Sunderland opened up their Championship campaign with a 1-1 draw against Coventry at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
The Black Cats made a fast start back to life in the second tier as they quickly showed that they carry a big threat going forward in the division.
Lynden Gooch was the provider of the opening goal in the game as he brilliantly beat his man down the right and then delivered a teasing cross to the back post for Jack Clarke to head into an empty net after an error by the goalkeeper.
Coventry came close to equalizing when Jonathan Panzo unleashed a rocket onto the crossbar from distance, before Matt Godden missed a golden chance to score. Then Neil lost the ball inside his own box and the opposition forward fired the ball wide with the goal gap at his mercy.
They eventually leveled the score as Viktor Gyokeres produced a moment of individual quality to beat several players before firing a scorching strike into the far corner.
Was Evans disappointing?
Whilst the likes of Gooch, Clarke, Dan Ballard, and Ross Stewart caught the eye for positive reasons, one player who failed to make the step up to the Championship on the day was captain Corry Evans as he let Alex Neil down.
The £14k-a-week earner was somewhat of a liability in the match as he struggled to impose himself on the game, in or out of possession for the Black Cats.
Off the ball, he was completely outmuscled by the opposition. As per SofaScore, he lost 100% of his five duels as he failed to win a single battle on the ground or in the air in 90 minutes on the pitch. He made two interceptions in the match but was unable to make any blocks, clearances or tackles, whilst he was dribbled past once.
In possession, he offered very little to the team. As per SofaScorehe did not create a single chance or complete a dribble, whilst only completing one long pass out of his 28 attempted passes.
This shows that he did not provide quality on the ball to offset his struggles defensively, which is why he let Neil down badly on the day.
Supporters will surely be hoping that this performance is not a sign of things to come in the Championship this season, or else Neil may need to look for alternative options in the middle of the park.
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