Since the turn of the New Year, Sam Allardyce has twice heaped praise on Jermain Defoe for the role he has played in helping Sunderland to back-to-back victories, and it’s easy to see why.
The striker’s five goals in games against Aston Villa and Swansea will go a long way to helping the Black Cats to safety, and Sam deserves plenty of the credit.
Allowing Defoe to flourish up top and get on with what he does best, score goals, is all that was needed.
If you were going to offer one criticism of former boss Dick Advocaat, it would his decision to play the Tottenham man out wide.
That’s not what his game is about. Forcing him to track back and work the wings is not the way to bring the best out of the 33-year-old.
Stick him up top, give him the ball and a sight of goal and there are few more clinical finishers in the league.
He’s got his tally up to nine for the season and I think if he can continue in this vein of form, there is no stopping him getting 20 goals by the end of the campaign.
Do that and I think there is every chance that the Stadium of Light faithful will be enjoying another year of Premier League football.
While their frontman is obviously Plan A in Sunderland’s attacking options, I wouldn’t go as far to say that they need him to deliver every single game for them to stay up.
Steven Fletcher is still there in back-up, and while he’s not necessarily been prolific in recent years, he is still a good option to have in reserve.
Allardyce has built a good platform to push on from, and I said from the start that he was a man who could ensure they stay in the division.
His record speaks for itself and especially with Defoe in the form that he is; I think they just might do it.
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