Winning eight of their 16 contests so far, Tony Mowbray‘s youthful side have the ability in their ranks to brush aside opponents with relative ease – beating Birmingham City 3-1 in their last match at home, 18-year-old midfield sensation Jobe Bellingham leading from the front with a goal against his former boyhood club.
In that same win at the weekend just gone, a cameo appearance from another exciting young talent off the bench helped the Black Cats get over the line and secure a convincing three points at the expense of Wayne Rooney’s dire Blues.
Adil Aouchiche wowed home supporters with his electric 16-minute spell on the Stadium of Light turf when introduced into the contest, the young French midfielder now pushing for more immediate first-team opportunities subsequently.
Adil Aouchiche’s game vs Birmingham in numbers
Substituted onto the pitch by Mowbray to replace the flagging midfield presence of Bellingham who was exhausted after running himself into the ground for the Black Cats, Aouchiche was just the injection of freshness Sunderland needed to ensure Birmingham didn’t get back into the contest and instead romped home to a 3-1 victory.
With just 14 touches on the ball as per Sofascore, Aouchiche was levels above the hapless Birmingham defenders trying to contain him – the former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder taking the Blues backline by surprise, especially when he scored just two minutes after being afforded a chance to positively impact the game with the clock ticking down.
Getting on the end of a Jack Clarke driven pass into the area after Sunderland’s star-man had got the better of the opposing full-back, the ex-PSG midfielder tapped home into an empty net to consolidate the three points for his new employers and excite the home supporters with his short but sweet cameo appearance.
Aouchiche could be an effective calling card from off the bench by Mowbray in these crunch contests when the opposition are tiring, Sunderland’s new number 22 an instant hero with this game-clinching contribution which saw the Durham-based club enter the playoff picture as a result – climbing up to sixth spot on goal difference off the back of the win, with West Brom and Hull City lingering just below.
This wasn’t just a promising performance in isolation however for Aouchiche, with the 21-year-old equally as impressive off the bench this campaign in other Championship encounters for his promotion-chasing side.
Adil Aouchiche’s season in numbers
Only averaging 22 minutes per game according to Sofascore this campaign having not started a single game, Aouchiche is the very definition of an impact player for Sunderland and has even been labelled as a “special talent” by football journalist Josh Bunting despite not cementing himself into the first team fold just yet.
Up against Stoke City before the victory at the Stadium of Light against Birmingham, the Frenchman nearly played the role of saviour again for his team but to no avail.
The Black Cats would lose out to the Potters 2-1, but Aouchiche would attempt three shots on Mark Travers’ goal from just 15 minutes on the pitch via Sofascore – amassing an overall 7.3 Sofascore rating as a result, the new Black Cats recruit then bettering this display with a goal versus the Blues.
His midfield teammates in Alex Pritchard and Pierre Ekwah will be sweating about their first-team futures if the 21-year-old keeps this up with Sunderland striking gold by signing this 21-year-old brimming full of swagger and confidence.