Sunderland (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 3rd April 2010

Just a quick preview I am afraid as Easter is upon us and other things are currently taking up my time.

Spurs will be missing quite a few injured players and those who take part might have it in the back of their mind that there is an FA Cup semi-final next week.  So will this affect the chase for fourth place ?  It shouldn't, but you never know.

With Jermain Defoe returning from his hamstring pull, but liable to be on the bench to start with, Spurs will have a full complement up front, with Gudjohnsen and Pavlyuchenko vying to partner Crouch as the target man.  Midfield will be a little lightweight without Palacios, Huddlestone and Jenas, so it will need a concerted effort from Bentley/Kranjcar/Modric/Bale to equal the likes of Malbranque/Cattermole/Richardson/David Mayler/Lorik Cana/Henderson, although Andy Reid is out with a hamstring problem.  All the five who might be chosen are combative in one way or another, although Malbranque and Richardson are there more for their creativity.

With six players in the Sunderland side who used to play for us, there will be a fair amount of point-proving taking place and keeper Marton Fulop is likely to start as a sub, Alan Hutton can't play against us, as he is on loan and the Premier League rules won't allow him to take part while Reid's absence means one less former Spur on the pitch.  Steed Malbranque is a hard-working midfielder and has a good awareness of where other players are, while strikers Darren Bent and Frazier Campbell have had the opportunity to renew their partnership forged at White Hart Lane. If Steve Bruce gets his way he wants to take even more Spurs players to the Stadium of Light in the summer, so it is a never-ending surprise when he hits out at Tottenham and the way we play.  Perhaps he thinks he can do better with the Spurs cast-offs ?

With Bardsley having to take Hutton's place, Spurs might find joy on the Sunderland right, as Bruce was saying how better it has been with Hutton there.  With Dawson missing, there may be an issue with the middle of our defence to repel Bent and Campbell or Kenwyne Jones, if he is selected, although the Trinidad and Tobago striker is not one of Bruce's favourites.  Kaboul might well partner Bassong in the middle of the back four, but Kyle Walker's pace will be a useful weapon to counter any break-aways by the home side.  Da Silva is probably going to play in the middle of the defence alongside Michael Turner, who has had a few hairy moments for his new club, with others who might be involved including winger Zenden and striker Benjani.

Spurs will have to beat Craig Gordon in the Sunderland goal and he is a very accomplished keeper, with a good reputation for shot-stopping and he has been in good form lately.  With our attack, they should be creating enough chances to test the Scotland keeper fully, but breaking through the midfield might be a tougher task.

For that reason and because of the players we have missing, I will go for a repeat of last season's result ...

PREDICTION : -  Sunderland  1     Tottenham Hotspur   1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


SUNDERLAND :  -  Andy Reid (out - hamstring); George McCartney (out - hamstring); Alan Hutton (out - ineligible as loaned from Tottenham); John Mensah (doubtful - knee); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Ledley King (out - thigh); Carlo Cudicini (out - hip and wrists); Jermaine Jenas (out - groin); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); David Bentley (out - hip); Tom Huddlestone (out - ankle); Michael Dawson (out - Achilles); Wilson Palacios (out - aductor muscle); - (-); 


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Sunderland   3   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 2-0)

Premier League
Venue : -  Stadium of Light
Saturday 3rd April 2010
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   43,184
Referee :  Lee Mason (West Midlands)
Sunderland kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Wet, cold
Teams : - 
Sunderland :

  1  Gordon

  5  Ferdinand
  4  Turner
22  Da Silva
10  Richardson

  8  Malbranque       (  7  Zenden 78  )
39  Cattermole 
18  Meyler
16  Henderson

11  Bent     (17  Jones 78)
  9  Campbell  (  2  Bardsley 89)

Unused subs: 
24  Carson
27  Kilgallon
33  Liddle

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

28  K. Walker
19  Bassong
  4  Kaboul
32  Assou-Ekotto (21  Kranjcar  46)

  3  Bale
14  Modric  (c)
12  Palacios 
  5  Bentley  (18  Defoe  46)

17  Gudjohnsen
  9  Pavlyuchenko  (15  Crouch  71  )

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
30  Dervite
29  Livermore
25  Rose

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  

Bent 1
Bent (p) 28
Zenden 86

Tottenham Hotspur

Crouch 72
Cards : -  

Cattermole (foul)  35
Malbranque (foul)  67 


Tottenham Hotspur 




Match Report : -  
From the first minute when a Sunderland corner was headed goal-wards by Frazier Campbell and Gomes palmed it straight out to Darren Bent to prod home, you knew that a few former cockerels would come home to roost and so it proved with a 1-3 defeat and a lack of positives to come a week before an FA Cup semi-final.

