The absense of the Africans was telling as we really missed Muntari and Diop in particular. What was even worse is that Glen Johnson, Sean Davis and Matt Taylor were all injured whilst the players who are usually so reliable had shockers today.
Two goals from Kieran Richardson won the game for Sunderland. The first came when Campbell and Kenwyne Jones tussled for the ball and Jones won and ran clear of Sol who stood still expecting the whilstle to be blown. It wasn't and Jones squared the ball to Richardson who put the ball in the net.
The second goal was a result of very sluggish defending from the back four as a unit, which allowed Richardson the space to pick his spot for the second goal.
Richardson might have had a hat-trick as he hit the crossbar in the second half. On the other hand, Benjani had two glorious opportunities to pull a goal back as he found himself in the box with the 'keeper to beat on both occasions.
However, he had his square ball to Nugent cut out by Evans the first time and his tame effort was easily saved by Gordon the second time. The Zimbabwean also missed a great opportunity early on in the game when he volleyed wide from close range. A game for Benji to forget...
In fact, it'll be a game for everyone to forget. Nugent never got the ball, Kranjcar kept losing it whilst the midfield in general were too lightweight, Campbell and Distin really struggled with the Sunderland attack and the whole team were just very sluggish.
In fact, the squad was so thin that the bench wouldn't have looked out of place in a League One fixture!
I'm willing to forgive the people involved for this woeful showing though. The speculation during the week would not have helped Harry at all, whilst injuries and the African Nations Cup meant our squad was greatly depleted.
The result has done nothing for our league position as we're now five points adrift of the teams above us. There's still plenty of time to close that gap but if we play anything like we did today again then we can forget it.
Hopefully Harry will be a very busy man this week and we see some new blood at the club, because we are desperate for new faces in a Pompey shirt.
Pompey Player Ratings
David James: 6 - Might have done better with the second goal, but maybe I'm being too harsh.
Noe Pamarot: 6 - The best of a bad bunch at the back.
Sol Campbell: 5 - Given a torrid time by Jones and must shoulder the blame for the first goal.
Sylvain Distin: 6 - Struggled to contain Sunderland's attack.
Hermann Hreidarsson: 5 - Very sluggish.
Richard Hughes: 5 - No effect.
Pedro Mendes: 5 - Seems like a shadow of the man who was so instrumental in keeping us up two years ago.
Arnold Mvuemba: 5 - Too lightweight and had no impact.
Benjani: 5 - Guilty of a few costly misses.
Niko Kranjcar: 5 - Couldn't keep the ball.
David Nugent: 5 - Anonymous.
Djimi Traore: N/A - Late sub for the injured Distin, hopefully just a precaution.
Franck Songo'o: 5 - No impact at all.