Premier League | Fresh Spurs - Part 4

Premier League

Player Ratings: Spurs 3-1 Aston Villa

I think we can all admit that this wasn’t the best of games, but at least we got the job done in the end. Goals from Moussa Dembele, Dele Alli and Harry Kane gave Spurs the 3-1 victory to stretch our unbeaten run to 10. It is quite hard to believe, but we are second in the form table, only to Arsenal, who we face next week. You could probably describe this result as efficient rather than amazing, fast flowing football, and you know what, I loved it. Who was the best player, though? Let’s take a look at the ratings.

Hugo Lloris: 6

Not a bad performance, but not one of his best, to be perfectly honest. We may have got the victory, but Lloris had his fair share of unusual mistakes, for instance the missed punch against Gestede. At least we got the 3 points.

Kyle Walker: 7

A safe performance up until that shaky 10-minute period at the end. Slowly, but surely, Walker is getting better, and making myself eat my words. He has improved a lot defensively, and his pace will always be a threat going forward. I just want consistency!

Toby Alderweireld: 6

A simple, safe game from the Belgian, who is slowly showing his class in defence and on the ball. Just quality again from Toby. This guy is the kick up the backside that Jan Vertonghen needed to push himself just a bit further.

Jan Vertonghen: 6

At the risk of sounding lazy, Vertonghen and Alderweireld are actually having the exact same games now. I really wish there was more to say about him other than well done. I’m seriously enjoying this defensive partnership now.

Danny Rose: 7

Another great game on the left side from Danny Rose, who is slowly becoming one of our better attackers. Time and time again, on the left, he is running non-stop up and down, causing threats all the time. Maybe, just maybe, an England call up is on the cards?

Eric Dier: 7

Another class performance from the transformer of the side. Why is he called the transformer? Well, the fact that he transformed his position to be one of the best defensive midfielders in the league, and also, because he transforms defence into attack. Like it? I had all game to come up with that one!

Dele Alli: 8

I do like to see a boy from Milton Keynes do well, especially for my Tottenham Hotspur, and this lad has a big future ahead of him. Along with his goal, he put in an accomplished performance, and some good touches. Big, big things expected from this lad now.

Erik Lamela: 8

I’m about to admit that I am wrong. Erik Lamela is a good player, and his season has been superb so far. Now, I don’t want to jinx anything, but he could become a key part of our eleven.

Mousa Dembele: 8

Opening the game with a goal after two minutes, Dembele played a great game, something we have all been waiting for, but similarly to Walker, all I ask for is some consistency!

Christian Eriksen: 8

A quieter game than usual, but Eriksen still managed to have a good game on the left, and in the first half, allowed Rose to go forward at will. One of our best players this season, and I can imagine him playing a huge role this campaign.

Harry Kane: 8

Following on from his hat-trick from last week, Kane scored once more at the Lane, and simply put, goals feel better when Kane bangs them in!

Is Achieving A Top Four Finish Finally A Realistic Target?

It’s something that we didn’t really expect this season, as many fans will probably admit. We all felt like we didn’t do enough business in the transfer window, and the players weren’t strong enough for the challenge, but my have these boys proved us (slightly) wrong already.

At the time of writing, Spurs are sitting in 6th position, three points off of the 4th place, which we have been coveting for so long. Manchester United are the side that occupies the 4th position, and they haven’t exactly been amazing but they have certainly been efficient. When you look at the next few fixtures for us, it is a huge month, probably the biggest of the season, and if we come out of the period with maximum points, then we cannot be ignored in the top four race.

Let’s start with Monday evening, when Aston Villa pays a visit to White Hart Lane, possibly with a new manager in charge. Let’s say that manager is Reme Garde, and the players want to make an impact, but Spurs grab the three points. That could possibly place us 4th in the league if things go our way, right before three massive London derbies.

