BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
MONDAY 7th APRIL, 2014
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 5(1) SUNDERLAND 1(1)
Adebayor, 28, 86
Referee:- Lee Mason
Assistants:- S. Bennett & I. Dissin
Fourth official:- Mike Dean
Spurs (4-4-2):- Lloris; Naughton, Chiriches, Kaboul (Capt.), Rose; Lennon (sub Townsend, 84), Chadli(sub Sigurdsson, 82), Paulinho (sub Veljkovic, 88), Eriksen; Adebayor, Kane
Subs not used:- Friedel; Fryers; Sandro, Bentaleb
Sunderland (3-5-2):- Mannone; Vergini, Cuellar (sub Gardner, 72), Brown (Capt.); Bardsley, Cattermole (sub Scocco, 72), Bridcutt, Ki Sung-Yeung, Alonso; Johnson, Borini
Subs not used:- Ustari; O'Shea; Larsson, Colback; Wickham
Booked:- Alonso (foul on Lennon), Cattermole (foul on Kane)
Panto start, but then Spurs go "Nap"
On the day that we heard of the passing of Mickey Rooney, aged 93, who only 5 or 6 years ago played pantomime in Sunderland, Spurs made yet another panto-style defensive error to give Sunderland a one goal start, with a goal by the man everybody (except Sunderland fans) loves to hate - Lee Cattermole.
I wouldn't call it a five-star performance, but Spurs did go on to score five goals (for the first time in the Premier League since playing Newcastle in February 2012) against a Sunderland side that simply lost heart towards the end of the game, and flagged badly. Gus Poyet admitted after the game that his team needs four wins in their remaining seven games. Bearing in mind the fact that his team haven't managed one win in their last seven games, Poyet seemed to be holding his hands up to an inevitable relegation.
As for Spurs, the win puts them back above Manchester United, and still in the hunt for European football of some nature. There was a story being run by Sky Sports News and Talk Sport today suggesting that Spurs manager Tim Sherwood would be on his way out sooner than we thought. That story has been denied, as I understand it by the club, and described by Sky employee Gary Neville as "media terrorism".
Sherwood attracted criticism from many for his team selection, which once again included no defensive midfielder, and which left Sandro on the bench, with Bentaleb, amongst others.
Sherwood opted for a 4-4-2, knowing that Poyet would be flooding the midfield. Sky had suggested that Sunderland would be lining up in a 5-3-2, but their default was 3-5-2, with the wing backs Bardsley and Alonso falling back whenever their side was defending. That was the situation for most of the game, with Spurs dominating possession, and having no less than 29 attempts on goal.
There were plenty of empty seats in the stadium for a game which was obviously difficult for far-flung fans to attend, especially those making the journey from Wearside. A number of seats around me were occupied by different faces, and I suspect that Stubhub had been utilised by many season ticket holders.
Eriksen nominally played on the left flank, but he had freedom across the field, and often turned up on the right, or directly supporting the strikers. He was literally everywhere, and was a convincing man of the match. An early cross/shot by Eriksen from the right was tipped over by Mannone at the expense of a corner.
Soon after that, Eriksen and Paulinho combined well down the left channel, before Danny Rose had the ball in an advanced position. Rose's cross was woefully deep. It was after a foul by Rose at the other end that Sunderland came close. Adam Johnson floated in a free kick, and Wes Brown's header passed the outside of Lloris's left post by a whisker.
Soon after that, Spurs contrived to give the visitors that one goal start. Lloris had cleared the ball short to the right side of defence, and it was Chiriches who made the suicidal pass inside, back across the area, that missed its intended recipient, Kaboul, falling into the lap of the advancing Cattermole, who gleefully hit a low drive just inside the same post where Brown had missed.
The pantomime villain raced back to his own half and his own fans to celebrate, but he would give Spurs fans reason to boo before the end of the half.
Thereafter, it was virtually one-way traffic. A Rose cross was beaten out to Chadli, whose pass fell to the feet of Harry Kane, whose effort was saved by Mannone. Adebayor was more often than not to be found on either flank, when one would have liked him in the middle, but he was certainly working his socks off for the cause, and would ultimately be rewarded with two of the easiest goals he will ever score.
