Sunderland enjoyed a return to the League One summit last night, hitting Cheltenham Town for five without reply.
Bailey Wright opened the scoring in the 11th minute for the hosts, before a Ross Stewart brace extended their lead to three coming into half time.
The Black Cats then scored twice in two minutes, through Luke O’Nien and Leon Dajaku, to eliminate the possibility of a late and heroic and Cheltenham come back.
Wigan Athletic’s home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday means that Sunderland have now gone three points clear at the top of the table, ahead of tough trips away to The Owls and Portsmouth.
With things going swimmingly for Sunderland at the moment, we take a look at three things we clearly learnt about Sunderland yesterday night…
Have Sunderland ever been involved in any of these 18 scenarios?
Sunderland’s excellent home form could be key
Sunderland proved to be devastating at The Stadium of Light last night, a common feature of their season thus far.
The Black Cats have now won six games in six League One outings on Wearside this season, scoring 14 times in the process and conceding just twice.
It has not been an easy fixture list either. Three of Sunderland’s home games have come against promotion-hopefuls in Wigan Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, and Wycombe Wanderers.
Last night, The Black Cats were a class above their opponents, and if they really had their shooting boots on, they could have added a couple more.
Ross Stewart has tremendous ability in front of goal
When Charlie Wyke departed, there were a lot of questions about whether Ross Stewart was capable enough to fill his void.
The early signs suggest that not only is he good enough to fill the now-Wigan Athletic man’s boots, but he could succeed what Wyke did last year.
Stewart has netted seven times in the league already this season, and whilst his goalscoring capabilities are being commended at present, his performance last night displayed that he offers a lot more than just goals.
He is an intelligent player out of possession, having the ability to spin in behind and cause chaos, but he is equally competent in dropping off and bringing others into play.
A Talented bench that will win more difficult games
Sunderland’s starting XI will not be the sole success factor if they do get promoted this season, instead, they possess a team full of talent, who are not just excellent in the context of League One, but the vast majority of their squad could also make the step up.
Leon Dajaku came on from the bench and emphatically added a fifth, whilst the likes of Alex Pritchard and Elliot Embleton also featured amongst the substitutes.
When competing for promotion, having a strong squad beyond your starting XI increases in importance.
The Black Cats perhaps possess the strongest squad in the division, and they are reaping the rewards from that at the moment.