Arsenal, West Ham and Chelsea make up our November fixtures, and let’s say, hypothetically, we win all three games. Nine points against two of the top form teams in the league would make teams stand up and take notice. Chelsea’s blip shows no signs of stopping, whilst Leicester and West Ham may lose their momentum soon, meaning there will be spaces in the table open to the teams around the top.

Most will expect that Manchester United and Manchester City, along with Arsenal to be at the top of the tree, but once West Ham and Leicester fall away, and if Chelsea don’t improve, it will be between ourselves and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool to fight out for the final Champions League spot, and from what we’ve seen so far, we have to be favourites.

Liverpool are still to pick up a league victory under the German, whilst Spurs thrashed and simply outclassed Bournemouth 1-5 at Dean Court, with our boy Harry Kane grabbing a hat trick, and Cristian Eriksen being faultless on the ball. It was amazing to see how easily we scored five goals, and how we took the game by the scruff of the neck and controlled it after falling behind.

If we keep this up, and if we manage to keep our fitness levels going all season, I have every reason to believe that we may strike gold come May.

Player Ratings: Bournemouth 1-1 Spurs

Despite going 1-0 behind less than a minute into the match, Spurs were still able to put on a show for the travelling fans that made the trip to Bournemouth. Harry Kane bagged a hat-trick in an impressive 5-1 win. Here are our player ratings.

Hugo Lloris (3.5/5)- Had a nervy moment in the first half but got away with it under pressure. Delt with whatever came his way comfortably.

Kyle Walker- (4/5)- Good, solid performance. Defended well and finally looks to be upping his game to a consistently high level.

Toby Alderweireld (4/5)- One of the best signings we’ve made in recent years. Composed as ever and led the defence’s recovery from the early setback.

Jan Vertonghen (4/5)- His partnership with Toby is a defensive force to behold. Untroubled for the majority and picked his teammates out well.

Danny Rose (3/5)- Never had full control over Ritchie and picked up a booking. A decent outlet at the other end though.

Eric Dier (4/5)- Class. Again. Protected the defence well and his ability and calmness on the ball was there for all to see.

Dele Alli (4/5)- Alli continues to look like he’s been in this league for years. Pressed high and worked as hard as anyone, but had the calmness and class on the ball to go with it. His nutmeg count continues to rise.

Mousa Dembele (4/5)- There is no doubting the Belgians talent, and for the second league match in a row he was one of the best on the pitch. A performance full of clever passing and strength on the ball. Tidy finish for his goal.

Erik Lamela (3.5/5)- Oh so slowly, but oh so surely. The Argentine is improving. Not quite as good as his teammates but still showed some delightful touches and was in the right place to get his goal. His Spurs career was on the brink this summer, and he’s responded.

Christian Eriksen (4.5/5)- A joy to watch at times. The passing, the vision, the workrate, it was all there. His pass led to the penalty and his stunning cross led to Kane’s second. Denied a superb goal of his own by the post. In this mood, in this form, there are few better in the league. Back to his best.

Harry Kane (5/5)- Is he back? Maybe a little too early to say Harry Kane has hit the heights of last season but he’s well on his way based on this performance. Added a killer instinct to his usual hard work and his hatrick will be as much a relief to him as it is to the fans. Showed his calmness from the spot, and his predatory instinct for the following goals.

Subs

Ryan Mason (3.5/5)- Good to see him back. Settled into the game quickly and kept the ball ticking over nicely

N’jie and Trippier N/A

Player Ratings: Spurs 0-0 Liverpool

After a 0-0 draw at home to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, Tom Scholes takes a look at some of the Tottenham players who played the best, and some who weren’t quite as good.

Hugo Lloris: 3.5/5

It was a type of game for Lloris where he had to keep his focus every minute, as the lack of action meant that Hugo was rarely called upon. But when the Frenchman was called upon, he reacted well, whether it be sweeping up at the back or stopping the shots.

Kyle Walker: 3/5

Still an unconvincing performance from Walker once again, but at least he didn’t make any game threatening errors. Clearly the quickest defender we have, his pace is an important asset when a ball over the top comes in.

