April 18, 2024

With this talent joining Sunderland, the club hopes to put their poor form behind them.
Mike Dodds, despite being hailed as a breath of fresh air after Michael Beale’s disastrous reign was cut short, has failed to get Sunderland back on track after returning as temporary manager.

If Sunderland suffers another humiliating defeat against Southampton today, the stand-in 37-year-old Black Cats manager will have lost four Championship games in a row with the Wearside club, dropping down the division at an alarming rate.

However, one successful victory might entirely reverse the club’s fortunes, with Dodds scurrying in his head to figure out what changes he could make to trigger a positive sequence of outcomes, beginning with a possible win over Russell Martin’s Saints.

Pierre Ekwah, an ex-West Ham United prospect, was not at his best in his side’s 1-0 loss to Leicester City in midweek, and he could be on the chopping block for fresh blood to start tomorrow.

Pierre Ekwah’s performance vs Leicester in numbers

The promising 22-year-old midfielder underperformed against Enzo Maresca’s Foxes, failing to register a single shot on Mads Hermansen’s goal in an attempt to add to his season total of four goals.

Furthermore, Ekwah failed to provide a single accurate cross or execute a single dribble in the 1-0 defeat, as the hosts – without the Sunderland number 39 – struggled to cut through the table-topping visitors with much purpose or energy.

Dodds may be inclined to remain with Ekwah despite his bad performance last match, given his exploits the last time the Black Cats met Southampton.

The ex-Hammers teenager scored twice as Sunderland cruised to a 5-0 victory at the Stadium of Light, the Mackems’ sole win over their troublesome South Coast opponents in the last five meetings between the two former Premier League sides.

Adil Aouchiche’s performance vs Leicester in numbers

The former Paris St. Germain prospect has had a stop-start season at the Stadium of Light since leaving France for Wearside last year, but he will be hoping to kick on after impressing against Maresca’s men when drafted in to make an impression.

Aouchiche would make an impressive three important passes in only 30 minutes against Leicester, continuously looking to create opportunities from the moment he was introduced.

The slick 5’11” midfielder was also unafraid to test Hermansen with shot after shot, as opposed to the cautious Ekwah, who managed zero, registering five shots on the Danish goalkeeper’s net to keep him on his toes when other players took a back seat.

 

Has Adil Aouchiche done enough to earn himself a start against  Huddersfield? - Roker Report

 

Despite just appearing briefly on the pitch, Aouchiche received a positive 7/10 rating from Roker Report journalist Andy Tomlinson before the final whistle, claiming that the ex-PSG man’really disturbed’ Leicester.

Football talent scout Jacek Kulig once characterized Aouchiche as a “little genius” during his days in the France U17 levels, where he tallied a staggering 16 goals in 25 appearances. Dodds will want to see this explosive best from his slick creator carried across a full 90-minute game.

Today’s game could be the biggest opportunity to see what the 21-year-old is capable of from the start, a potential masterstroke move from Dodds if the explosive French talent can lead Sunderland to a rare victory.

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