Sunderland grabbed a late draw with Peterborough United yesterday to stay within two points of the top two and many Black Cats fans have been raving about the performance of Luke O’Nien.
The 26-year-old’s versatility has seen him play in central midfield, on the flanks, at full-back, and in the number 10 role over the past few seasons but under Lee Johnson, he’s been used to great effect at centre-back alongside Dion Sanderson.
Sunderland held the Posh, League One’s second-highest scorers, to just one goal on Monday meaning that Aiden McGeady’s late free-kick allowed them to claim a point.
While McGeady will deservedly take many of the plaudits, O’Nien’s resolute display should not be overlooked – particularly as he came up against the division’s top scorer, Jonson Clarke-Harris.
The defender won six of his seven ground duels, made five clearances, three tackles, and two interceptions, as well as blocking three shots (Sofascore).
He also exerted his influence in possession – taking 81 touches, connecting with 77% of his 62 passes, and with seven of his 12 long balls.
O’Nien arrived at the Stadium of Light after the Black Cats’ relegation from the Championship in 2018 and after two failed attempts to get back to the second tier, looks likely to be vital to their promotion push this term.
If you don’t get at least 15/20 on this Sunderland midfielder quiz, can you really call yourself a Black Cats fan?
His performance did not go unappreciated by the Sunderland faithful, with many fans taking to Twitter to rave about him.
Read their reaction here:
O’Nien may not be the greatest player to don the red and white but I can’t remember many who put their body on the line and put as much into playing for the shirt than him. He’s shocked me how good he is, took a while to jump on his bandwagon but I won’t be getting off. #safc
— Lee Burrow (@Kendalbuzz) April 5, 2021
Would have taken a point today, scrappy game overall, Lee Johnson's substitutions worked well. Luke O'Nien or Dion Sanderson man of the match for me they were superb at the back, for O'Nien not being a centre-back he handled Johnson Clarke-Harris extremely well #SAFC
— Josh Bunting (@Buntingfootball) April 5, 2021
O'Nien motm for me. Playing centre back and left back. Sterling effort #safc
— Parker (@Parkersafc) April 5, 2021
Sanderson and O'Nien absolutely outstanding again today. #safc
— 🆂🅼🅸🆃🅷🆈 (@danny_smith__) April 5, 2021
A fair result. Not a bad point for us overall and we still have the opportunity to overtake Posh with our game in hand.
I though Luke O’Nien epitomised our battling spirit yet again. What a guy.
Keep going lads! #SAFC 🔴⚪️👏
— L ø r d B å r r õ l d 🇬🇧 (@lord_barrold) April 5, 2021
Fair result that. O’Nien MoM for me. Good character to come from behind as Peterborough took the lead as they started to look the better team. Still in our hands and I think most would have been happy with a point before the game started #SAFC
— Scott (@76skelly) April 5, 2021
Fair result and in the circumstances a decent one for us. Great quality from McGeady on a day when he actually struggled. O’Nien outstanding again. 4 points from two tough fixtures over Easter isn’t a bad effort at all #SAFC
— John (@Laking86) April 5, 2021
We definitely take that. O'Nien easily MOTM for me. #safc
— Jordan Ramsey (@RamseySAFC) April 5, 2021