Jan Vertonghen: 3.5/5

Another great display at the back for the Belgian, who is so good on the ball he could probably play in central midfield. A clean sheet once more is a great sign that our defense is one of the best we have had in years. His partnership with Toby Alderweireld is potentially one of the best in the Premier League

Toby Alderweireld: 3.5/5

Exactly same as Vertonghen, as these two are quite simply fantastic together at the back. Not much more to say than that, but he can be a great player in terms of passing and aerial threats.

Danny Rose: 3.5/5

It may be worth giving Rose a run on the left hand side of the attack rather than at the back, because his ability to go forward is astounding, and his pace is such a threat to the opposition. Not a bad game today, but he could maybe have been just a slither better.

Mousa Dembele: 4/5

What a player this lad can be! The way that he moved on the ball, and how he broke up play has probably given Mauricio Pochettino a huge selection headache for future games. It’s not often that I agree with Michael Owen, but it’s hard to argue with his Man of the Match award.

Dele Alli: 3/5-

An average performance today, but not in a bad sense, because the boy from Milton Keynes didn’t really do anything wrong. His passing is still on point, and he never looks intimidated by the opposition.

Nacer Chadli/ Clinton N’jie: 3/5

With Chadli going off early on, N’jie was given the task of attacking down the left hand side. Sadly, the opportunity seemed to just pass him by. I didn’t dislike the performance today, but you could clearly tell that he may be more comfortable and effective in a more central role.

Christian Eriksen: 3.5/5

Again, Eriksen didn’t do much in terms of changing the game, but he was always a threat. Coming off the back of two goals away to Swansea, a lot was expected from the Dane, but unfortunately, he couldn’t produce. Mind you, he still played better than Coutinho.

Erik Lamela: 3/5

I don’t know about you, but did Lamela seem to only give away fouls today? Very quiet, but he is looking a lot more confident when on the ball, and that is always a good thing to see. Put that down to Pochettino and his style of man management.

Harry Kane: 3.5/5

Not a spectacular performance, but there were encouraging signs. No goal, a couple of chances, overall a good outing. Not much to talk about with Kane, other than he is starting to be more than just goals for Tottenham.

Player Ratings: Spurs 4-1 Manchester City

What a game, what a performance, and what a way to start the weekend! Not many of us could have predicted the score line and the performance of Tottenham today, who fielded the youngest starting eleven in the Premier League this season so far. I, for one, found it hard to find faults individually with the team today, so here are the Tottenham Hotspur player ratings, and if you don’t agree with any ratings, remember to let us know.

Hugo Lloris- 7

As I noted in “Three key players for Spurs against Manchester City”, Lloris was very important in our victory today. He kept the defense solid, and when he was called upon at set pieces and even with shot stopping, he dealt with it with ease. Not only was his performance fantastic, but his leadership at the back is providing us with some great solidity, and giving us a voice in vital areas.

Kyle Walker- 6:

Not a great performance from Walker, but not a bad one either, so I guess you can say he was above average, which is exactly what Walker needed. Despite giving the ball away prior to the City opener (I know Eriksen played a part in that too), Walker recovered and, believe it or not, actually defended well. Let’s hope that this can be a springboard.

Toby Alderweireld- 8:

Grabbing a goal, and being so solid at the back, Alderweireld is slowly looking like the best buy of the summer for Tottenham. His partnership at the back with Jan Vertonghen is superb, and Alderweireld provides Spurs with confidence in the central position. Let’s not forget that he got on the score sheet too with a rising header to give us the lead!

Jan Vertonghen-7:

Very similar to Alderweireld, Vertonghen is looking like a new player as his partnership at the back is looking superb. Calm play, combined with safe defensive play is making him look like one of the Premier League’s best. Not much more to say about these two really except from the fact this (potentially) could be the best partnership we had since King and Dawson at the back.

Ben Davies-6:

Very quiet in terms of attacking, but Davies was solid when called upon, likewise with everyone else at the back. Davies has been keeping Danny Rose out of the side, and for good reason. He may not be as attacking as Rose, but he is quality nonetheless.