It was a while before we equalised though. Eriksen took a free kick from the right wing, and the ball was sent inside to Naughton, whose shot had a little swerve on it, and ended up only just outside Mannone's left post.
Kane had an effort blocked from another cross from the right. Lennon followed up and fed the ball to Adebayor, who fired over. Lennon showed us his industrious mode tonight, helping out defensively as well as in attack.
Boroni had a shot pushed out for a corner, after Cattermole's pass, before Spurs equalised in the 28th minute. It was an Eriksen cross from the left, near the bye-line that reached Adebayor at the back post, scoring off his thigh.
Chadli intercepted a loose midfield ball, and passed to Lennon on the right side. Lennon fed Kane, who had a shot on target, but it was easy for Mannone to hold. Danny Rose had a good effort, with a left foot swinger that just curved away from the far post.
Eriksen and Paulinho had a well worked move down the right side, but Sunderland defended well against Adebayor. Cattermole got those boos for a clattering foul on Harry Kane, just outside the box, and he also got a yellow card from referee Lee Mason, who let quite a bit go tonight. Mr. Mason did try to let the game flow though.
Sunderland did dominate possession in the early stages of the second half, and when Chadli failed in the middle, it gave Johnson a chance, but he fired his shot the wrong side of the post.
Harry Kane went down under pressure from two or three defenders, chiefly Phil Bardsley, but got a corner, not a penalty. Paulinho and Adebayor showed skill on the right, but the final shot was blocked. Naughton and Lennon supplied Eriksen from the right right, but he too had an effort blocked.
Spurs took a deserved lead in the 59th minute after more good work by Eriksen on the left flank. The Dane curled a lovely ball into the danger area, and Harry Kane was there to prod the ball home for his first Premier League goal.
Kane was then involved in a collision with Wes Brown, which must have been a severe clash of heads, as it caused some delay. Ultimately, Kane played the rest of the game with a head bandage. It looked as if Brown was going to be stretchered off, but he managed to walk off, after the medics threatened him with oxygen! Brown carried on, with a different shirt, but who knows how badly he had been affected? Poyet did have John O'Shea on the bench, but did not feel the need to use him.
Naughton and Chadli combined in a good move down the right flank, feeding Eriksen, who in turn passed the ball back to Chadli, whose shot was deflected and went for a corner.
Poyet made a double substitution, and whilst they did have an early chance when Borini passed back to substitute Scocco, whose shot hit the side netting, causing false excitement amongst the "Mackems"
The game was secured for Spurs in the 78th minute when Chadli fed the ball to Eriksen on the inside left channel. Eriksen picked his spot carefully, and drilled an excellent and accurate low shot through a sea of legs into the net at the far post. The ball might have taken a slight deflection, but it will be Eriksen's goal, even after the goals panel examine the evidence.
Having scored, Harry Kane was visibly gaining confidence by the minute, taking on defenders, and succeeding in getting through. He had a shot saved, as did Adebayor.
Sigurdsson replaced Chadli, whilst Townsend took over from Lennon. Spurs went 4-1 up as Sunderland struggled to properly defend against Kane, whose shot went under the keeper, and might have rolled into the goal. Adebayor wasn't going to allow any doubt and scored his second goal of the game.
Now Milos Veljkovic, who has been an unused sub for a number of games, was allowed a debut, replacing Paulinho for the closing stages. In added time, Eriksen took a free kick near the corner flag on the left. There were several passes by Spurs at the back post, including Adebayor and Kaboul, before the ball fell to Sigurdsson in the middle, hitting the ball firmly into the net for our most convincing League win of the season.
Sunderland might not like Mondays (they haven't won such a game for 12 years), but we most certainly liked this one.
It's a big if, but if we were to win our last five games, then we would even beat last season's record Premier League points total. In the context of this year's Premier League though, even that would not be likely to get us into the top four, would it?
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