Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher has continued his stark criticism of Sunderland by claiming it is remarkable that they have not tasted relegation over the past few years - as claimed in his Daily Mail blog.
The Black Cats have started the current season in disastrous fashion, losing consecutively to Leicester City and Norwich City in games which have been littered with mistakes from the Mackems.
Writing in his blog for the Daily Mail, Carragher is dumbfounded at their lack of progress year on year and feels it has been somewhat 'remarkable' that they have retained their Premier League status for so long.
“Their first two performances have been a shambles. Sunderland have reverted to type and become what they have been for the past four or five years — a poor team,” Carragher explained.
“The only consistency they have shown is in producing performances that you can scarcely believe and, when you think how many times they have changed manager, it is remarkable they have not yet been relegated.”
Since earning promotion and surviving on their return to the Premier League, they’ve gone on to finish 16th, 13th, 10th, 13th, 17th, 14th and last season 16th after a late rally under Dick Advocaat.
Their problem has been a long-term one, starting with their poor scouting system and the decision to buy experienced players season upon season and not planning long-term.
Fulham, now a struggling Championship side, suffered a similar fate, where after failing to invest in youth, their older heads gradually declined so much that they could no longer compete at the top level.
During Sunderland’s defeat to Norwich City, their starting XI consisted of eight players above the age of 27, while their youngest star was Sebastian Coates at 24 – where is the exuberance of youth?
Advocaat has seemingly been trying to bring players in this summer, but with just a handful of new signings, it’s a case of too little, too late and on early season viewing they seem destined for another battle to beat the drop.