Dele Alli-7:

Yet another stellar performance from the man from Milton Keynes, as he showed he can handle himself in midfield against Yaya Toure, Fernando and Fernandinho. For someone so young, he seems like he has an experienced footballing brain, but the only blot on his performance today is the fact he picked up another booking.

Eric Dier- 9: (Man of the Match)

What a change Dier has gone through this season! Expected to be frozen out of the side as the center back position was chocked full, he must have done something to give Pochettino the idea to play him at holding midfield, and he is playing magnificently. Winning tackles, breaking up play and setting the attackers off with simple and controlled passing, as well as firing home like he did today, Dier is looking superb in recent weeks, with this week being another high point for the former Lisbon man.

Erik Lamela- 8:

The Michael Owen Man of the Match, Lamela played really well today, even scoring the 4th goal, and the relief could be felt all around the stadium when you saw the smile on his face. He chased lost causes and he tried his hardest to create chances for the team, and whilst I gave the Man of the Match to Dier, I won’t argue the decision from Michael Owen (for once).

Christian Eriksen- 6:

A little bit off the pace today after starting in mid week, Eriksen could have played a lot better, but he nearly scored from his free kick which was eventually turned home by Harry Kane. He didn’t effect the game as much as he could have, but he certainly didn’t hide from the ball, and tried to create and to score. When the Dane gets to full fitness, expect to see him have a huge impact on games.

Heung Min Son- 7:

After his great start to life at Spurs, Son would have grabbed another if it wasn’t for the one time the linesman got an offside call correct. He played similarly to Lamela in terms of chasing the City players, and trying hard to get the ball forward and in the goal, but Son put his heart and Seoul into this performance (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Harry Kane-8:

Finally, our boy got off the mark for the season, and what a feeling! He finished a hard chance following Eriksen’s free kick, but not only the goal, but the performance as a whole was great, with the attack pressing together and moving together as a unit. It was great to watch, and what was even better was seeing the face of the fans, the players, and most importantly, of Kane himself after firing home to give the 3-1 lead at the time.

Three Players Key To Tottenham If They Are To Beat Manchester City

After our North London Derby loss to the Arsenal, Tottenham will want to return to winning ways against top of the table Manchester City. As unlikely as a victory may seem, anything can happen in football, and Mauricio Pochettino will want to get the best out of the squad in this weekend’s early kick off.

But who are the players who could really damage the leaders, and who are the players who could make a serious impact this weekend?

1) Dele Alli

Ever since he signed from the MK Dons, Dele Alli has played superbly for Tottenham, and a good performance against Manchester City can only boost his claims for a spot In the England squad. Adapting well in the Premier League, it will be good for him to be able to test himself out against players like David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne and Yaya Toure, to see what he’s like when he faces the big boys of English football.

2) Hugo Lloris:

Our captain is going to need to be on top of his game this Saturday if he wants another Premier League clean sheet. Hugo is consistently our best performer, and this season has been no different, but the challenge of the City attack will be a big test for the Frenchman, who doesn’t have the best of records against the Sky Blues.

If he can keep Sergio Aguero at bay, that may open up doors for us on the counter, or even boost confidence levels.

3) Harry Kane:

He was so close to opening his account for the season on Wednesday, but Harry Kane is still searching for his first goal of the season, and what better time to get it in the league than at the Etihad. If Vincent Kompany misses out for City, then Kane may fancy himself up against a City defence who look rather lost when their captain doesn’t play.

Either Kane will play out of his skin against Mangala and Otamendi, or those two will suddenly adapt to English football, leaving Spurs hopeless in attack, but personally I can see Kane, with the help of Son, being a threat throughout against Manchester City.

Player Ratings: Spurs 1-0 Crystal Palace

Tottenham made it three wins in three in all competitions ahead of the North London derby with Arsenal in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday. A solitary goal from Heung-Min Son was enough to see off Crystal Palace and here are our player ratings.

