Kristjaan Speakman reacted to that by bringing in the experienced Tony Mowbray and the former Blackburn Rovers boss has been a steady pair of hands so far.
Prolific marksman Ross Stewart stole all of the headlines in the early part of the campaign as he plundered five goals and three assists from seven appearances in the division, averaging a SofaScore rating of 7.66.
The Scotland international took the Championship by storm but has not played a competitive game for the club since 31st of August due to an injury that he is set to return from after the break.
Stewart was the star man of the first seven matches but other players have been putting in consistently impressive performances throughout the entire campaign so far and the real hero for Mowbray has been utility man Luke O’Nien.
The former Wycombe machine has been a standout for Sunderland for multiple reasons; including his versatility, consistency, and quality.
In that time, O’Nien has played at centre-back, right-back, and holding midfield, something that shows the manager trusts him to play in a multitude of roles, with Sunderland switching between a back five and four.
These statistics show that he has been a reliable option at the back as he has consistently put in solid displays and won the ball back for his side on a regular basis, whilst holding his own in physical battles with the opposition.
Therefore, he has been the real hero of the first part of the season for the Black Cats due to his impact on the pitch, his consistency, and his versatility for Mowbray.