OPPONENTS Sunderland
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Saturday 13th September 2014
VENUE Stadium of Light






Tottenham come into the game off the back of a 0-3 home defeat by Liverpool, but that is now two weeks ago and things are changing at the club both on and off the field.

With troubles over the building of the new ground and takeover talks doing the rounds, the headlines have been about money matters, while the team slipped out of the transfer window mainly unaltered.  Spurs have lost Sandro, but appear to have replaced him with Benjamin Stambouli, a similarly keen tackler, but perhaps a better passer of the ball.  Federico Fazio has added to our centre half list, perhaps replacing the out-going Zeki Fryers, who Poch perhaps didn't rate and sees an experienced defender as a better bet than a youngster with potential.  So, there are two players who might come into the side, if Mauricio sees them adding to the new style he intends to implement.

The new manager didn't have long to assess the current available members of the squad.  But he will have his idea about how he wants them to play.  Those tactics will start to be put into place over the coming weeks, now that the ins and outs have ended for a few months.  The pressing game we here so much about wasn't in effect against Liverpool and might return at the Stadium of Light to put the Sunderland players under pressure and force them into conceding possession, but the Spurs team will need to be aware of potential threats in the Black Cats' side.

Jose Altidore made an earlier exit from the World Cup than his US team-mates, with a hamstring injury and he is back to match fitness now, with a point to prove.  I have never thought him that effective against us, but he is a big lump who can upset defenders with his physical presence.  The key will be to stop the ball coming into the box ... which we didn't do against Liverpool.  The other aspect of our last game was not challenging players as they ran through and maybe Stambouli will be the player to protect the back four by sitting in front of them, especially with Bentaleb returning late Thursday from international duty with Algeria.

The choice between keeper Vito Mannone and Costil Pantilimon for Poyet should be an easy one.  The former Man City man was kept out of the side at the Etihad by Joe Hart, but not always.  Mannone has had his good days, but looks error prone and I expect the Romanian to take the gloves for this match.

The back four will be boosted by the new arrivals of Patrick van Aanholt from Chelsea and  Coates on loan from Liverpool, which could be an upgrade on Wes Brown and Jon  O'Shea.  The full backs like to push on, so it will be down to Lamela and Lennon/Townsend to keep them occupied.  The midfield will be particularly combative, with Ricky Alvarez brought in from Inter Milan to add some craft to this part of the Sunderland team.  Alongside other new signing Jack Rodwell and relative new-comer Liam Bridcutt, Poyet will fashion his engine room in his own likeness, with box to box players, who can chip in with goals.  Lee Cattermole has been pushing his own England claims (well ... no-one else will), so he will be looking to impress with his own style of 'shorts up high, studs following them' game.  Gus' view might mean that it is hard for Adam Johnson to get in the team, despite him having the odd spark of magic to light up the stadium.

 In attack, Sunderland have the choice of Altidore, Connor Wickham, Steven Fletcher and Danny Graham.  The last two perhaps have seen better Premiership days, while Wickham showed at the end of last season that he can be a goal-getter at this level.  The former Ipswich Town man might start, but I can't imagine that Sunderland will kick off with two up front, rather choosing to pack the midfield to try and prevent Tottenham passing their way through it.  Forcing us to go long will suit their defence.

With the Black Cats having shored things up at the back and in midfield with their new signings and Spurs having done the same, goals might not be that easy to come by, but I foresee a repeat of last season's win at the Stadium of Light, with Lamela turning in a match-winning performance on the back of his goal for Argentina in the international break (although he will find the weather in Sunderland not as welcoming as that of Ibiza where he had a break before returning to training).

PREDICTION Sunderland    1         Tottenham Hotspur    2
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spurs will make a late check on Roberto Soldado's neck injury, while Kyle Walker is sidelined after having abdominal surgery.  Benjamin Stambouli and Federico Fazio stand by to make their debuts.
There ar eno injury issues for Gus Poyet to concern his choice of players to face Spurs, with loan signings Ricky Alvarez and Sebastien Coates likely to start to add some experience to his side.

Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:40 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.30 (highlights)  Also available online.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
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Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
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South Africa 
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North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Sunderland   2 (1)                                                                             Tottenham Hotspur  2 (1)
Premier League
Saturday 13th September 2014                                                                                          Kick off 15:00
Stadium of Light
Johnson 3m 10s
Kane (o.g.)  81m 51s
Chadli 1m 51s
Eriksen 47m 05s
Larsson (foul on Rose)  24  
van Aanholt (foul on Capoue)  82
Vergini (foul on Stambouli)  88
Wickham (foul on Rose)  90
Gomes (foul on Lamela) 90+2
Brown (foul on Lamela) 90+4

Dier (foul on Alvarez)  58




Crowd :   40,799 Weather :  Warm, sunny
Referee :  Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. D. Cann, Mr. A. Holmes
Fourth Official :  Andre Marriner -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the South Stand in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 6 minutes
Sunderland : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
25  Vito MANNONE