Lloris (4.5/5)- Composed, confident, and didn’t put a foot wrong. Made a good stop from a Sako free kick before denying Sako superbly in a key second half period. His fingertip stop would prove to be vital as we scored mere minutes later. Truly one of the best around.

Walker (3.5/5)- Did his job in defence and never really looked troubled. Dealt comfortably with Zaha but was lucky to get away with giving the ball away which eventually led to Palace hitting the post

Alderweireld (4/5)- Himself and Jan look to be building an incredibly strong partnership at the back. Confident on the ball, hitting some superb diagonals, and dealt with whatever was thrown at him with ease.

Vertonghen (4/5)- Barely put a foot wrong. One marauding run forward summed up his confidence and with Toby alongside him, he finally looks to be returning to the form we saw in his first season at the club.

Davies (3.5/5)- Good on the ball and untroubled. Kept his place above Rose who was poor midweek and was unlucky to see what would have been his first goal for the club ruled out for offside.

Dier (4/5)- Pochettino appears to have pulled of a master stroke with Dier’s positional change. Dealt with Puncheon with ease and provided exceptional defensive cover.

Alli (4/5)- Looks like he’s been playing in the Premier League for years. Always looking for the ball and always looking to do something positive with it. Has dealt with the step up with ease. He and Dier won the midfield battle with Cabaye and McArthur.

Lamela (3.5/5)- Justified his start. Tested the goalkeeper several times with a decent shot in the first half and a well struck free kick in the second. Some lapses in concentration but he was superb in the build up to the goal, outmuscling Cabaye with ease on the edge of our box and setting Eriksen away.

Son (4.5/5)- Has made a superb start to life in North London. Followed up his European double in midweek with the winning goal in the 68th minute. Was energetic and dangerous all day long , running himself into the ground for his new team. Deserved his ovation

Chadli (3/5)- Better than last week from the Belgian. Some good moments on the ball and some good passes to set up chances for others.

Kane (3/5)- You get the sense that he’s trying to hard. Needs to go back to acting on instinct and the goals will come flowing back. Missed a presentable first half header but as always worked hard.

Substitutes

Eriksen (4/5)- Oh how we’ve missed him. Provided the immediate assist within minutes of coming on and added a new level of class to the attack. He and Son in the same team is a very dangerous proposition indeed.

N’jie (N/A)- Got a ten minute run out and buzzed around without much impact.

Player Ratings: Sunderland 0-1 Spurs

Finally Tottenham can celebrate their first win of the season just over a month since the season began. A late, but great Ryan Mason goal gave us a much-needed win after a loss and three draws. Here are the player ratings.

Hugo Lloris (3.5/5)- Massively untroubled. Dealt with whatever came his way and kept a second consecutive clean sheet.

Kyle Walker (3.5/5)- Had a battle on his hands vs Lens at times but held his own and grew into the game as an attacking force.

Jan Vertonghen (4/5)- Incredibly solid. Despite picking up a yellow card he was commanding and kept his cool well when Lens broke through in the second half.

Toby Alderwiereld (3/5)-Not quite as impressive as his centre back partner. Never looked comfortable dealing with an incredible lively Defoe.

Ben Davies (3.5/5)- As we usually see from the Welshman, solid and dependable on the ball but not a massive attacking threat. The pace of Rose is missed.

Eric Dier (4.5)- Superb performance from the man who’s had a great week, having signed a new contract in the week. Passed the ball well and was convincing and impressive in his tackling. Growing into the CDM role.

Ryan Mason (4/5)- Also very impressive. Played some incisive passes and worked hard. Superb finish for our much needed winning goal, chipping the ball delicately into the net.

Nacer Chadli (1.5/5)- Quite simply a terrible performance from the Belgian. Invisible in the first half and when he did get involved, it certainly wasn’t positive, as he blazed several chances from good positions over. Needs to up his performance level.

