After a fine start to the season, Sunderland have now lost three games on the trot. Before their three defeats, the Black Cats were three points behind Wigan Athletic in the first place, with a game in hand. Sunderland’s recent slump in form puts them at fifth spot in the EFL League One with nine wins, one draw, and five losses in their opening 15 games. The current season is Sunderland’s fourth consecutive season in League One. They have failed to pull through twice in the play-offs. The Black Cats’ fans will be hoping that their side could move past the inconsistencies of their recent games and capitalize on their bright start to the season, a start which can be attributed to their in-form Scottish striker, Ross Stewart.
Stewart joined the Black Cats in January 2021 from Scottish side Ross County. Although initially he got limited opportunities at the end of last season, Stewart has already made his mark in League One this season. With 10 goals in 15 matches, Stewart has been in excellent form for the Black Cats. His form has generated a buzz for a call-up to Scotland national squad. Ross stated in a recent interview that the talks of call-up to the national side has been flattering and that he must be on the right path. The Black Cats would be looking to make their bid for promotion stronger when they welcome Ipswich Town after the international break. Under-pressure manager Lee Johnson would be relying on Stewart once again to provide inspiration.
Let’s dive into Stewart’s stats to understand his attributes and strengths which could perhaps push Sunderland closer to promotion this season.
Stewart’s attacking and creativity are some of the best this season, with the majority lying above the league median value. He averages an xG of 0.48 per match while also averaging north of four touches in the opposition’s penalty box. His other noteworthy stats are headed shots per 90 and shots on target accuracy. While not the tallest player in a match, he is comfortable in the role of a target man. In addition, he is capable of making brilliant runs behind the opposition line.
Stewart is often described as a workhorse who drops into multiple positions to receive passes. His pass receive map indicates the areas where he drops to receive his passes. In addition, it suggests that he is comfortable in switching positions, aiding his team during the build-up phases.
Stewart’s heat map for a striker is impressive, as it indicates the areas where he is most active. His inclination to switch positions is again highlighted by his heat map. This season he has been most active in the half-spaces and front of the opposition box. Stewart has also been complimented for his all-round play by his manager.
Stewart’s xG of 7.72 puts him in the second spot in the league, indicating that he is overperforming his xG. He also averages an xG of 0.48 per match. Stewart has also been complimented for his hold play, which allows his teammates to get in threatening positions.
Ross Stewart has been in impressive form this season. His work on and off the ball, combined with his link-up and play and a decent touch, has been an asset for Sunderland this season. If the Black Cats continue to create chances for Stewart, then he will continue to produce goals.