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Sunderland v Spurs, 31.01.17

(7.45 PM)

Attendance:- 40,058

Referee: Lee Mason
Assistants: S Beck, A Halliday
Fourth official: C Pawson

Sunderland (3-5-2):- Mannone; Kone, O’Shea (Capt.), Denayer; Jones, Ndong, Rodwell, Larsson, Manquillo; Borini (sub Honeyman, 72), Defoe

Subs not used; Mika; Lescott, Love; Gooch, Pienaar, Januzaj

Booked:- Rodwell (foul on Dembele), Manquillo (foul on Wanyama)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Vorm; Walker, Dier, Alderweireld, Rose (sub Davies, 38); Wanyama, Dembele (sub Janssen, 85); Son (sub Sissoko, 73), Eriksen, Alli; Kane (Capt.)

Subs not used:- Pau Lopez; Wimmer, Carter-Vickers; Winks

No bookings

Move along now! Not a lot happened here!

Spurs dominated possession but created few chances. Sunderland showed scarce little interest in attack with Borini and Defoe getting just a sniff a couple of times in the first half. David Moyes lined his men up in a defensive barrage and succeeded in getting a point that at least lifted the “Black Cats” off the bottom for the night. Apart from the two front runners, who waited for the occasional long ball the rest of Sunderland’s team simply got behind the ball and frustrated a Spurs side that showed little invention. I could stop writing now, as so little happened. The result (our first 0-0 draw since at Bournemouth in October) feels like a disappointment, but the solitary point enabled us to reclaim second place above Arsenal on goal difference. The Gooners lost at home to Watford. That feels good! Liverpool and Chelsea drew at Anfield, so whilst both sides lost points, we failed to take advantage. That is a disappointment.

Hugo Lloris missed his first Premier League game since the second and third of the season. He didn’t travel due to “illness”. Michel Vorm was rarely bothered, as the home side managed just one shot on target. Mind you, Spurs only managed three. The game was somewhat attritional for the fans, who had little to cheer or excite them. Spurs fans had turned up en masse for this mid-week trip to a north-east outpost, helped by the provision of a chartered train. Eric Dier played on the right of Toby Alderweireld between Walker and Rose, with all our available first choice players returning after their rest on Saturday.

Danny Rose won a corner after 5 minutes. This was taken by Eriksen and in their efforts to clear Denayer lost the ball to Harry Kane who hit a return cross, which also gave us a corner. Spurs were in control and virtually camped in the Sunderland half, but just could not penetrate. The home side strategy was disclosed when Defoe caused problems in the spurs area, chasing a long ball, winning a corner.

It was a long time before anything resembling excitement took place, but after 17 minutes Wanyama and Rose worked hard and combined well on the left before Danny hit a hard cross, which was picked up by Mannone in goal. On the other side of the box Eriksen, Son and Walker combined to try and find a way round and through that barrage, but Kyle Walker just ran out of pitch and the ball ran out of play. These, dear reader, are the exciting bits, I assure you!

For me Dembele and Wanyama were our best players on the night, for their midfield graft. “Doctor” Dembele won acclaim from the travelling fans several times for his ability to winkle out of tight situations with the ball.

Defoe and Borini attacked another long ball out of defence and Borini did test Vorm with a shot on target, but it was an easy hold for the keeper. Wanyama gave Mannone his one real test of the first half after a Spurs corner and a cross by Danny Rose. Victor hit a shot which the keeper had to push around his right post for another Spurs corner. Dembele grafted and forced his way into the right side of the box presenting a chance for Son, which was not taken. Son had another chance from a good ball from deeper by Dembele. As the South Korean chased and reached the ball he looked to the assistant, and the check for an offside flag (not shown) was enough to actually put himself off his chance. Such hesitation took the chance away.

Rodwell was lucky to escape with a yellow card for his scything knee high challenge upon Dembele, who might never have fully recovered from that tackle, but he did carry on. Danny Rose was suffering and needed treatment after a challenge in which he had conceded a free kick and had to be replaced by Ben Davies. Eriksen led a break by Spurs and he too showed indecision when a pass was available to his left. Son was offside when a pass was eventually made forward. Harry Kane failed to show much on the night, but he did give Son another opportunity with a quick ball, but once again Son failed to seize the opportunity.

Kyle Walker and Seb Larsson had a clash of heads but both were able to carry on.

It had been a wet and murky day in Sunderland and the rain seemed to become more persistent in the second half. Clever play by Dele Alli gave Son another half-chance, but this also came to nought. Eriksen won a corner on the right which he took and following that Harry Kane hit a shot from the back of the box, which was deflected for another corner. Goalkeeper Mannone was able to comfortably hold an Eriksen free kick after 54 minutes. Dembele sent Son away on the left, but his effort was also easy for the keeper. Dembele passed outside to Davies after 62 minutes, and his deep cross went all the way to Kyle Walker on the other side. Walker’s shot/cross won another corner. Form a second corner, Son crossed from the left and Wanyama had a good headed chance which he put over from quite close range.

The game actually became stretched for just a brief moment after 68 minutes, before Sunderland’s discipline was re-imposed at the back. Walker hit a cross from which Dele Alli had a chance deflected for a corner, before Moyes made his one substitution replacing Borini with 22 year old midfielder George Honeyman. For Spurs Son was replaced by Sissoko, who inevitably got resounding boos every time he touched the ball, as a former Newcastle player.

Wanyama had another chance at the back of the area after a deep cross from the left. Eriksen also had a chance after 84 minutes, but his shot was poor again and easy for Mannone. Dembele was replaced by Janssen, but he hardy got a touch in the time remaining. Wanyama seemed to get away with a foul deep on the Spurs left side, and this led to a quick attack with Davies getting forward and having a shot, which passed well wide. In the two minutes of added time, after a corner by Eriksen from the right, Eric Dier met the ball at the near post, but headed over.

Spurs will need to show more invention and sharpness on Saturday tea-time when another struggling north-east side – Middlesbrough – come to town. No doubt Karanka’s men will also be seeking to frustrate us.

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