Picture credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Defoe’s lack of goals is cause for concern for Sunderland. Picture credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Stoke City 2-0 Sunderland

Sunderland suffered a bad defeat to fellow strugglers Stoke City on Saturday, in a game that – even this early in the season – could prove to be of huge significance.

Like Sunderland, Stoke have now been in the Premier League for some time but both sides went into the game looking like early relegation candidates, even though the Potters have some extremely high profile players.

It was one of those players, Joe Allen, who was undoubtedly the stand out player. He dictated play throughout and scored both goals for the home side.

Goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, was again the bright spark for the Black Cats – despite conceding another two goals. He made some good saves and looked confident throughout, showing why he received a call up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

The biggest worry for the Wearsiders, was that Jermain Defoe – who carries so much of the goal-scoring responsibility for Sunderland – once again drew a blank.

Fans will be hoping that it is not one season too many for their talismanic hitman and that he is instead, keeping his powder dry for later in the season.

Sunderland manager, David Moyes, was naturally disappointed with the result but still referenced positive moments in his post-match press conference.

He said: “There were some spells of good play and I told the players that at half time. But we made mistakes for their first goal and our defending was poor.”

This is not the first time Moyes has been frank in his analysis of the players, having previously referred to a lack of quality among his squad – which is unusual for a manager who brought in ten players in the summer.

So if there is a lack of quality – which, on paper, there doesn’t seem to be – then Moyes is as much to blame as anyone, as the most disappointing players have arguably been those signed by Moyes.

The likes of Donald Love, Paddy McNair, Papy Djilobodji and Didier N’Dong all cost the club money –  and in the case of N’Dong, more than any other player in the club’s history –  yet all have, thus far, failed to deliver.

Clearly Moyes needs time, but with his side yet to win a league game, things must improve soon.

As usual, one thing that remains as strong as ever is the support from the stands, which was acknowledged by the manager.

“The fans were brilliant today, you could hear them throughout the game. As long as they’re a part of this club it’ll always be great.”

The team must now move on and try to give that fantastic support something better than the disappointment that they have endured so far this season.