Food for thought as we head into the final stretch of our season.
After this weekend's stupid loss, I don't really have anything more to add to the conversation that hasn't been covered already. We weren't at our sharpest, we made some dumb mistakes, we'll move on. Onwards and upwards.
So now that we're all looking forward, I thought I'd present some questions for you the commentariat to ruminate on.
1. Defoe or Adebayor?
This question doesn't ever seem to go away, but people's opinions on our sporadic strikers tend to shift on a near-weekly basis. Neither of our strikers have notched a goal since our 4-0 drubbing of Aston Villa made us all feel bad for their impending relegation.
Defoe was invisible yesterday but did a fairly admirable job contributing to team play against Inter last week. And unlike Adebayor, he's still willing to shoot the ball at goal (perhaps a little too willing?) Adebayor, on the other hand, has shown no signs of scoring a goal, but people value him for his movement and hold up play. Others think that's dross and he's completely lazy.
Assuming both are fit, who should we start? Or at this point should we just throw our hands up, say you only YOLO once, and stick Bale up top instead?
2. Kyle or Kyle?
Kyle Walker had an error-prone beginning of the season, but seemed to have sorted out his most egregious mistakes during our 12-match unbeaten run. And then yesterday happened. Some people think this means he deserves to be dropped, either because he needs to feel competition for his spot or because of some interest in chastening the man for his mistake. On the other hand we have Kyle Naughton, who everyone seems to agree will never be the physical marvel that Walker is, but who has performed admirably when called upon without ever getting a really good run in his favored position. Is it time to see what other Kyle can offer, or do we brush off Kyle's mistake and stick with the man who's gotten us this far?
3. What if Aaron Lennon misses more game time?
That's the worst sentence I've ever typed and I apologize for even making you think about it. His absence yesterday further reinforced just how valuable he is to the team. AVB's solution to the problem was to contort our side all out of whack, with our central midfield maestro shunted out to the wing. Dembele performed well there, but his absence from our spine really hurt us. As far as I can tell, there's a couple options to cover for Lennon's absence. Which one should we try next?
a) Dembele on the right with one of Livermore, Carroll, or Holtby in the center with Parker.
b) Holtby and Siggy out wide with Bale in the middle.
c) Holtby in the middle with Bale back on the left.
d) Kyle Walker as a right winger.
e) Something even weirder.
4. Which of our Premier League loanees can have a bigger impact next season?
Danny Rose has been one of Sunderland's best players this season, while Andros Townsend's been in fine form since his January move across London, already earning himself QPR's Player of the Month award. Last season's loanees Naughton and Caulker have both returned this year to make a big contribution to our season. Can Rose and Townsend have the some kind of impact? Will these two youngsters be regulars in our squad next season? If so, who do you think will make the bigger splash on their return to the club?