Victor Anichebe and Jermain Defoe may have just saved David Moyes’ job

David Moyes was on the chopping block. His Sunderland team was off to the worst start in the history of the Premier League and the international break was coming up. Not only did the Black Cats need to turn things around to avoid losing any hope of staying in the top flight, but an opportune time to change managers was upon them. Had they lost to Bournemouth, Moyes would have almost certainly been gone. Even a draw could have been the end of them.

Instead, Victor Anichebe went into the starting lineup and, along with Jermain Defoe, helped save Moyes’ job with a 2-1 win.

The Black Cats fell behind early, but Defoe fed Ancihebe, who bullied his defender before rifling a shot into the top of the ned. It was the two strikers combining while most everyone else watched.

That shouldn’t have even mattered for Sunderland. Steven Pienaar was shown two yellow cards, putting the Black Cats down a man, and it looked like Bournemouth would be in control from thereon out. It was 1-1 and the Cherries had 31 minutes with a man advantage. But Anichebe and Defoe came through again.

First, Anichebe’s powerful run through the heart of the Bournemouth defense to draw a penalty. Then Defoe took the spot kick and buried it, delivering Sunderland the win.

Sunderland didn’t win just because of Anichebe and Defoe, but the two were at the center of most of the Black Cats’ best plays of the match, not to mention the two goals. It was the first time Anichebe started in the league all season and the first time Sunderland played with two strikers. And it worked when Moyes needed it to most.

It’s hard to give Moyes too much credit. For one, he was handed a touchline ban so he wasn’t even in the dugout for the match. Second, Anichebe was the big difference in the match as his introduction completely changed the Sunderland attack. That’s the same Anichebe that Moyes hadn’t started all season long (admittedly, he missed part of the season with an injury, but he was available and unused other times) so Moyes was simply fixing a problem he created. But Sunderland won.

Sunderland are still at the bottom of the table, but at least they have a win now, their first of the season. And things are going in a better direction. The Black Cats will still take a hard look at Moyes’ future because one win can’t overshadow the 10 that preceded it; that’s especially true when the international break is coming up and it’s the most convenient time Sunderland will have to make a managerial change for months. But a loss would have almost certainly spelled the end for Moyes, and Anichebe and Defoe made sure that wouldn’t happen.