Sunderland defender Sebastian Coates put in a real shift on Monday night as his side defeated Crystal Palace 1-0 thanks to a late strike from forward Jermain Defoe.
The Uruguayan international was selected as part of a back three by boss Sam Allardyce, a formation he opted for in order to counter the threat of Palace’s excellent wide players.
The tactical switch worked well as Sunderland’s back three covered their wingbacks, allowing the visitors to double up on Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha and stop any balls going into the box.
Defoe will undoubtedly grab the headlines for bagging the winner, yet it was Coates who was arguably the outstanding player for the Black Cats as he defended superbly throughout.
|Tackles||Interceptions||Effective Clearances||Defensive Duels Won||Aerial Duels Won||Ball Recoveries||Mins Played|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the centre-back contributed greatly in a number of key areas.
The former Liverpool man posted one ball recovery, three interceptions, four aerial duels won, five effective clearances, five tackles and moreover he won an outstanding 11 defensive duels.
For the most part this season, Sunderland have defended poorly and on their last trip they shipped six goals against a rampant Everton side at Goodison Park.
That, however, certainly wasn’t the case at Selhurst Park and boss Sam Allardyce deserves an enormous amount of credit for pinpointing Palace’s strengths and nullifying them.
As for Coates, the 25-year-old was making his eighth start of the season and while he may not had the best of campaigns thus far, he stood up to the challenge admirably.