A Case For Defence
Every game that Sunderland have won have consisted of also keeping a clean sheet at the other end.
2-0 Colchester - Carling Cup
1-0 Man City
1-0 Aston Villa
1-0 West Ham
We have the 2nd best home defence in the Premier league just behind Chelsea's, who won the league last season. We have accumulated a total of eight clean sheets under Bruce in 2010 and we only managed a grand total of nine in 2008/09. Things are improving massively in defence and this can be the key to our success this campaign.
The good thing about how well we are coping in defence also shows the strength in depth we have as we have major players out for a few months.
Titus Bramble, Michael Turner and Craig Gordon have all faced weeks to months on the sidelines. This has allowed fringe players to step in and show their class at the heart of defence for Sunderland. Simon Mignolet has kept a total of seven clean sheets in his first season in England and was also wonderful at Craven Cottage yesterday.
Anton Ferdinand has done well as back up to Bramble and the commitment of John Mensah, who is currently playing with a dislocated shoulder, should also be mentioned.
We seem to have built our performances around a strong back four and with Mensah and Onuoha doing so well against Fulham, Bruce may keep this pairing for the clash against Bolton this weekend coming up.
A top half finish will ultimately all boil down to how well we do at the other end by taking and creating chances, but it seems at the moment we are doing great at keeping the ball out of the net.