Goals, goals, goals! I'd like some please. Lots of them if possible, but if not, simply more than the opposition get.
Over the years our successful promotion winning teams were always more than capable of scoring plenty both home and away. You often hear managers say that you start building a team from the back, getting the defence right being their priority. It certainly helps, the logic being that if you don't concede then you can't lose, and it certainly helped when Allardyce sorted out ours in order to keep us in the Premiership.
However, if we want to go up, we need to be looking more closely at the other end of the pitch. To support this argument, I'd simply say look at the teams above us in the league. With the exception of Coventry, they've all conceded more goals than us but have clearly also scored more.
Our defensive record statistically looks good but we're poor in front of goal. All Sunderland fans would, in the current climate, accept that we need to score first and then we need to score some more to have a proper chance of winning any game.
This despite supposedly having a good defence. Our problem is we don't have a regular goal scorer, something which we've suffered from since last January and the departure of Maja. Whilst I know this is stating the bleeding obvious it doesn't necessarily mean we don't have any goal scorers.
I just think we're not creating enough chances and not taking those that we do. If we were more of a threat at the top end of the pitch it would put more pressure on the opposition whereas, because we're not scoring, we're inviting pressure on ourselves instead.
In the last few games, the supply from O'Nien and Hume seems to have either dried up, or the quality of balls into the box has been poor. With Parkinson's system if that happens, we don't seem to have a Plan B to go to even though we should be able to create chances through other players.
It's not just the supply however being the root cause of our malaise. Do we get enough numbers into the box and do the players get into the right positions? The bottom line is we're not scoring enough goals and if we concede first heads go down.
Both problems are the manager's responsibility to sort out. I would suggest our 'decent' run in January and February papered over some cracks. We scored goals in quick succession in some games as part of that run which gave us breathing space, but the opposition could easily have also scored first in a number of those.
Our season lies at a crossroads. Unless the recent downturn in form is reversed and quickly this season will die on its arse, the consequences of which could be far reaching indeed for the club. We are capable of beating any team in this league but sadly we are also more than capable of likewise losing to any.
Score two or three goals in a game and the confidence it gives the players (and the fans to get behind them) should always see us through. If we can't do that, we won't deserve to go up.