While results have not always reflected the improvement in performances since Paolo Di Canio’s departure, a move to 4-5-1 seemed to be the formation of choice.
OK, the Big Boys with the world class twin partnerships (Man City, Liverpool and Man Utd) have been adventurous this season, 4-4-2, but not always with good results.
Man Utd are in freefall, despite having Van Persie and Rooney, and City cannot get an away victory to save their life.
So 4-5-1 has its advantages, allowing Sunderland to control the ball in the middle of the park and retain possession . or that's the theory anyway.
However, for some reason unknown to those in attendance, Sunderland reverted to type with a return to 4-4-2 and a compulsion for long balls to the front men. A tactic of desperation.
Against Spurs, it was tactical suicide.
The added element of pressure will only get worse . unless we we come with a special result.
It was clear for everyone to see on Saturday a number of players crumbled under the additional stress.
How do we get out of it? WILL we get out of it?
Time is ticking away, and lose at West Ham and I fear for us all.