The Black Cats have endured a torrid start to the season, picking up just just points from six games, conceding 13 goals in the process - the most in the top flight.
Manager Dick Advocaat is already under pressure after the nightmare start to the campaign, and the Dutchman is now preparing to take his side to Old Trafford this weekend in a daunting task.
Ahead of that game, former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has been discussing Sunderland's situation with the Daily Mail, and highlighted a number of important factors.
Keown states that Sunderland's 'major problem' has been their recruitment over the summer, whilst he also compared Younes Kaboul - who arrived from Tottenham over the summer - to Newcastle veteran Fabricio Coloccini, with both players struggling this season.
"I think the major problem for Sunderland was their recruitment," said Keown. "Fabio Borini has been on their shopping list for years but has he really added much this season? And at the back Younes Kaboul is similar to Coloccini at Newcastle – a player with so much experience who is built to be a top player but just keeps making basic mistakes.
"The trouble for Advocaat is that now the transfer window is firmly shut and this is the squad he has to work with. Sunderland and Newcastle seem to be mirroring each other with their problems right now but good coaches and managers would get out of this situation. Let’s see what Advocaat and McClaren can achieve," he added.
Sunderland brought in Adam Matthews, Sebastian Coates, Kaboul, DeAndre Yedlin, Yann M'Vila, Ola Toivonen, Jeremain Lens and Fabio Borini, but Advocaat maybe hasn't got as much out of those players as he would have likedso far this season.
The struggles for Sunderland have been recurring for many years now, and unless those signings start to justify their places at the Stadium of Light, those problems won't be disappearing any time soon - giving Advocaat a tough task this season.