Chris Coleman’s reign as Sunderland manager got off to a losing start, with Aston Villa the latest side to pick up three points against the Black Cats, who remain rooted to the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table following last night’s 2-1 defeat.
Goals from Albert Adomah and Josh Onomah secured the victory for Villa, but Lewis Grabban’s hooked finish made it a nervy end for Steve Bruce’s side.
Coleman will have been able to draw on plenty of positives from a spirited performance, but how did Sunderland’s players rate?
We take a look…
Robbin Ruiter – 6
Ruiter couldn’t prevent either goal going past him, and was not beaten as cheaply as he was during the weekend’s clash with Millwall.
Adam Matthews – 5
Failed to pick up Adomah for Villa’s opening goal, and often struggled to contain the tricky winger, who admittedly is in the form of his career.
John O’Shea – 5
Once again, not at his best, and Coleman will want a lot more from the experienced Irishman.
Tyias Browning – 6
The better of Sunderland’s two central defenders, but they were fortunate Villa did not have a full strength attacking outfit at their disposal.
Bryan Oviedo – 6
Steady away on the left side of defence against Robert Snodgrass, who can be a tricky customer in the Championship.
Darron Gibson – 6
Another one who played reasonably well for Coleman’s side, but Sunderland will need more from another experienced head.
Lynden Gooch – 5
Failed to really get a grip of the game and was replaced shortly after the hour – A disappointing evening.
George Honeyman – 6
Good in spells from midfield, and is deserving of a regular run in the starting XI on this performance.
Callum McManaman – 7
Like Honeyman, it is time for Coleman to give McManaman an extended run in the team, if given time he will undoubtedly produce.
Aiden McGeady – 6
Not anywhere near his best, which Sunderland will need him to rediscover if they are to climb out of relegation trouble.
Lewis Grabban – 7
On the scoresheet once again and a constant threat to Villa’s defence – It’s scary to think where Sunderland would be without the 29-year-old.