Disappointing that we are behind, of course, but we could and probably should have had three goals by now. Vav Te missed with a header, Cole jumped too early and ballooned a header wide, and Nolan has had three chances, one of which he directed across the face of goal but just behind Collins, another narrowly wide and the last produced a world class save from a world class volley.
We have shown enough to suggest that this game is far from lost. Indeed, had Carroll been fit, I suspect we would be leading quite comfortably. Sadly, for all his hard work, Cole has been his usual ineffectual self. When his head connects with the ball in the box there is no real control, no real conviction. He looks, to me, like a man low on self confidence; but then, when inside the penalty box, he has looked like that more often than not.
Defensively, we have not looked so clever. O'Brien is clearly a makeshift left back and Collins still looks vulnerable, dwelling on the ball far too long and being bullied by Fletcher in a way he shouldn't be. The expensive Scot took his goal well but he was allowed too much time by Ginge, who rightly had his head in his hands after the ball hit the back of the net. We really cannot afford error after error, game after game, from the ugly Welshman.
In midfield we have looked decent. Noble and Diame have had the better of things in the centre of the park, and Noble critics should note that we have nearly scored from three of his set pieces. That said, why he and Nolan buggered around with a free kick just outside the box is a mystery. It was the wrong side for Taylor but it looked right up Vaz Te's street.
Taylor and Vaz Te both have the beating of their full backs and two opportunities have arrisen from getting big men on the shoulder of Rose inside the box. This is an area to exploit in the second half surely. We need to get Vaz Te in the game more too. Meanwhile, if chances keep breaking for Nolan, you would back him to bag at least one.
All that said, it remains odd that Jarvis is not in the starting line up. It looks to me as if Allardyce is trying to protect O'Brien rather than pushing the opposition onto the back foot with the attacking threat of Jarvis. That has to change at some point in the second half but I doubt we will see the switch before the 60th minute, unless Sunderland get a second. Maiga for Cole? Actually I would bring on Yossi and move Vaz Te inside.