Graphic: Sunderland’s best starting line-up now the deadline has passed

Sunderland finally strengthened their squad in late August.

Sunderland finally opted to strengthen their squad towards the end of the transfer window, a decision which was warmly received by the club’s supporters.

The Black Cats have endured a pretty terrible start to the season, picking up just two points from a set of fixtures they surely must have expected a better return from.

Dick Advocaat’s men are widely tipped to struggle by Premier League observers and pundits alike, with their start to the season mirroring their business throughout the transfer window.

For a team which narrowly avoided by the drop last season, it was a big surprise to see Sunderland barely strengthen and head into the season with a clear lack of creativity and striking options.

As reported by the Daily Mail, Sky Sports duo Jamie Redknapp and Jamie Carragher have tipped the Black Cats for the drop, with the latter later engaging in a war of words with Advocaat.

However, the club’s late transfer dealings have prompted a bit more positivity about the place and their best XI looks a lot more competitive, with the graphic below our prediction of how they would line up with everybody available.

Defence has been a big problem for Sunderland this season, with the addition of Younes Kaboul so far proving to be a strange one considering his lack of action prior to joining and subsequent poor form.

Nonetheless, John O’Shea remains as competitive as ever and the back four have since been well protected following the inclusion of Yann M’Vila, a truly excellent defensive midfielder.

Jack Rodwell and fellow loanee Ola Toivonen make up the midfield, with the latter making a solid debut at Aston Villa as he came off the bench to assist forward Jeremain Lens.

Sunderland’s lack of attacking potency has been well documented, yet a front three of Jermain Defoe, new signing Fabio Borini and former Dynamo Kiev man Lens has plenty of promise.

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