In the first Sunderland attack, a corner on the Spurs left was won and Gomes saved Frazier Campbell's shot and as the second corner came in, Campbell threw himself at the ball and it flew at goal, where Gomes reacted well to palm the ball out, but it went straight in front of goal and Darren Bent came in at the far post to knock in the loose ball from a yard out in 36 seconds. It had to be him and with his goal against his former employers went Tottenham's chances of getting much out of the game.

Why is it that the North-East has this effect on our players ?  Is it that they just don't enjoy going too far from London, although many travel considerably further to play their international matches ?  A goal down inside the first minute left Tottenham an uphill task and while they have come back from such a deficit previously this season, Sunderland were playing beyond themselves and Spurs within themselves.  The lack of commitment without Dawson in defence left Spurs exposed.

Tottenham created a half-chance when Kaboul launched a pass through the middle towards the unmarked Pavlyuchenko, but the Russian could not bring the bal lunder controol and looked generally our of sorts all day.  When the ball returned to the Spurs penalty area, Jordan Henderson made his way into the box and he fell under challenge from Benoit Assou-Ekotto and the referee waved away appeals for about what was to be the only time in the match.

That was in the 14th minute and neither side carved out a chance to be worthy of the name, 12 minutes later, Bale's cross was headed by Bentley and it forced Gordon to dive to stop the ball down to his right.  Once more, the game switched ends and as Malbranque was put in on the edge of the box, he hit a low shot that Gomes saved and the ball popped up to hit Kyle Walker on the hand.  Penalty said Lee Mason.  Bent stepped up to add to his total for the season, with a shot powerful enough to beat Gomes' dive to the keeper's right.

28 minutes and 0-2 down, there was little hope for getting anything out of the game.  Campbell went close with a header, before Cattermole let Palacios know he was there and picked up a yellow card for his trouble.  Spurs came back into the game a little in a ten minute spell around the 30 minute mark.  Pav tried to bend a shot in, but missed and Eidur Gudjohnsen met David Bentley's cross at the far post with a sliding shot which Gordon narrowed the angle and kept out.  Five minutes before the end of the half, Sunderland were awarded another penalty when Campbell went over Modric's leg in the box and Bent was given the chance for a 40 minute hat-trick.  This time he put his spot-kick to Gomes' left and the Brazilian flung himself to turn the ball aside although it was a "good height for a keeper" to make the save.  Gomes was alert enough to stop a Malbranque effort with his legs before the half time whistle blew.

It was a relieved Spurs team that got back into the dressing room, as the home side could have been five ahead at the break, although I guess Harry Redknapp would not have been a welcoming sight when they got back to the changing room. 

The manager decided to make changes, with Niko Kranjcar and Jermain Defoe coming on to replace BAE and Bentley.  It meant a little re-arrangement, but one of Niko's first passes only picked out Campbell, who almost  got on the end of Bent's return ball.  Five minutes into the half, Campbell once more went down in the box, this time with Bassong alongside, but Mason decided that there was no foul this time.

Spurs broke and won a corner, when Gordon came out to Defoe, who Pav had played through, with the keeper just getting enough on it with his legs to take the ball out.  It was played onto Gareth Bale's head by Luka Modric and Craig Gordon rose to tip the Welshman's effort over for another corner, but this came to nothing when Wilson Palacios screwed his shot wide.  Roman rose above Da Silva to nod the ball through for substitute Jermain Defoe to get ahead of Michael Turner and pull his shot across the face of goal.

While Tottenham had not got on the score-sheet, it was when Defoe hit the turf that there was more concern for Spurs fans.  The little man came back on, but looked limited in his movement thereafter.  A neat passing triangle between Modric, Kranjcar and Gudjohnsen provided a shooting effort for the Little Croatian and captain for the day, Modric to shoot from the edge of the box, but he only found Gordon with his straight shot.

