Case for the defence: Gus Poyet blasts lack of Sunderland options
Sunderland, 5/2 chances with Coral to be relegated this season, have just four fully match fit senior defenders for home Premier League game with Arsenal, and that paucity of options has riled head coach Gus Poyet.
The Wearside outfit shipped eight goals on a disastrous away day down at Southampton last time out, including a comedy own goal from Argentina international Santiago Vergini which will be on football blooper reels for years to come.
In an interview with the local press, Poyet would not use the lack of selections for his rearguard as an excuse for the Black Cats’ dreadful display, but clearly indicated he wanted more financial backing this summer in recruitment. “When everybody is okay, it doesn’t look bad,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we have four important injuries to players who are important to the team and we are suffering, especially at the back. I wanted seven defenders, and we started the season with six.”
Liverpool loan signing Sebastian Coates and Billy Jones, acquired from West Bromwich Albion this summer, are both sidelined until at least mid-November, further reducing the limited resources available to Sunderland. Even Italy international Emanuele Giaccherini, used by former Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli as a makeshift left wing back, is out injured.
Poyet landed former France international and free agent full back Anthony Reveillere this week to bolster Black Cats’ defensive ranks. At almost 35, however, the ex-Lyon and Napoli man is not a long-term solution in this area.
Reveillere, who was part of Les Bleus’ squads for the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, joins fellow 30-somethings John O’Shea and Wes Brown. Even if he receives international clearance and is registered in time to face Arsenal, he lacks match fitness.
Despite the versatility and experience Reveillere offers the Black Cats, his last competitive appearance was on the penultimate matchday of the Serie A season last term when Napoli won a seven-goal thriller at Sampdoria.
Uruguayan coach Poyet will demand a reaction from his players after that damaging defeat, and Sunderland are 4/1 chances to win this Stadium of Light encounter with the Gunners. It’s 5/1 they keep a clean sheet.