However you look at it Sunderland’s Premier League record makes for particularly stark reading under the stewardship of David Moyes. Just two points from their first 9 matches, that is relegation form in anyone’s book and to put in to greater context it’s even worse than Aston Villa were at this stage last season.
The outcome looks gloomy on Wearside but it also doesn’t look too promising when it comes to David Moyes’s employment prospects either. The question that now has to be asked in how long will owner Ellis Short give Moyes to turn things around.
But also it might not even be Ellis Short who makes that decision. The American owner has been linked in the past week with selling the club to a Chinese consortium and they could look to bring back none other than former boss Sam Allardyce.
Allardyce’s England tenure ended in rather abrupt and embarrassing circumstances and he has been keeping his silence since but could a sensational return to The Black Cats be on the cards as Sunderland will once again look to play a major part in this seasons relegation battle.
It was last November when Allardyce took over from Dick Advocaat with the club in a better but still not impressive plight. The process was a long and at times tortuous one but once January had been and gone and some reinforcements bought in then Sunderland pulled off what many felt was an unlikely escape.
England losing to Iceland was probably worse news for Sunderland fans than it was England ones as the departure of Roy Hodgson meant that Allardyce was the heir apparent to role of England manager and with him leaving for the world of international football in July, Sunderland’s pre seasons plans were in disarray.
But then step forward David Moyes. Many felt that after busts as both Manchester United and Real Sociedad that this was exactly the kind of job that the Glaswegian could get his teeth into and not only pick up where Allardyce left off but also revitalise his own managerial career.
It was almost the perfect appointment, here is a man who spent a decade at Everton building his sides on the basis of a solid defensive platform and that is exactly what Sunderland needed to not repeat the goings of each season in the top flight. But what they have and what they need are seemingly miles apart.
Quite frankly the squad just isn’t good enough, it’s only Jermain Defoe and Jordan Pickford who are coming out of these first 9 games with any credit and if it wasn’t for Pickford then Sunderland would be losing nearer to a cricket score each week. Yes the squad is far short of one that will earn Premier League survival but how much of that is down to the current man in charge
Moyes almost looks haunted on the touchline as with every week and another subsequent defeat the colour drains out of him even further. They may have been desperately unlucky on Saturday to concede a 94th minute winner to West Ham but at this level you make your own luck and once again a lack of any real quality has been Sunderland’s undoing.
So a quarter of the season in and Sunderland have picked up just two points, right now you cannot see where that first win is going to come from. A squad low on confidence and a manager whose best days now seem well behind him at what point do they pick up the phone and bring back Big Sam.
They are already 5 points away from safety and with two games to the international break there is every chance that gap could get even wider. But at the same time that could be the perfect time and almost quite ironic that an international break sees Allardyce return to club football.
If Allardyce was to return to Sunderland pretty much a year after arriving for the first time then there is still just about enough time to repeat the feat of last season. Add that to another January transfer window for reinforcements and they just might not be the lost cause that they currently are with the former Bolton boss at the helm.
Sunderland need stability but if they stick with their current man then it’s going to be a side primed and ready for life in the EFL next August. If they fancy prolonging their stay in the Premier League then they may very well have to return to a familiar face and do it all over again.
The next couple of weeks for David Moyes are going to make or most probably break.