Hope was building, but that soon stopped when Wilson Palacios chased a ball down the Spurs right and as Mayler chased it into the box, the Tottenham midfielder missed the ball and caught the Black Cats midfielder.  Once again, Bent grabbed the ball and it looked set for him to get a hat-trick and rub it into Harry's face following the "Sandra" comment last season.  Darren struck the ball along the ground to Gomes' right and the keeper guessed right once more and the keeper got a hand to the ball, which hit the right hand post and bounced back into his arms as he turned around. 

With 68 minutes gone, Richardson crossed from the right wing and as the ball came in Campbell and Gomes went for it and the ball dropped to Henderson, who drove it into the net.  However, the ref had blown for a foul on the Spurs goalie.  With time running out, Redknapp brought on Crouch for Pav and with a Spurs corner on the left wing, Kranjcar put the ball into the six yard box and Crouchy climbed on Turner to have a free header that he buried to pull Spurs back into the game at 1-2.

Bruce made changes in response to the Spurs goal, with Malbranque and Bent going off for Kenwyne Jones and Zenden coming on to bolster the attack.  Ten minutes remaining and Sunderland almost made the substitutions pay, with Campbell's cross being missed by Jones at the near post and Gomes having to scramble back to see Zenden's shot kicked away by Sebastien Bassong on the line.   Then a free-kick taken by Zenden got a glancing header from Turner that took the ball to the far post, but Jones was on his heels and couldn't get a touch on the ball.  It didn't matter much as Henderson had to hurry to get to a ball down the right and looped a ball to the far post, where Boudewijn Zenden hit a first time volley that dipped over Gomes into the opposite top corner for a fine finish to the move and to the match.

There was no coming back from that for Tottenham and the damage had been down in the first minute, not the 86th.   The FA Cup semi-final seemed to be playing on players' minds, but they must make sure they are mentally right for next week against Portsmouth, otherwise there will be nothing to show for a season of promise, which might not be kept.

euan oosarmi




Fan Reaction : -



Two penalties saved by Heurelho Gomes; two goals from Darren Bent; two injuries we could have done without; too cold and too far North.

A trip to Sunderland was a waste of time.

tel boy

For Wyart Lane's take on the weekend's game at Sunderland, visit Times Online Fanzine Fanzone by clicking here. 




Other League scores this weekend :
Arsenal 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Saturday
Birmingham City 1 Liverpool 1 Sunday
Bolton Wanderers 0 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Burnley 1 Manchester City 6 Saturday
Everton 2 West Ham United 2 Sunday
Fulham 2 Wigan Athletic 1 Sunday
Manchester United 1 Chelsea 2 Saturday
Portsmouth 0 Blackburn Rovers 0 Saturday
Stoke City 2 Hull City 0 Saturday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 33 23 5 5 84 30 74 +54
2 Manchester United 33 23 3 7 77 27 72 +50
3 Arsenal 33 22 5 6 75 34 71 +41
4 Manchester City 32 16 11 5 64 40 59 +24
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 32 17 7 8 58 32 58 +26
6 Liverpool 33 16 7 10 54 33 55 +21
7 Aston Villa 32 14 12 6 44 32 54 +12
8 Everton 33 13 11 9 52 44 50 +8
9 Birmingham City 33 12 10 11 34 38 46 -4
10 Blackburn Rovers 33 11 9 13 35 50 42 -15
11 Stoke City 32 10 12 10 32 35 42 -3
12 Fulham 32 11 8 13 35 37 41 -2
13 Sunderland 33 9 11 13 44 51 38 -7
14 Wolverhampton Wanderers 33 8 8 17 30 53 32 -23
15 Bolton Wanderers 33 8 8 17 36 61 32 -25
16 Wigan Athletic 32 8 7 17 29 62 31 -33
17 West Ham United 33 6 10 17 40 57 28 -17
18 Hull City 32 6 9 17 31 66 27 -35
19 Burnley 33 6 6 21 32 71 24 -39
20 Portsmouth 33 6 5 22 28 60 14* -32

*   9 points deducted for going into administration.

Position before the match :  4th
Position after the match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th

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