnson’s side. To his credit, he did create one big chance and register one assist, but that was his only direct goal involvement over the course of the month. He missed two big chances and managed to fire off 10 shots in five games, failing to score.
Defensively, Gooch did little to make up for his flaws in possession. He won the ball back just 0.4 times per game and lost 59% of his duels on the pitch, whilst making 1.4 tackles and interceptions per game. This shows that he struggled all-round, letting Johnson down with his sub-par performances in League One throughout August.