Kevin Phillips says Sunderland lacked creativity in draw with Swansea
Sunderland lacked creative spark in their lacklustre 0-0 draw with Swansea, says Kevin Phillips.
Last Updated: 30/01/13 9:33am
The Black Cats failed to register a single shot on target on their home patch on Tuesday night and former Sunderland striker Phillips criticised the supply to frontman Steven Fletcher.
"There was very little creativity," said Phillips.
"Sunderland had the weekend off and perhaps they didn't need that because they were in a bit of form and had beaten West Ham 3-0 at home. But to then come out and not get a shot on target, you have to wonder what the reasons for that are.
"Sunderland have got enough players in their team who can score but there wasn't enough urgency in the team. They've got a great finisher in Fletcher but there were no crosses whatsoever for him; there was no delivery into the box for the forwards to feed on.
"I thought Adam Johnson was very poor, despite showing some form of late, and there just wasn't enough creativity in the middle of the park either. But that's been Sunderland's problem all season."
Former Swansea striker Lee Trundle was also unimpressed by Sunderland's attacking threat - but pointed out the visitors deserved plaudits for limiting the home side.
"Swansea can take credit for restricting Sunderland," said Trundle. "That's something Swansea have added to their game this year. And the way they keep ball so well means they're going to keep opponents' attempts down, too."
Swansea could have taken more than a point from their trip to the North East, had they been awarded a fifth minute penalty when John O'Shea caught Itay Shechter in the box.
And despite conceding Shechter would have struggled to keep possession of the ball, Phillips said he felt the challenge warranted a spot-kick.
"There's definitely contact and if there's contact in the box it's a penalty," said Phillips. "Yes, he has gone down fairly softly and he may not have got onto the ball but O'Shea took him out. If it had happened to me, I'd be expecting a penalty.
"There were only five minutes on the clock at the time and if the ref makes a decision like that early on he's up against it for the rest of the game. Shechter had also gone down a few times before and perhaps that was playing on the ref's mind a little."
Aston Villa 1-2 Newcastle
PHIL THOMPSON: It's hard to say it but Paul Lambert got it totally wrong tactically. He played a flat back five against one striker (Papiss Cisse); Matthew Lowton and Joe Bennett were playing as full-backs, not wing-backs, and didn't know when to push on and support their forward players, so there was nothing in these wide areas - and it stayed like that for the whole of the first half and Villa ended it 2-0 down. Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann came on in the second half and they went 4-3-3, pinned Newcastle back and deserved a draw as they were so dominant. The fans can be proud of their second-half display but on this evidence I cannot see Villa staying up.
QPR 0-0 Man City
CHARLIE NICHOLAS: QPR didn't show a lot going forward and rode their luck a bit, but they defended doggedly and Harry Redknapp made three changes late on to stop Man City's momentum. This is a bonus for Harry because after the weekend defeat (to MK Dons in the FA Cup) you wondered whether things would blow up. It was a fascinating game to watch but it was a disappointing show again for City; Sergio Aguero was starry at times and they had five or 10-minute spells - but they didn't look like champions.
STOKE 2-2 Wigan
TONY COTTEE: Wigan played well in the second half to fight back from 2-0 down at Stoke, which is never an easy place to go, and scored two really good goals through James McArthur and Franco Di Santo, so Roberto Martinez, who had a beaming smile in the post-match interview, will be really pleased. His side are out of the bottom three now and that will help them psychologically and I think they are good enough to stay up if they play like they did in the second period of this game. They showed at the end of last season that they are capable of going on a run and, eventually, they should be alright.