So, no Noble because of a calf injury and we were lambs to the slaughter. All season the Noble knockers have insisted that the guy is a liability, so perhaps they would like to explain the coincidence that without him, we slumped to our heaviest defeat of the season? Stani and Sav, in particular, we await your response.
Those on Diarra watch, as the man who replaced Noble, will have noted that the guy was responsible for the Sunderland opener with a dreadful defensive header - no distance, towards the centre of the goal and straight to Larsson - and gave away an unnecessary free kick from which an offside Bramble should have netted. They will also have seen sideways and backwards passing and no killer passing whatsoever. They might also have noted just how deep Diarra sat, forcing Nolan deeper to occupy centre midfield. Oh, and then there were the three times Diarra lost possession by dwelling on the ball. Then there was the complete lack of forward runs. And they may have noticed how he looked as if he was treading water as Sunderland broke.
Have we looked this open all season? Have we looked so easy to pick off on counter attacks? Have our centre backs been so cruelly exposed. No. No. No. And why? Pure coincidence that the holding midfield player had been replaced by a French international obviously!
Not that Diarra was solely responsible of course. To claim that would make me as imbalanced and blinkered as those who refuse to acknowledge Noble's virtues. Just look at our away record. The team go out in a negative frame of mind and so get what they deserve. When Vaz Te was introduced, we at least offered something going forward!
Cole was poor today, but what supply did he get? Jarvis woke up second half but was very ordinary in the first. Nolan was ineffective. Collins was awful at centre back until he came off injured. Demel was ten yards off the pace. And, sadly, Potts was horribly at fault for Sunderland's second and was sitting on his arse for their third. The lad will be feeling dreadful tonight and I don't want to hammer him, but God only knows what he was thinking when he chested that ball in his own six yard box!
Any positives? Not really. Vaz Te and Jarvis looked lively second half. We could have scored three second half, but Sunderland should have scored four. QPR at home next week is now huge!
Player artings: Jussi 7; Demel 4, Collins 4, Reid 6, Potts 3; Diarra 4, Collison 5; Jarvis 6, Nolan 4, J. Cole 4; C Cole 4 Subs Tomkins 6, Vaz Te 6, Chamahk 5