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Sunderland Focus - Unlucky Black Cats still without a win

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By Damian Boucaud

Monday 24 September 2012

Despite another good showing, Sunderland still remain winless this season. The frustration was evident after the game, and Martin O’Neill will be wondering what he has to do to get a win this campaign. Fans witnessed another well played game resulting in yet another disappointing draw. Players and fans alike will join the manager in question what Sunderland have to do to break their duck as they have done everything so far but take three points.

The answer is luck; the Black Cats were truly unlucky not to pick up their first win of the season against a physical West Ham side. After taking an early lead through Steven Fletcher’s well taken goal resulting from some good work from Sebastian Larsson, the Mackems failed to capitalize on some half chances before allowing West Ham back into the game. By the last quarter of the match, Sunderland were under duress as West Ham piled on the pressure relentlessly before finally scoring the equalizer in injury time, a real disappointment for fans as the Mackems let another one slip away in a thrilling contest against the Hammers.

Aside from plain bad luck, Sunderland lacked possession throughout most of the game which was a major factor in their inability to put away the Hammers. West Ham dominated possession for most of the game while causing Sunderland to scramble for touches when they finally did get a hold of the ball. Sunderland’s inability to string passes together to dictate the pace of the game was evident and clearly a contributing factor to why they could not hold on to the lead. This is something O’Neill will likely be looking to address on the practice pitch.

The striking partnership upfront may be another issue brewing as the team seems to only have one in-form striker at the moment. Even though Fletcher may be the hottest striker in the Premier League right now, it will be difficult for him to keep up the amazing rate at which he is scoring, meaning someone else has to step up. Stephane Sessegnon started up front with Fletcher but was largely ineffective as he looks to be struggling with fitness after an injury in the summer.

Fraizer Campbell got the call in the 72nd minute but failed to make an impact in his limited time on the pitch. Fans have already started to ask questions of the other strikers with Campbell and Sessegnon drawing blanks so far. Connor Wickham and Louis Saha may be next up as O’Neill looks for the right partner for his big-money summer signing.

Despite all this fans need to remember that it is still very early in the season, and Sunderland have plenty of time to move up the table. Considering they have yet to win a game, a 12th place position is not a bad spot to be, keeping in mind they have not been beaten yet this season either. Although O’Neill and his squad have some work to do, things are still looking fairly good for the Black Cats at this point.

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