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How does it compare?

How do Alex Neil’s stats at Sunderland compare to Lee Johnson so far?

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Sunderland made a big managerial call at the end of January, when they took the decision to sack Lee Johnson as manager.

That move came in the wake of a humiliating 6-0 defeat away to Bolton Wanderers, that served as a major blow to the Black Cats’ hopes of claiming a League One play-off place.

Following Johnson’s departure, Sunderland would of course act to bring in a new manager, with Alex Neil appointed to take over at the Stadium of Light, just under two weeks after the sacking of his predecessor.

Neil’s appointment as Sunderland boss saw him return to management after almost a year out of the game, following his exit from Championship side Preston in March 2021.

So did Sunderland make the right move when they sacked Johnson and then brought in Neil as his successor?

Here, we’ve compared Sunderland’s stats in League One this season under the two managers, in order to find out.

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The first thing to look at here is the League One table, which has in fact got worse for Sunderland since Johnson’s departure.

When the 40-year-old left the club, Sunderland were third in the League One table, just a point behind second-placed Wigan, albeit having played four games more than the Latics.

Now though, Sunderland have dropped to seventh in the third-tier standings, although they are only outside the play-offs on goal difference with a game in hand on sixth-placed Wycombe, and they are now six points adrift of Rotherham in second.

It is worth noting that that drop is not entirely down to Neil either, given the Black Cats lost both games they played between the sacking of Johnson, and their appointment of the Scotsman.

Indeed, since Neil took over, they have lost just one of the 12 games they have played under him the league, and are now unbeaten in their last ten.

That has helped the Black Cats to a tally of 23 points from their 12 league games under Neil, at an average of 1.92 points-per-game.

By contrast, Sunderland claimed 54 points from the 29 league games they played with Johnson in charge at the start of the campaign, with an average of 1.86 points per game under now former boss, meaning there has been a small improvement since that change in the dugout.

From an attacking perspective, Sunderland have scored 17 goals in their 12 matches under Neil at an average of 1.42 goals per game.

That does represent a drop in the Black Cats’ threat in front of goal from their time under Johnson, when they scored 53 goals in 29 league matches, an average of 1.83 goals per game.

However, Sunderland have also become much more defensively solid since the appointment of Neil, conceding just eight goals in their games under the Scotsman, an average of 0.67 goals per game.

In contrast to that, the Black Cats had let in 39 goals in 29 league matches with Johnson at the helm this season, with an average of 1.34 conceded per game.

It is also worth noting that Sunderland appear to have become much more resilient since Neil took charge, winnning 11 points thanks to goals scored in the final ten minutes of games under their current boss, having won just three in that same period of matches under Johnson this season.

With all that in mind, it appears that while it remains to be seen whether the decision to change manager will deliver promotion to the Championship this season, the signs do seem to suggest that replacing Johnson with Neil, could be a move that ultimately pays off for Sunderland.


UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, been writing for Football League World since March 2019. I've previously worked for the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Opta, among others.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: How do Alex Neil’s stats at Sunderland compare to Lee Johnson so far?

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