Sunderland’s fall down the League One table continued on Tuesday as a 3-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday left them fifth.
Tom Flanagan and Callum Doyle failed to deal with the danger through the middle and Theo Corbeanu found himself in acres of space to pick his spot and find the bottom corner. The second came with calls for handball as Florian Kamberi controlled the ball in the six-yard box and prodded past Ron-Thorben Hoffmann.
Wednesday sealed the three points in the second half as a scuffed shot fell perfectly for Lee Gregory to convert from close range to make it 3-0.
Despite the frustrating result, one player did come away from the match with an ounce of credit and was a shining light for Johnson – Corry Evans. The experienced beast was a standout in a disappointing performance from the Black Cats and the manager will surely have been left delighted with his display, in spite of the result.
Defensively, he was solid. Per SofaScore, he won 75% (6/8) of his individual duels on the pitch, including winning 100% (3/3) of his aerial duels. He also made a whopping seven interceptions, three tackles and one clearance, whilst only being dribbled past once in the 90 minutes.
Luke O’Nien and Dan Neil, meanwhile, managed three tackles and two interceptions combined between them in the other two central midfield positions. This suggests that Evans carried Sunderland in the middle of the park from a defensive standpoint and was let down by his teammates as Wednesday romped to a comfortable win.
Although, it is worth pointing out that he could have done more in possession. Per SofaScore, he only completed 72% of his attempted passes, whilst his midfield partners both completed 76% of theirs. This suggests that all three of them could have been better with the ball at their feet as they failed to achieve a high success rate with their passing, which is an area for improvement ahead of the next set of matches.
Despite the lapse passing, Evans’ performance was a shining light for Sunderland due to his tenacity in midfield and that could earn him a regular place in the starting XI in the coming weeks. He has only started five League One matches, but this display could aid his chances of adding to that number.