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Fixture News

In Opposition: Sunderland - ones to watch

26 December 2021

Sunderland have a total of 12 players who have found their way onto the score sheet so far this season.

The team’s top scorer is Scotland international Ross Stewart with 11 goals, while Welshman Nathan Broadhead is second with seven goals. The latter suffered a hamstring injury in the midweek Carabao Cup match and is set to be out of the line-up for Monday’s encounter according to Head Coach Lee Johnson.

Defensive duties are anchored by the play of Northern Ireland’s Carl Winchester, as well as youngster Daniel Neil. Thorben Hoffman is the primary starter between the posts at the goalkeeper position for Sunderland. Hoffman has produced five clean sheets in all competitions this season.

Here are your ones to watch:

 

Elliot Embleton

Elliot Embleton is a youth Academy graduate who signed his first professional terms with the club in 2017. During the 2016/17 season, he was named on the bench for the Black Cats first team in the Premier League in six games, while serving the majority of his time with the Sunderland U23 side that season.

He made his first team debut for the Black Cats in December 2017, coming on as an injury-time substitute in a 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers. In August 2018, Embleton joined Grimsby Town on loan until January 2019, scoring four goals in 27 appearances. In February 2021, he joined Blackpool on loan until the end of the 2020/21 season. On the international front, Embleton has played for each of the England U17, U18, U19 and U20 teams. For the England U20 team, he scored in a semi-final match of the 2017 Toulon Tournament against Scotland. He went on to convert his penalty in a shoot-out during England’s win over the Ivory Coast to capture the tournament championship. This season with Sunderland, he scored his first goal for the first team in a 2-1 win over Milton Keynes Dons in August.

In all, he has two goals thus far in 2021/22, while going on to record a team third-high matching four assists for the Black Cats. Embleton leads the team with 78 deliveries into the box, also tallying three interceptions and nine tackles won in defence.

 

Alex Pritchard

Former Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard joined Sunderland in July 2021. He scored his first goal for the Black Cats in a 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury Town on 23 November.

Born in Orsett, Pritchard began his career with Tottenham Hotspur as a youth in 2009, eventually signing his first professional contract with Spurs in 2011. He would go on to make two appearances with the first team for Spurs in his time at the club from 2011 to 2016, while serving loan spells at Peterborough United (2013), Swindon Town (2013-14), Brentford (2014-15) and West Bromwich Albion (2016) mixed in-between.

In 2016, Pritchard made a permanent move to Championship side Norwich City, inking a four-year deal with the Canaries. In 2017/18, he appeared in nine games for the club, scoring one goal, while previously suffering a knee injury that side-lined him for the beginning of the season. In January 2018, he sealed a move to Premier League Huddersfield Town, scoring his first Premier League goal as part of a 4-1 win over Bournemouth. Internationally, he has participated for the England U20 and U21 sides. In his first season with Sunderland, Pritchard has scored two goals, and has recorded six assists. He has drawn 31 fouls, and delivered a team third-most 68 crosses into the box. He has also contributed nine interceptions and 20 tackles won.

 

Ross Stewart

Ross Stewart arrived to the Stadium of Light in January 2021, signing for an undisclosed fee. He has been nicknamed the “Loch Ness Drogba” by Sunderland supporters, eluding to his Scottish ancestry. Since his arrival to the Stadium of Light, he has played in more than 35 games and scored in excess of 15 goals for the Black Cats. Prior to Sunderland, Stewart played three seasons in his home country of Scotland for Ross County, helping the club win promotion to the Scottish Premiership. He completed his first season at Ross County by scoring 11 goals across all competitions. Stewart began his senior career with Albion Rovers in July 2016, spending one season at the club before moving to Scottish Championship side St. Mirren for the 2017/18 season. He would be loaned to Alloa Athletic in Scottish League One for the latter part of the season, where he scored seven goals in 19 games. This season, Stewart is tied for second in Sky Bet League One and leads the Black Cats of Sunderland with 11 goals scored. He currently sits fifth in the league with a 39.1% shots on target average. He averages 0.45 goals per game, in addition to 1.07 shots on target per game.

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