BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 16TH JANUARY, 2016
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4(1) SUNDERLAND 1(1)
Eriksen, 42, 67
van Aanholt, 40
Attendance:- 35, 854
Referee:- Mike Dean
Assistants:- S. Bennett & E. Smart
Fourth official:- C. Pawson
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Dembele (sub Carroll, 80); Lamela (sub Onomah, 73), Alli, Eriksen; Kane (sub Son, 88)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Wimmer, Davies; Chadli
Sunderland (4-4-1-1):- Pickford; Jones, O'Shea (Capt.), Brown, van Aanholt; Johnson, Cattermole (sub Rodwell, 53), M'Vila, Graham (sub Kirchoff, 59); Lens (sub Watmore, 76); Defoe
Subs not used:- Mannone; Coates; Fletcher, Borini
Booked:- Cattermole (foul on Rose), Johnson (foul on Rose)
Black Cats flattened
Once again Spurs dominated possession, and once again they were camped in their opponents' half for most of the first quarter of the game. Once again, they fell behind to a sucker punch goal, but this time, they quickly, equalised before half-time, going on to beat relegation-threatened Sunderland by a scoreline becoming quite familiar this season at White Hart Lane. Manchester City, West Ham and now the "Black Cats" have gone home with their tails between their legs after a 4-1 beating.
This match was televised by BT Sport and therefore kicked off at 12.45 pm on a cold but very bright and sunny winter's day. A good crowd was in attendance, but the usually enthusiastic Sunderland fans had not visited in their usual numbers. Having berated the home support for being "f***ing s**t", it was they who left the ground in numbers before the end.
Mauricio Pochettino switched both his full backs after Wednesday's game against Leicester, with Danny Rose no doubt relishing playing against the team where he spent a full season on loan a couple of years ago. In fact Rose attracted fouls by both booked players and was also fouled by Sunderland substitute Jan Kirchoff to win the penalty from which Harry Kane cemented the victory with a convincing kick.
Sam Allardyce predictably kept faith with Wednesday night hat-trick hero Jermain Defoe, and the initial team announcement suggested he might have played 4-3-3. However, it soon became evident that Allardyce's intentions were largely defensive, with a 4-4-1-1 formation which included the rarely used Danny Graham on the left with Jeremain Lens playing behind Defoe. Spurs had to deal with ten men behind the ball most of the time.
Mousa Dembele returned to the Spurs starting line-up and featured with Eriksen in a move which won an early free kick towards the right. Lamela crossed and Jan Vertonghen's header was blocked. After four minutes, Kane received the ball from Dembele, hitting a shot which was saved just inside his left post by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, making his Premier League debut.
After another Spurs corner, Danny Rose had a shot blocked. Kane fed the ball to Alli, who scooped over the bar. Spurs had nothing to show for their early domination and endeavour.
Dembele fed the ball to Eriksen towards the left after 16 minutes, and Christian crossed to Kane who was some 6 yards away from the near post. Kane hit his shot too wide, perhaps thinking he was closer to the goal. Kane was fouled four minutes later, and Eriksen took the free kick. Dembele had a shot blocked and the Spurs attack faded.
After some prolonged passing play by Spurs, Dembele hit a pass to Danny Rose, who had a go, but fired well over the bar.
Suddenly Sunderland forged an attack, and Lens hit a dipping shot from 25 yards which passed wide of Lloris's left post. Another Kane shot won a corner, but little else. Kane won a corner with a header after an Eriksen free kick from the right after half an hour. Dembele made a break from his own half following a rare Sunderland corner. He passed to Lamela on the left, but he fired wide across the goalmouth.
After another Spurs free kick, Eric Dier sent an excellent ball to Trippier on the right, but his cross evaded all.
Five minutes later, Spurs conceded the sucker punch goal, when left back van Aanholt race onto Adam Johnson's ball getting behind Dele Alli, who was the deepest Spurs defender. Van Aanholt took advantage of the space granted by Alli, and then managed to fire home inside Lloris's right post from the narrow angle.
Luckily Spurs responded immediately. Harry Kane's shot was blocked and the ball ran to Eriksen towards the right of the area. Eriksen hit a shot across the keeper and the ball was helped into the net by a desperate defender. The goal will probably be credited to Eriksen after investigation by the Premier League goals panel.
Before half time, Sunderland had a free kick from the edge of the Spurs box, taken by Jermain Defoe, but Hugo Lloris held the shot. Spurs had a break in added time, winning a corner from another Eriksen effort.
Soon after the break, Lee Cattermole was perhaps predictably the first into referee Mike Dean's book for a foul on Rose. Cattermole was withdrawn soon after that. Spurs did make a big mess of an attacking free kick near the Sunderland area. Sunderland were allowed a dangerous break and Johnson carried the ball a long way before feeding the ball to Defoe on the left. Defoe hit the side netting at The Park Lane End.
After a Spurs free kick on the right, Lamela lifted the ball over and Dele Alli headed wide across the goal. Vertonghen made a run into the Sunderland half, showing good skill and determination, before taking a wall pass off Kane and hitting a right foot shot over the bar.
Harry Kane had a good effort after receiving from Rose towards the left. Kane ran to his right and hit a good right foot shot, which was well saved by rookie keeper Pickford. After the Spurs corner, Danny Rose had a shot saved. In the follow-up play, Dembele carried the ball to his left before firing low to Pickford's left for his first goal in two months.
Spurs fans now felt confident enough to chant "Jermain Defoe, he's a Yiddo", which I felt was more than a little premature, with the score so finely balanced. However, it wasn't long before Eriksen made it 3-1 with another defected shot, after a pass by Dier. Pickford stood no chance, but I think the original shot was on target and will also be credited to Eriksen, whose confidence will surely benefit from his first league goals since Swansea away in early October. I felt more relaxed now about those Defoe chants.
Pickford made an acrobatic save twisting in the centre of goal to prevent Kane scoring after another foray by Vertonghen.
The first Spurs substitute was Josh Onomah, who replaced Lamela after 73 minutes. Allardyce took off Lens in favour of young striker Duncan Watmore in a desperate effort to get back on terms. However, it was Spurs who went even further ahead when Kirchoff impeded Danny Rose as he cut in from the left. Mr. Dean pointed to the spot, and Harry Kane fired home convincingly to the right of the keeper.
Tom Carroll had a decent cameo when he replaced Dembele, and Son got a few minutes for Kane, but by now Spurs were easing up and coasting. In fact, Sunderland right back Billy Jones came closest to scoring with a deflected shot.
West Ham lost today at Newcastle (which won't have pleased Sunderland fans), so Spurs are again secure in fourth place. We all know it could and should have been better after Leicester, but at least we are still on "higher ground". Chelsea only drew and are fourteen points below us, which is good fun.
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