Then, the seemingly delusional Poyet (Sunderland can propel Defoe back into the England set-up!!) instantly benches Connor the former savior-with-a-long-term-contract in favor of his new exorbitantly-priced, 32-year-old small forward, who has not played since October and has not scored since July. After today's 2-1 loss at Tottenham, which saw Defoe (reportedly on about $110,000 per week salary) worth all of 12 offensive touches in 75 minutes, the ex-Toronto FC man has two goals in his last 29 EPL contests.
Don't let me confuse the issue and let you think this is about criticizing Defoe. No no... right now I'm thinking he is both a freakin' fiscal genius and a figure for impending sympathies. And I say this about a guy who will probably score about as well as anyone short of Messi could in this Sunderland side coached by that manager, because he will look to fire at will from anywhere (a ka the mindset Altidore never adopted to adjust, his biggest gaffe of the tenure).
Would you like a real post-mortem stat on Altidore's overall play and who should point fingers at whom for his general failure during a self-imposed Black Cats sentence? From his arrival to departure, against all Prem opponents (including six cup matches with Chelsea, ManU, Stoke and S'hampton), Sunderland averaged a goal every 66.8 minutes with him on the field and a goal every 103.1 minutes with him as a spectator of some sort.
Yup. And the rage was even more displaced this season, when Altidore struggled like hell for league minutes after a World Cup injury gave him the late preseason start. This term, Sunderland has hit 11 times in 1,399 minutes with the American watching, giving them a goal every 127.2 minutes. With him on the field, they have scored eight times in 311 minutes, or once every 38.9 minutes played.
Yeah, you are reading that correctly. During Altidore's rare chances to see the pitch, Sunderland actually scored at a rate more than three times higher than without him. Today, they managed but three shots until trying to rally in the waning moments and Defoe was helped to do less than nothing.
So who really ruined whose time here? In truth, they should be happy Altidore didn't bag those two or three head-scratching misses, which gave the boss and the rest of that squad ample cover from the bashers' nasty stick. He didn't just occupy defenders while he was there, he occupied most of the UK media jabs and local flamethrowers as well.
As the American pulled a DNP in four of his last five games on their books, an irate majority on the fan message boards suddenly decided that Wickham had become terrible. And Poyet was totally clueless. And the midfield created nothing. And the team passes poorly all over the field. Etc etc etc.
The reality is Altidore was bad by his standards, but Sunderland collectively were and remain even worse by quite a ways. Hey, remember their worst losses of all? The 8-0 to Southampton, the 5-1 to Spurs, the pitiful 3-1 loss to newly-promoted Crystal Palace last season. The US striker left not one footprint in any of those debacles.
It likely won't be their last on the matter, but at least Altidore's new club certainly got the first laugh out of this swap deal:
#COYS! We wish our partner @SpursOfficial all the best today as they take on Jermain Defoe and Sunderland.
— Toronto FC (@torontofc) January 17, 2015
- Greg Seltzer