SUNDAY 18th SEPTEMBER, 2016
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0) SUNDERLAND 0(0)
Referee:- Mike Dean
Assistants:- S. Long & I. Hussin
Fourth official:- Andre Marriner
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Dier (sub Davies, 77), Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Wanyama, Dembele (sub Lamela, 74); Sissoko, Alli, Son; Kane (sub Janssen, 87)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier; Eriksen, Winks
Booked:- Davies (foul)
Sunderland (4-3-2-1):- Pickford; Denayer (sub McNair, 90+), Kone, Djilobodji, Manquillo; Ndong, Kirchhoff (sub Khazri, 79), Cattermole (Capt.); Januzaj, Pienaar (sub Watmore, 63); Defoe
Subs not used:- Mika; O'Shea, Love; Gooch
Booked:- Manquillo (foul on Sissoko), Denayer (foul on Son), Cattermole (foul on Dembele), Ndong (foul), Januzaj (foul)
Sent off:- Januzaj (second yellow for foul on Davies, 89)
Kane goal takes us third, but Spurs make us sweat.
Spurs dominated possession in a game they were expected to win convincingly, but determined goalkeeping, coupled with some lack of invention and a killer touch meant that home fans were made to sweat over the destination of the three points right till the end of the game. The result takes us to third place behind Man City and Everton, above Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd. Mourinho's team lost for the third consecutive time this week. It is the first time the "Special One" (perhaps not so special) has lost three consecutive games since 2002, when he was in charge of Porto.
Mauricio Pochettino certainly did ring the changes, as he had suggested in his pre-match press conferences. Eric Dier fell back to centre back, with Alderweireld and Vertonghen shifting across to the left. Ben Davies was relegated to the bench. Wanyama played beside Mousa Dembele, making his first Premier League appearance following his suspension. Sissoko made his first start for Spurs, playing on the right of midfield, with Alli to his left and Son Heung-min on the left. Harry Kane led the line.
David Moyes was able to include Lee Cattermole for the first time this season. Cattermole captained the side, and inevitably was shown a yellow card by referee Mike Dean, who was kept busy by the visiting team.
I noticed for the first time today that the pillar being built in the north-east corner of the ground was bedecked in Spurs' navy blue with the slogan "Come on You Spurs". It is this pillar which has led to that corner of the ground being pulled down early, and season ticket holders such as me being moved to various parts of the ground.
Spurs kicked off, playing with gusto towards the Park Lane stand, and dominated possession from the start. Over the course of the game, Spurs had 72% of the possession, but they did not work the goalkeeper hard enough, although he was in action several times. By the same token, former Spurs favourites had a couple of good first half chances, and after we had scored, there was always the fear that we might succumb to a good counter-attack.
I believe that Son was given the Sky man of the match award, and he was indeed very active, with a good number of shots (not necessarily on target), and he was a good corner kicker. Son was on the receiving end of Vertonghen's cross following an early Spurs free kick, but his effort was blocked. After three minutes, Son crossed from the left, and Dele Alli met the ball at the back of the area, passing back to Wanyama, whose shot passed just wide of the post.
Son and Vertonghen combined well on the left after 8 minutes. Kane got a touch to Son's cross and Sunderland's young keeper Jordan Pickford made a good reflex save. It wasn't long before the vocal Sunderland support were chanting "He's one of our own" about their stand-in keeper, who is playing because former Arsenal man Vito Mannone is injured. From the resulting corner, Victor Wanyama hooked an effort well over the bar.
Kyle Walker was as impactive as ever down the right wing, and after 11 minutes, gave Dembele a chance, which was comfortably saved by Pickford at his left post. Vertonghen hit a lovely threaded pass to Son, who crossed for Wanyama, but again Pickford was in the right place to hold the shot.
Kyle Walker hit a pass through a defender's legs for Sissoko, who crossed for Kane, but Pickford pushed the shot out for a corner. Pickford then saved Alderweireld's header from another Son corner. Alderweireld went down winded, but soon recovered.
Harry Kane made a good run down the inside right channel, feeding the ball to Son, who scooped his attempt well over the target. Sissoko was fouled 25 yards out and Eric Dier took the free kick, but hit it well over the bar.
Sunderland responded in threatening style when Defoe latched onto Pickford's clearance and hit a good shot from a sharp angle on the right. Lloris was down well to save the shot low to his right.
More Spurs pressure led to chances for Sissoko and Wanyama, with Walker often the source of Spurs attacks. Another Walker cross won a corner, taken by Son, but Pickford was equal to Spurs' headed attempt. Son had another attempt just outside the post from Dembele's pass. Djilobodji skewed an attempted clearance out for another corner, after more good work by Kane and Son. After Son's corner, Dembeke had an attempt deflected out of play. Yet another corner followed Sissoko's header.
For all their domination, Spurs had nothing to show for their efforts, and Sunderland nearly made that pay for Spurs for a second time on the break. It was Pienaar's shot that was blocked either on the Spurs line, or just in front of goal.
Spurs carried on where they started in the second half, with more pressure. After good work in the middle, Dele Alli teed the ball up for Son, whose attempt was deflected. Son had another chance at the back post after a Sissoko cross was not cleanly taken by Pickford. Son hit his shot straight at the keeper. Dembele and Alli combined to give Son another chance from the left, but again Pickford was equal to the shot. Alderweireld sent a decent ball to Son on the left and his cross passed dangerously across the area.
At long last, Spurs took the lead after a deep cross by Kyle Walker which was headed back across goal by Dele Alli. Harry Kane finished with glee at the back post.
Dele Alli had a shot held after a pass across the penalty area by Eric Dier, but Sunderland were allowed to threaten after a loose Spurs ball in the middle. Watmore had replaced Pienaar and hit a dangerous cross that thankfully passed across the Spurs area. Sissoko had a shot go wide after good build-up play by Alli and Kane. Dembele slipped the ball to Dele Alli on his right, but his shot was well saved inside his left post by Pickford.
Dembele was replaced by Erik Lamela, which led to Dele Alli slipping back beside Wanyama. Lamela played in central midfield with Sissoko and Son remaining right and left respectively. Worryingly Eric Dier then had to go off and was replaced by Ben Davies, leading to Alderweireld and Vertonghen reverting to their usual positions.
Spurs continued to create chances, but they were not hitting the target enough. Kane had made a run down the left channel, and Alli had passed to Lamela on his right. Erik's shot passed wide across goal. Harry Kane had to go off, apparently with an ankle injury, and in fact he was stretchered around the pitch after Vincent Janssen replaced him. All three substitutions arose through injury, which is a worry in the longer term.
Sunderland had a late chance after Manquillo's cross, but Watmore headed wide. Manchester United loanee Adnan Januzaj had already been booked, but got a second yellow for his foul on Ben Davies. Spurs had to see out 6 minutes of added time, but actually finished on top with another Son shot winning a corner, which could not be taken before the final whistle.
Defeat leaves Sunderland in the bottom three, above bottom-placed Stoke only on goal difference. The three points are obviously welcome for Spurs, but they haven't been clinical enough this season, and need to improve their score ratio as the games get tougher.
Next up is a an EFL Cup game against Gillingham, when I expect we will see more changes. After that we travel to the north-east to meet promoted Middlesbrough.
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