Dele Alli (3.5/5)- Started the game off with a neat nutmeg which is becoming something of a trait. Good on the ball and put himself about. A solid performance on his first ever premier league start.

Son (3/5)- Some neat touches and decent set piece delivery, but on the whole is was a quiet afternoon for our new man. Much more to come from him.

Harry Kane (2/5)- A real struggle for last seasons main man. His touch was poor along with his dribbling, and his mishit of a decent second half chance summed his afternoon up. Needs a goal in a spurs shirt sooner rather than later.

Subs

Andros Townsend (4/5)- Changed the game, injecting pace and energy into our attack. Found joy on the right flank as he raced past his marker time and again.

Erik Lamela (4/5)- The Argentine needed this. Added some urgency to a lacklustre attack and played the incisive through ball for our winner. With many close to giving up on him, he took his chance today. But he still needs to do so much more.

Tottenham’s Slow Start Could Cost Them In The Race For European Football

Three draws and a loss in Tottenham’s opening four fixtures leaves them languishing a fair distance from where a club of Tottenham’s size should be. A disappointing start to say the least. But all teams have bad starts to campaigns every so often, right? Yes, of course, take Chelsea this year for example. However, it was more important than you may think that the Lilywhites got their season off to the best of possible starts.

Now we have endured the mildly boring first international break of the season, Spurs return to action on Sunday against Sunderland at the Stadium Of Light. They will be travelling to Wearside with high hopes of coming home with three points, and their first win of the season.

However, although we can only focus on the next game which is at Sunderland, you cant help but look further into September at our fixture list, and take a guess at what campaign begins? Yes, the Europa League!

The annual tournament has brought Spurs nothing but bad luck, and although we have picked up the wins required to progress through the knockout stage, Europe’s secondary competition has had an awful effect on our form in the Premier League.

Games against Crystal Palace (H), Swansea (A), Bournemouth (A), Arsenal (A), Chelsea (H) and Swansea (A) all proceed Europa League group games, and a couple that jump out at you are Arsenal away and Chelsea at home, teams that we need to be challenging if we want to achieve our ultimate goal, a finish in the top four, although I am unconvinced from our showings so far that we anywhere near close to making it.

The loss to Manchester United on the opening day was an easy one to accept, and I was still feeling relatively positive after the opening day defeat. However, the 2-2 draw against Stoke was a bitter pill to swallow, and a match that we should be closing out and winning after taking a 2-0 lead.

The draw away at the King Power Stadium was also a little hard to take after conceding an equaliser barely a minute after Dele Alli’s first Premier League goal. And as for the game against Everton, it was a little frustrating to watch, another point on the board.

Due to the Europa League’s effect on Premier League form, it was crucial that Mauricio Pochettino’s men made a solid start to the new season, and three points from four games is hardly the perfect start.

Can Tottenham beat Sunderland on Sunday and go on to beat the curse of the Europa League?

Can Tottenham Kick-Start Their Season At Sunderland?

The opening day defeat at Manchester United, followed by three consecutive draws against teams that some fans would expect us to beat, has culminated in a less than inspiring start to the 2015/2016 season for Tottenham. Slow starts is something that we have become accustom to over the years, but recording our first win of the season has to come sooner rather than later if we harbour any aspirations of challenging the big guns at the top. The international break will hopefully provide Mauricio Pochetino with plenty of thinking time to assess what area of Tottenham’s game can be improved, and also allow the new signings to settle into life in North London.

A significant increase in quality across the board in the Premier League means that there are no longer any easy games, but the upcoming trip to the North East to face a struggling Sunderland side presents a great opportunity for Spurs to register three points. These are the sort of games that we have to stop slipping up in, particularly if we take the lead as Tottenham have already drawn two games from winning positions this season. More importantly, putting three points on the board could provide the springboard and confidence boost that Tottenham need ahead of tough upcoming fixtures against Crystal Palace, Manchester City and Swansea.

