Sunday’s only Premier League encounter saw Sunderland host Wolves and the pair produced a topsy-turvy encounter thanks to an open game with some kamikaze defending. The 5-2 score-line in Sunderland’s favour flattered the Wearsiders, who on losing a two-goal lead gained from two penalties, risked losing the tie. Yet in many ways this match summed up much of their season so far. Having struggled to find consistency, as exhibited by their win, lose, win, lose pattern of results since the season’s beginning, the Black Cats find themselves eighth in the table. They are winning games, whilst a lot of the time, not playing particularly well. In the unlikely event that this pattern of form continues until the end of the season, Sunderland would probably qualify for Europe for only the second time in their history, yet a lower mid-table finish would represent considerable progress after last season’s dismal showing.
After winning their opening game of the season at Bolton, Sunderland’s play has been characterised by inconsistency, their level of performance often fluctuating within the same match. Take for example, their opening home game against Chelsea, where an impressive first-half lead was undone by a lacklustre showing after the break. Perhaps this is an unfair example against one of the best sides in Europe, but Sunderland’s home game against Hull City was similarly – to use the old clich