27  Santiago VERGINI     
16  John O'SHEA (c)
5  Wes BROWN     
  3  Patrick van AANHOLT     

  8  Jack RODWELL  (14  Jordi GOMEZ 79     )
  7  Sebastian LARSSON       (23  Emmanuele GIACCHERINI 65)
20  Ricky ALVAREZ  (30  Will BUCKLEY 65)
11  Adam JOHNSON 

10  Connor WICKHAM     

Unused subs: 
  1  Costil PANTILIMON
  2  Dave JONES


    1  Hugo LLORIS

15  Eric DIER     
  4  Younes KABOUL (c)
  3  Danny ROSE

29  Etienne CAPOUE

11  Erik LAMELA
23  Christian ERIKSEN 
19  Mousa DEMBELE
22  Nacer CHADLI    (25  Benjamin STAMBOULI 70)

10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR  (18  Harry KANE 79  )

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

21  Federico FAZIO
  7  Aaron LENNON
17  Andros TOWNSEND

Manager :   Gus Poyet Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Bidvest Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

A match that Tottenham dominated in terms of possession always looked like a precarious away lead, with the side finally succumbing to an uinfortunate goal, but it was one which should not have affected the overall result of the match against Sunderland.  Whereas, it had looked like three, only point travelled back to London with the Spurs contingent.

Playing what looked like a 4-1-4-1 formation, Jan Vertonghen was missing from the squad altogether, while the two new faces sat on the bench to start the game.

Spurs worked the ball well from the kick off, with Christian Eriksen passing outside to his left and Danny Rose shot at goal from a narrow angle, with two waiting for a low ball in front of them in front of goal with just 55 seconds gone.  Not that it mattered, as within a minute, Spurs were ahead.  The ball was played around and in to Emmanuel Adebayor on the edge of the box.  He turned to make himself a yard and fired in a powerful drive, with Mannone saving the ball by beating it out, but as it went o his right, Nacer Chadli ran in to side-foot the ball back past him to make it 1-0.

When Adam Johnson came in off the left wing and no Spurs player challenged him, he shot at goal and the ball deflected off Kaboul to beat Lloris' dive and Danny Rose on the line to make it 1-1 within four minutes.  Only a stretching interception prevented a low ball across the box finding a red and white shirt a minute later and then Erik Lamela almost reproduced Johnson's goal, but Mannone just got a hand to the ball to keep it out.  It was followed by Eriksen's lift over the back four for Adebayor to volley at goal into Mannone from point blank range.  From the corner, Kaboul had a shot blocked by Wickham and then Chadli's pull back from the left was gratefully booted away by Rodwell.

The game settled down a bit and then, in the 15th minute, Tottenham opened up the Sunderland defence with some slick first time passing and Rose's low ball in from the left wing was just behind Adebayor and Eriksen couldn't quite get to the loose ball quick enough.  Tottenham enjoyed plenty of possession, but Sunderland got plenty of shirts back behind the ball.  There was one worrying moment in the 36th minute, when Alvarez played Wickham in, but, despite the home fans bellowing for a penalty, the tackle by Rose won the ball cleanly and was outside the box anyway.  Straight from that attack, Tottenham broke and Dembele did what he should do more often and let fly from 25 yards, with the ball confounding Mannone and only his right hand upright saving him as the ball thudded off the woodwork. Tottenham had their own shout for a spot kick when Lamela tried to shovel the ball through to Adebayor, but Vergini moved his chest and arm to the ball, but the ref said chest.

Spurs were working so hard to keep the ball.  In one attack, the ball looked lost four times, before Chadli, Eriksen and Lamela won it back.  Dembele was working hard as one of the four behind Adebayor and although Chiriches had one moment, where he almost was robbed of the ball trying to dribble the ball out of his own box, generally, there were few moments of concern.

Spurs were on it from the kick off in the second half and a move that saw the ball moved form the centre of the pitch to the left, ended with Chadli's low ball in intercepted by van Aanholt, but Christian Eriksen was the first to react and he prodded the ball home from a yard out, as Mannone tried to save.   It was another well worked move and it brought the reward all the possession had deserved.

In the 58th minute, Eric Dier and played a nice one two on the right wing and Eric was released to take on van Aanholt, who brought him down in the box, but once more the referee turned a blind eye to it.  Funnily, when he dived in on Alvarez, prompting roll after roll, the ref did pull out a yellow card, but then it wasn't in the box was it ?  So, Tottenham's first yellow card of the season 58 minutes into their fourth Premier League match.

In the 68th minute, Adam Johnson received the ball 23 yards out and hammered a shot that flew just wide of Hugo Lloris' left hand post with the keeper at full stretch, but Tottenham had another attack straight away and Lamela was brought down in the area.  Craig Pawson was as consistent as he had been with incidents in the box and ignored it.  Benjamin Stambouli came on for Chadli to make his debut, with Poch probably more keen to shore up the midfield in front of the back four.  As it turned out, Benji was involved in a 20 pass move that almost saw Erik Lamela out Ade in, with only a rush from goal seeing Mannone kick the ball out ... straight against O'Shea, who managed to clear the ball as it travelled back towards his own goal.  Substitute Will Buckley went down in the area under challenge from Dier ... no penalty.  Substitute Giaccherini went down in the area under challenge from Dier ... no penalty.