Tottenham’s chances

History would suggest that Tottenham may struggle to come away from Wearside with a positive result, with only fourteen of the previous fifty-one trips to the North East resulting in a three point haul. However, history is there to be broken, and although both sides have not exactly started the season in the best of form, Coral certainly believe Spurs are considered favourites to win the game at 19/20. The odds would ultimately reflect that we should be too strong for a Sunderland side that appear no different to the side that barely held onto their Premier League status in May, but Tottenham have to deliver the sort of performance that many expect, make no doubt about it.

Coming up against a team that have already shipped ten goals in just four games is a great opportunity for Harry Kane to rediscover his shooting boots and become the striker that set White Hart Lane, and the Premier League, alight last season. It is just not happening for the lad so far this season, which was epitomised by the one-on-one opportunity he spurned against Everton; a fully-confident Kane would have tucked that away with consummate ease, but he needs to remember what made him so lethal in 2014/2015.

Going away on international duty with England may be the perfect tonic for Kane, with games against San Marino and Switzerland representing good opportunities for the 22-year-old to hit the goal trail again. He will also be helped by the acquisitions of Clinton N’Jie and Heung-Min Son who should take the weight off Kane’s shoulders to deliver upfront, although it remains to be seen if either start at the Stadium of Light alongside the Englishman. He may have been joined upfront by fellow international team-mate Saido Berahino, but West Brom’s resilience to sell their star asset on deadline day means that Spurs will have to wait another day to land their man in an on-going transfer dispute that we have undoubtedly not heard the last of.

Pochetino will be undoubtedly relieved to welcome Christian Eriksen and Andros Townsend back into the team at Sunderland, with both expected to be fit after recovering from a knee and ankle injury respectively. Both will undoubtedly inject more creative quality and flair into the midfield department, particularly Eriksen who is instrumental in how we tick under Pocchetino. The Dane may come in the team in place of Moussa Dembele who picked up an injury in the goal-less draw at the Lane against Everton and may not recover in time to face Sunderland.

The opposition

It can be difficult to read anything into the Premier League table after just four games, but if results and performances are anything to go by, then Sunderland could yet another season of struggle. Dick Advocaat may already be regretting his decision to take his wife’s advice and stay on at Sunderland instead of retiring, as he has already held crisis talks with the players and begged his chairman for more money to spend in the transfer window – not the best way to start a campaign by any stretch of the imagination. Adding Fabio Borino, who excelled during a loan spell at the Stadium of Light during the 2013/2014 season, to their ranks on deadline day certainly improves their firepower upfront, but their inability to add real quality to their defence has already proved dear. Former Spurs player Younes Kaboul has been part of a backline that looks capable of leaking goals and unable to keep a clean sheet; considering they have conceded at least three goals in all but two of their five fixtures this season (including the 6-3 Capital One Cup victory against League Two side Exeter), the Frenchman will not relish the prospect of facing his former club if he recovers from a knee injury in time.

Sunderland will require the same level of fighting spirit that saw them come from behind to draw against Swansea and Aston Villa in their last two Premier League fixtures, but it may need more than that for the Black Cats to fulfil their odds of 14/5 to beat Spurs. It remains to be seen if Borini is fit enough to start against us, but he is undoubtedly a dangerous striker that we must keep on eye on, while Jermaine Lens and Yann M’Vila have impressed in midfield so far this season. Advocaat, however, will definitely be without the services of Adam Johnson and Adam Matthews, while Jordi Gomez may not be risked as he continues to recover from a fractured knee injury.

Verdict

Cliché or not, the first goal could prove to be pivotal at the Stadium of Light, with Tottenham knowing that an early goal would deflate spirits in the stadium once again and result in the home fans getting on their team’s back. Sunderland fans have become increasingly frustrated and disillusioned at how their club have declined over the years, with the current team looking like potential relegation candidates. However, we have to ensure we go to the Stadium of Light and put in a professional performance, ensuring the complacency that has cost us so many times in the past does not rear its ugly head again. With tough fixtures coming up, it has to be valued as a game that Tottenham must win.