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    Sunderland 0-1 Southampton: Tame Black Cats Draw Blank at Home

    Sunderland were unable to claim back to back wins at home as Southampton extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to six games. A Dusan Tadic penalty was enough to take all three points back to the South Coast, and Sunderland's lack of threat in front of goal will really worry Sam Allardyce as they rarely troubled Southampton all afternoon.

    Tadic makes no mistake from the spot

    After a difficult start to the season Southampton have found their rhythm again and this win now sees them close the gap on the top 4 to just four points. The Stadium of Light has been a tough away fixture in recent seasons but Southampton simply kept Sunderland at arms length all afternoon and could have won by more than just the one goal. Allardyce has now lost three of his opening four games in charge and must now be realising the sheer scale of the job he must do if he is to keep Sunderland in the Premier League.

    After being battered by Everton last week, Big Sam sensibly reverted to four at the back and also gave a start to local lad Duncan Watmore who started out on the left. Sunderland set up in a much tighter 4-4-2 attempting to stifle the Saints and reduce the amount of efforts on Pantilimon's goal and this largely worked in the first half, with efforts from Mane and Tadic being easily saved by Pantilimon on each occassion. However going forward Sunderland offered very little. Ola Toivonen mishit an effort so badly that it almost hit the corner flag.

    Allardyce made the change to try and bring more attacking intent to his side at half time. The ineffectual Toivonen was replaced by Fabio Borini, who is still looking for his first goal since rejoining the club. Borini continued to struggle, as did Steven Fletcher and Jermain Defoe when he made his entrance later in the game. Long balls were being pumped to the relatively small Sunderland frontmen and they were being dominated by Virgil Van Dijk who was outstanding for Southampton once again.

    Southampton have lost only once this season when the commanding Dutchman has played

    Southampton really began to turn the screw and Pantilimon needed to be bailed out by Yedlin when Jose Fonte's glancing header went past him but the American fullback stopped the ball from going in. Steven Davis then had a fizzing shot which Sebastian Coates was able to block on the line. Sunderland would finally crack under the pressure though as Yann M'Vila, one of Sunderland's better performers this season, made a huge error in judgement whilst tying to tackle Ryan Bertrand. The Frenchman went to ground in the box and was getting nowhere near the ball, he took out Bertrand and referee Mike Jones pointed to the spot. Dusan Tadic stepped up to put away his fourth league goal of the season.

    The Black Cats seemed to come to life after conceding the penalty, Fabio Borini tested Stekelenburg with a powerful drive that had to be pushed over the bar, and Adam Johnson went close with a 25 yard free kick which went just wide. There was almost late drama when substitute Jack Rodwell planted a header against Maya Yoshida's arm, the Sunderland players protested furiously but a handball call would have been extremely harsh on the Southampton defender. Ronald Koeman's men were able to see out the game and remain unbeaten on the road this season.

    Sunderland fans head into another international break on the back of another damaging defeat. Good results elsewhere for Newcastle and Aston Villa this week will hardly help their situation and Sam knows they need to start picking up wins if they are to stay in this division. Next up for them is a daunting away trip to Alan Pardew's Palace who will be full of confidence after a fine win at Liverpool. Southampton will look to keep up their great run of form by beating Stoke who they welcome to St Mary's in a fortnights time.

    By Darren Beck (@DarrenBeck13)

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    Item Reviewed: Sunderland 0-1 Southampton: Tame Black Cats Draw Blank at Home Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Darren Beck
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