Lamela's shot from inside the box forced Mannone into a save, pushing the ball onto the bar and then Stambouli popped up on the left wing.  Tottenham were so comfortable in possession, they thought nothing of going backwards from a corner to hold onto the ball.  Perhaps confident in their ability to win it back .. as they did often.  Twice within a minute they did that and played Adebayor in inside the area, but twice he was muscled off the ball.  Lamela even nearly scored without trying, as Brown's clearance hit him and looped up, but the Sunderland keeper held it as it threatened to go in.

With eight minutes left, the home side were given a free-kick on their left wing and it went in off Kane at the far post, beating Lloris at the post.  Given the control Spurs had of the game, they had been punished for not making the most of the ball.  However, Harry took his eye off the ball and it hit him with his back turned to it.  Sunderland could have won it on 90 minutes, when van Aanholt's low ball back from the left wing found Buckley, but he blazed well over the top from twelve yards out.

Cattermole brought down Rose on the edge of the Sunderland box as the game entered time added on for stoppages, with the free-kick taken by Lamela and it was swung high over the angle on the opposite side of the goal.  Another free-kick and another booking as the home team got more desperate every time Tottenham attacked.  But once more nothing came from it and Sunderland's cynical approach paid off, with the final whistle sounding shortly after to signal a point won in a game they should have been beyond salvaging anything.

It is still early days in Pochettino's rule, but they side look good on the ball, but need to be more clinical in finishing teams off.  The passing and movement had Sunderland chasing shadows, but they failed to make the difference in the opposition's box.   It is difficult to rationalise how these three points slipped away, but the introduction of Fazio to counter the long ball and free-kick threat might have been abetter choice than Kane for Adebayor.

No doubt Poch had an eye to Thursday's trip to Belgrade, but let's win one match at a time  ... and these matches are the ones we need to win if there is to be any chance of improvement this season.  As I said earlier, it is still early days and the squad have to settle, but that period of adjustment gets shorter with every dropped point.  With games coming thick and fast now, it will be a test of the squad and how well they can rotate as much as how well they can see off opponents that they hold the majority of possession over.

Stanford Rivers



Sunderland had scored the fewest goals in the Premier League until the last two weeks of last season.

Gus Poyet was the first Uruguayan manager to have an argument with Paraguayan manager in the Premier League when he had a go at Manuel Pellegrini when Sunderland beat Manchester City earlier this year.  Keep an uay out for some fireworks from the volatile South American.

Sunderland were way ahead in the naming rights game, as the Stadium of Light was named after the low calorie alcoholic drink Miller Lite, but it lost something in the translation.


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What you thought
East Stan I heard on the commentary for this game that the referee had never shown a red card since he started in the Premier League.  I am not surprised and if he lets the challenge (from behind and excessive force) by Wes Brown on Erik Lamela go with only a booking, then I don't suppose he ever will.

I didn't hear it, but I don't reckon he has ever given a penalty either, as there should have been one for Sunderland and two for us (at least !).

Steve Gray While it was a disappointment not to get all three points after dominating the match for long periods, it was an impressive display and one that showed Spurs can go away and play their game against teams rather than worrying about how they are going to play against us.  The turning of that dominance into points is an obvious issue that needs work on, but the style in which we played certainly gave Sunderland plenty to think about and the assured possession football we played actually created a lot of chances that the keeper had to save rather than our previous high shots off target total.

With players still getting used to the club and the system, it can hopefully bode well for the rest of the campaign.
- -.



Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 2 Manchester City 2 Saturday
Chelsea 4 Swansea City 2 Saturday
Liverpool 0 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Southampton 4 Newcastle United 0 Saturday
Stoke City 0 Leicester City 1 Saturday
Crystal Palace 0 Burnley 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 0 Everton 2 Saturday
Manchester United 4 QPR 0 Sunday
Hull City 2 West Ham United 2 Monday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 4 4 0 0 15 6 12 +9
2 Aston Villa 4 3 1 0 4 1 10 +3
3 Swansea City 4 3 0 1 8 5 9 +3
4 Southampton 4 2 1 1 8 3 7 +5
5 Manchester City 4 2 1 1 7 4 7 +3
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 2 1 1 7 5 7 +2
7 Arsenal 4 1 3 0 7 6 6 +1
8 Liverpool 4 2 0 2 6 5 6 +1
9 Manchester United 4 1 2 1 6 3 5 +3
10 Everton 4 1 2 1 9 10 5 -1
11 Hull City 4 1 1 1 5 6 5 -1
12 Leicester City 4 1 2 1 4 5 5 -1
13 West Ham United 4 1 1 2 6 7 4 -1
14 Stoke City 4 1 2 2 2 3 4 -1
15 Sunderland 4 0 3 1 5 6 3 -1
16 QPR 4 1 0 3 1 9 3 -8
17 Crystal Palace 4 0 2 2 5 8 2 -3
18 Burnley 4 0 2 2 1 4 2 -3
19 West Bromwich Albion 4 0 2 2 2 7 2 -5
20 Newcastle United 4 0 2 2 3 9 2 -6


Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  6th


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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