Sunderland's Stadium of Light

Sunderland need changes in their bid for survival.

Sunderland have been struggling all over the pitch this season. Here are five things that have stood out for us:

1. Jordan Pickford is destined for the top.

The young stopper may well be waiting for his first Premier League clean sheet, but he is a top player.

The only reason that Pickford does not yet have several clean sheets to compliment his impressive performances, is that he is continually let down by the players in front of him.

He is a great shot stopper – arguably already one of the best in the Premier League – while he is also confident claiming crosses and distributes the ball exceptionally well.

Sadly, if the the 22-year-old Washington-born keeper continues his meteoric rise, it may be difficult for Sunderland to keep hold of him. However, Wearside seems to be the ideal place for the Goalkeeper to learn his trade.

He is playing regularly; the fans are patient and he has a manager in David Moyes that trusts young players.

Wherever it may be at, Pickford’s future looks very bright indeed.

2. Sunderland lack Concentration.

Looking at the goals Sunderland have conceded, there are not many that could be considered genuinely quality goals.

They are often individual errors, lapses in concentration, or the result of negative play.

The Black Cats have a tendency to drop deeper as games go on – perhaps to solidify and get that first clean sheet. However, if this is the plan, then Sunderland’s players must ensure they keep their concentration.

Winston Reid’s 95th minute winner on Saturday says more about the concentration levels of the Sunderland defence than words can. The deeper they dropped, the more it seemed inevitable that they would concede.

3. Defoe is lacking service.

Jermain Defoe has been around the block. He has scored goals for many Premier League clubs over the years. Even now, Defoe is undoubtedly Sunderland’s best chance of survival – as last season proved.

However, the veteran striker is lacking service this season. Defoe should be able to expect more than one chance a game, but he is lucky if he even gets one at the minute.

The pressure on Defoe to score is now higher than ever, causing the normally composed finisher to rush and snatch at chances that he would usually stroke calmly into the back of the net.

The emphasis should be on Sunderland creating more chances for their talismanic striker, instead of trying to grind out results, which is clearly not working.

4. There is something wrong with Wahbi Khazri.

Last season, the Tunisian was one of the players who made a real difference following his arrival in January. This season, however, he has not featured regularly, and when he has played, he looks a shadow of the player from last season.

Khazri has superb delivery of the ball – from both set pieces and open play. Under Sam Allardyce, he was instrumental in Sunderland’s survival, mainly down to the emphasis on set pieces, something that also saw Lamine Koné look a better player than he has this season.

However, under Moyes, the side does not seem to focus as much on organisation from set pieces. This, coupled with the fact that Jermain Defoe is usually left isolated up front, means that Khazri’s deliveries are nowhere near as effective.

There have also been questions over Khazri’s fitness, something that he only has himself to blame for, and with his club struggling, he may find his career in jeopardy if he does not start working harder.

5. It won’t work out for Rodwell on Wearside.

Jack Rodwell is not a bad player. He covers ground well, is intelligent, calm on the ball and more than capable at both centre half and central midfield. However, transfers do not always work out for certain players and this seems to be the case for Rodwell.

Maybe the best scenario for the Sunderland and Rodwell would be for him to move on in January.

He still has plenty to offer, and Sunderland need to freshen things up among their playing squad.

It says something that from 32 Sunderland starts, hel is yet to taste victory – a statistic that hardly endears him to the Wearside faithful.

Formerly of Everton and Manchester City, Rodwell has a good pedigree and has shown moments of true class throughout his career.

However, individually, his performances have been poor for some time, and he may well find that he is no longer a starter for Sunderland.