I know a lot of people have been wondering how Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore continues to get good playing time despite bagging just one goal in 23 EPL appearances thus far this season. And while the chart below is meant to numerically display the struggles experienced by the Black Cats strike stable, it also drops a couple clues as to why Gus Poyet is backing the US striker to pay off.
You may notice amid the wreckage that the No. 17 shirt leads all Sunderland snipers in percentage of shots put on frame. Of course, as we could have guessed, Altidore is by far dead last in shots taken (or to an extent is it facilitated?) - the combo of Fletcher and Borini let rip once every 36.45 minutes, the American is at 56.88. It must be said, though, that the overall strike force average of one shot taken per 41.77 minutes of game time is disgraaaaceful. And I count myself as an attacker, so you know I would super-snort that adjective dripping with righteous indignation. The teams midfielders and wingbacks, who never met a pointless shot from 26 meters that they didn't adore, should forfeit a meal or two. Maybe they could see how it feels to go hungry. It is also worth noting that Altidore has created as many chances for teammates as Borini and Fletcher combined. Even with the goal slump, it appears quite obvious why he keeps getting PT.
By the way, The Daily Mail article these stats are drawn from also contains some comments from the Sunderland manager about each of his forwards. Some folks may wish to notice the continuing lack of complaints - tactical, technical effort, attitude or otherwise - from the boss.
- Greg Seltzer