After Max Power’s first half sending off against Walsall, his third this season, the lads managed to come away with a point after what was ultimately a poor performance, rescued by a couple of goals at the end. Many people think that it could have been a totally different game if we weren’t reduced to ten men, as we were on top for the opening twenty-five minutes of the game.
So, was Max Power unlucky, reckless or both? Without a shadow of a doubt he’s a talented football player who has shown excellent passing and a positive, attacking mind-set towards the game. However, does that justify missing a total of fifteen games in all competitions through his own stupidity and lack of composure at times?
Before his move to Wearside in the summer, Max had made over 200 league games without being sent off, so what has caused this sudden outburst of bad tackles and kick-outs? Is it the pressure of being at a bigger club with a larger fan base? Does he feel as though there is too much responsibility being placed on his shoulders, after he has become an important member of the squad? Who knows?
Anyway, let’s talk about each individual dismal.
The first red card came against Oxford United after an unnecessary tackle on the halfway line, and again this potentially cost the lads a couple of points. People may argue that this challenge was only a yellow as it wasn’t denying a goal-scoring opportunity and he didn’t intentionally hurt the opposition player, however there was no need for that type of behaviour. Ok, fair enough it’s his first red card in his career and it just could have been a mistake on his part, so I’ll say it’s forgivable.
So, after a four game ban, Max returns to the side and looks as though he’s learned his lesson. Roll on Bradford. After Jack Baldwin had put us 2-1 up, a throw-in dropped into Sunderland’s eighteen-yard box and Power was tripped over by a Bradford player. Max decided to kick out at the opponent whilst on the floor, the referee seen this and sent him straight off along with the award of a penalty (which was brilliantly saved by Jon McLaughlin). This time there were no excuses.
The ball was nowhere near him, so why did he feel the need to kick an opposition player for accidentally tripping him up? It was his own stupidity that had cost him and the team at that moment.
In my opinion he is an important player with lots of talent for the league that we are in, however he has become a loose cannon after joining Sunderland. I think this is due to the size and noise of the crowd, which is much bigger than he is used too, and feels as though he needs to impress us with big tackles and a captain’s performance.
You could even say he tries to replicate the actions of fellow midfielder Lee Cattermole, thinking that’s what we want to see.
Now onto today’s draw against Walsall which saw Max attempt to control the ball out of the air, fail at that, and with the ball heading towards an opposition player, he goes heavily into a challenge in which he seemed to get none of the ball and all of the man.
After the game, manager Jack Ross stated that the challenge wasn’t even a yellow and that it was a poor call by the referee. I disagree, a poor first touch has resulted in a reckless, bad-timed tackle that could have injured the Walsall player if the follow-through was there. I can see why he slid in, but the angle and timing was all wrong.
So once again the lads will go without a crucial team member for a few weeks, this time it is six games (including the Checkatrade trophy). This brings us almost up to January where Sunderland are set to sign him on a permanent deal from Wigan.
I think he could still be a good signing him but Jack Ross must make sure that he teaches him some discipline urgently, or he will become a liability to the rest of the squad and the fans will see him as a liability.
I think his heart is in the right place but his lack of composure is letting him down… he can turn things around, but it could be his last chance.