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Sunderland take a deserved point at Aston Villa but badly need squad depth

Goal! Aston Villa 2, Sunderland 2. Jeremain Lens (Sunderland) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ola Toivonen.
English Premier League: Scott Sinclair scores a goal off of a counterattack. (41') Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland
English Premier League: Scott Sinclair scores a penalty after being fouled by Cattermole (11') Aston Villa 1-1 Sunderland
English Premier League: Lee Cattermole fouls Scott Sinclair and concedes penalty (10') Aston Villa 0-1 Sunderland

Dick Advocaat left Villa Park with a useful point from a 2-2 draw on Saturday and, perhaps even more usefully, clues about the strengths and alarming weaknesses of his Sunderland squad.

Despite an ideal start, with Yann M'Vila scoring with a splendidly taken free kick after eight minutes, Sunderland again played poorly for much of the game. They will be a good deal happier than Villa with the draw. The game could very easily have turned into a comfortable home win once that early lead was quickly...

Dick Advocaat future and Sunderland's dodgy defence has fans concerned

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti does not feel Dick Advocaat's job should be under question just yet.

Sunderland travel to Aston Villa on Saturday wearing the look of a club suffering inner turmoil as manager Dick Advocaat seeks a first Premier League victory of the season.

Persistent reports tell of the Dutchman's dismay at the club's failure to make the strengthening needed to avoid yet another scramble for safety.

Even Advocaat's own position seems capable of sharp fluctuation. This week he has publicly offered support to Sunderland's owner, Ellis Short, in the row over former skipper Michael...

Sunderland show character and Defoe strikes but Advocaat needs a win

Jermain Defoe scored an equaliser as Sunderland claimed their first point of the season following a draw with Swansea.

A vastly improved performance from Sunderland earned Dick Advocaat's beleaguered side a first point of the season on Saturday following a 1-1 draw against Garry Monk's dangerous Swansea City.

While it is hard to see one point from nine as anything other than a dreadful start to the season, there was enough commitment and urgency to offer hope the rise from the bottom of the Premier League table has begun.

Both goals in the match came from two pieces of clinical finishing, with Swansea's excellent...

Why can't Sunderland emulate Swansea's Premier League success?

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti does not feel Dick Advocaat's job should be under question just yet following their two consecutive defeats.

For a lesson in how to succeed and fail in the Premier League, compare the recent records of Sunderland and their opponents at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, Swansea City.

It is a match Dick Advocaat's side can hardly afford to lose. But the way the season has started, it has aroused barely concealed glee among Swansea supporters and tangible fear on Wearside.

After shipping seven goals in their first two games, ending with comfortable wins for Leicester City and Norwich City, Sunderland start...

Woeful Sunderland look set for yet another relegation battle

Norwich playmaker Wes Hoolahan turned in a masterclass as Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat witnessed another horror show.
In a postmatch press conference, Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat says there is no logical reason for his team's failure to produce on the pitch other than that they do not play like a team.

A truly shocking 3-1 defeat at home to Norwich City on Saturday extended a calamitous start to Sunderland's season and suggested, early as it might be, that there are now only two relegation places left to avoid for the rest of the Premier League.

Duncan Watmore's consolation goal on his debut as a second-half substitute was heartening, but only for him and any hope Sunderland supporters might hold for the future.

Norwich CityNorwich City
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Manager Dick Advocaat is now mired in much the same position occupied in the past...

Norwich clash a chance for Sunderland to get over Leicester disaster

After a 4-2 loss to Leicester City last week, Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat is under no illusions of any easier match up with Norwich this weekend.

The new Premier League season is not quite a week old and already Sunderland are having a torrid time. It started with the 4-2 defeat at Leicester City in the opening game last Saturday.

Most of us can live with a two-goal deficit, provided it does not happen too often. But this was a match that seemed capable, after less than half an hour, of ending with a scoreline to make last season's 8-0 defeat at Southampton look close.

And there has been no upturn in Sunderland's fortunes in the days that...