Is the answer to Sunderland’s goal drought under their noses?
David Moyes has endured a difficult start to his tenure as Sunderland boss, with the Black Cats netting just six times in their opening seven Premier League games. But there could be a solution very close to home, in the form of attacking midfielder George Honeyman.
The 22-year-old has been a key man for the Wearsiders’ Under-23 side in their Premier League campaign, with three goals in the opening six games this season, including a fantastic double in the 3-2 victory at Leicester, where Honeyman wore the captain’s armband.
While his huge skill has stood out amongst the next crop of Premier League talent, there’s also no doubt the Prudhoe-born midfielder has the physical strength to mix it with the big boys.
Last season’s loan stint at Gateshead saw the local lad impress during a run of nine games, adapting quickly to the rough-and-tumble nature of the National League. And he showed a knack for making crucial contributions, netting a vital winner in the 3-2 triumph at Boreham Wood.
Despite all this, the midfielder’s game time at the Stadium of Light has been extremely limited, with just two appearances to his name for the Black Cats.
But now is the time for Moyes to be brave and adapt his system to throw Honeyman in.
Sunderland have packed the midfield with wide men instead of using an attacking midfielder this season. But that system doesn’t play to the strengths of diminutive goal-machine Jermain Defoe, who would be far better running onto Honeyman’s neat through balls.
With his natural pace and trickery, there’s even a reason for Moyes to test the youngster as an impact sub if he’s not certain about putting him on from the start against West Ham next time out.
After all, if results don’t improve soon, the Black Cats could well be requiring another miracle if they’re to avoid relegation from the Premier League once again.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing