OPPONENTS Sunderland
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 13th September 2015
VENUE Stadium of Light






With the transfer window slamming shut and the door to the first team slamming shut on Adebayor, the signings of Clinton Njie and Heung-Min Son will have to act as the necessary support in carrying the goal-scoring burden by Harry Kane.

How the new Spurs will fare at Sunderland, with play-maker Christian Eriksen missing again will be interesting to see, but I imagine that it won't be too much different from the games already this season.  The failure to take the chances we have made have cost us and that is what will make the difference between not getting three points and recording our first win of the campaign. 

The hosts are struggling at the bottom of the early season table.  There lack of goals and indecisiveness at the back has cost them so far, but last time out, they recorded a good point against Aston Villa, scoring twice and previously had earned a point against Swansea City.  One of the concerns to Black Cat supporters is the presence of Younes Kaboul, who joined from Spurs earlier this summer and his part in the goals conceded.   There are a few options available to Dick Advocaat, with Billy Jones, Patrick van Anholt, John O'Shea and Sebastian Coates all available, but the centre of the back four looking as soft as a strawberry cream, it might provide opportunities, if Spurs can get players onto that department of the defence.  Two players currently unavailable are new signing Adam Matthews from Glasgow Celtic who is injured and loan signing DeAndre Yedlin from Spurs, who is not allowed to play against us.

Having signed a couple of players who top clubs have looked at during the window, Sunderland should be well served in midfield, with Yann M'Vila and Jeremain Lens coming in from Russia to add strength and attacking options.  Seb Larsson is still there, although his free-kick duties seem to have been delegated to the new-comers, while Lee Cattermole is still there to pick up the cards from the ref.  Jordi Gomez is injured and that leaves Jack Rodwell as the only other selection option, with Adam Johnson being injured too.  There is a lot of power in the midfield, but how that is turned into attack will be determined by how much pressure Spurs put on them.  They have shown the propensity to turn over the ball easily, so it might be that we can gain possession, but need to do so high up the pitch to turn it into dangerous situations.

The Sunderland forward line has been boosted by the loan signing from Rennes of the former Ajax striker Ola Toivonen, who scored last time out and alongside Steven Fletcher (who is ruled out with a knock for this game), Jermain Defoe and new signing Fabio Borini as well as Danny Graham, there are a few years of experience there.  The issue has been supply to them and the upgrades in midfield might have improved the supply lines to the strikers.  It will mean that the Spurs defence cannot afford any errors and need to start showing opponents away from goal and not allowing them to come inside to get shots on goal.

If Son starts in Eriksen's role, then that does give Tottenham a scoring threat from behind Kane, but the contribution from Lamela and Chadli needs to improve to give other teams more to worry about.  Ryan Mason has been getting forward into more advanced positions and runs from deep do give the other side problems in picking players up, so some more of that might get our players in behind the defence.  All they have to do then, is take the chances that come their way !!

With Sunderland desperate for points and Tottenham still to win this season, it looks like there will be an element of necessity about this game.  The home side will do all they can to shut Spurs down to stop them getting forward and it will need a spark of magic to open up what will be a determined Advocaat line-up.  While a win would shoot us up to mid-table, I foresee another point being added to our total that will take us above Chelsea.

PREDICTION Sunderland    1         Tottenham Hotspur    1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Last season's corresponding fixture
Spurs will be missing Christian Eriksen again with his knee injury, with Mousa Dembele's foot injury ruling him out of contention.  Clinton Njie is not yet match fit, but Heung-Min Son will be ready to play.
Steven Fletcher (knock), Adam Matthews (foot) and Adam Johnson (shoulder) are all unavailable and Jordi Gomez's fractured knee cap rules him out.  New signing Fabio Borini may make his debut after signing permanently.

Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
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 :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
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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 & 15.00 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
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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  0 (0)                                                                       
Premier League
Sunday 13th September 2015
Stadium of Light
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)

Kick off 13:30
None Mason 81m 27s
Borini (persistent fouling)  21
Jones (persistent fouling)  42


Vertonghen (foul on Lens)  16


Crowd :   40,303 Weather :  Sunny, mild
Referee :  Craig Pawson (Sheffield) Assistant Referees :  Mr. D. Cann; Mr. A. Halliday
Fourth Official :  Andre Marriner -
Tottenham kicked off and played towards the Carling Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + minutes.
Sunderland : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Costel PANTILIMON

  2  Billy JONES 
15  Younes KABOUL
  John O'SHEA
  3  Patrick van ANHOLT

21  Yann M'VILA
14  Jordi GOMEZ (  6  Lee CATTERMOLE 74)

17  Jeremain LENS
  Ola TOIVONEN (  8  Jack RODWELL 81)
  9  Fabio BORINI (41  Duncan WATMORE 74)

18  Jermain DEFOE

Unused subs: 
25  Vito MANNONE
22  Sebastian COATES
  7  Sebastian LARSSON
19  Danny GRAHAM

    1  Hugo LLORIS (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER
33  Ben DAVIES

  8  Ryan MASON    (28  Tom CARROLL 85)
15  Eric DIER

20  Dele ALLI  (11  Erik LAMELA 67)
  7  Heung-Min SON  (17  Andros TOWNSEND 62)
22  Nacer CHADLI

10  Harry KANE

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
Danny ROSE
29  Harry WINKS

Manager :  Dick Advocaat Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   dafabet Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

A trip to the North-East is not usually at the top of the list of away-days for Spurs fans, as it is miles away (for most of us) and we do not have a great history of doing well there.  Last season's draw was a case in point, with a win beckoning, an own goal from (of all people) Harry Kane, late on levelled things for the Black Cats and gave them an undeserved point.  So, with Sunderland sitting bottom of the table and without a win, charitable Tottenham came to town. 

A couple of early forays into the Sunderland defensive third saw Spurs have a penalty shout and a cross that should have been more of an opportunity. With 30 seconds on the clock, Kyle Walker took the ball into the area and was blocked off by Patrick van Anholt, with the referee not giving anything, when a penalty or more likely obstruction would have been the normal outcome. Within a minute, Dele Alli, making his first start for Tottenham, got into the right hand corner at the Sunderland end, where he produced a marvellous nut-meg on Fabio Borini and then had two men in the box, but put the ball straight into Pantilimon's stomach.

While Sunderland looked long into the Tottenham box and there was no-one able to get on the end of the ball, but Spurs went forward and almost got some joy when a short free-kick played the Black Cats' keeper into trouble, with him just being able to get the ball away before Kane closed him right down. At the other end, former Tottenham favourite Jermain Defoe tested Hugo Lloris, with a dipping shot that bounced right in front of him, then Harry Kane came in off the left to fire a shot at goal that cleared the bar by a couple of feet.

Jan Vertonghen picked up a yellow card for a tackle on Lens, while Borini had got away with a similar foul on Kane, which the ref didn't even award a free-kick for. The home crowd were over the moon when Younes Kaboul made a couple of runs up the left wing, but he was back doing what he was supposed to do when he got in the way of a 25 yarder from Son.

Things got a little heated, with Borini booked for a succession of fouls and then people flying in and falling around all over the place. When things settled down a bit, Alderweireld stepped forward and hit a cross-shot from the right hand corner of the box that hit O'Shea and went high in the air before Pantilimon plucked it out of the sky. Then a straight pass from Lens through the Spurs midfield put Defoe away and with Lloris coming out, the little forward slid the ball past him, but it hit the foot of Lloris' right hand post and came out. Breaking to the other end, Walker crossed for Kane to launch a scissors kick from 15 yards out, but it hit Kaboul and was cleared.

The tactic of playing the ball out from the back had put Spurs in trouble a couple of times already, but Lloris put Walker under pressure and only a poor final ball prevented Sunderland having a good opportunity. Son did make a yard to curl a shot at goal, but it was always going wide of the goal.

Referee Pawson was poor, as he failed to see late tackles, pushing when jumping for the ball and anything in the penalty box. There are few referees these days who have the wherewithal to know where to position themselves and too often find themselves jumping over the ball. Anyone who does that is not in the right place. Why referee assessors don't bring this up and focus official's attention on where to view the play without getting in the way of it.

With a minute to half-time, Chadli made good ground on the left, having been anonymous for most of the half, but played a ball across the box to pick out Walker who ran into the area, before intelligently pulling the ball back to Son, but he was too close to a Sunderland player to get any decent contact on the ball. He might have had another chance soon after, had the referee noted that he was having the shirt dragged off his back.

Just before half-time, Defoe once more tested the Spurs defence, as Eric Dier stuck with him to deflect his shot high into the air and it dropped just over the bar. Dier had moments eerlier denied Lens, as he burst into the box with a run behind Alderweireld.

With no changes at the break, the game continued in much the same way. The referee giving Sunderland soft free-kicks and their crowd getting over-heated when things were not given their way. Hilariously, their chants of “You're not fit to referee” was quite correct, but for all the wrong reasons … on this occasions being for a tackle on Borini that saw Mason win the ball before leaving the Italian in a heap.

An intricate move along the 18 yard line came to nothing for Spurs and then when Kane took on Kaboul to win a corner, Son's ball from the set-piece failed to clear the first man. Too often Tottenham's forward moves broke down because of lack of support for the man on the ball. Chadli looked weak on the ball and was dispossessed too easily, Alli drifted out of the game in the first half of the second half before getting onto the end of a Mason pass, but being unable to gather it in. Just before Defoe made ground from halfway to put Lens in with a shot that failed to stretch Lloris.

Interestingly, the Sunderland supporters regarded us as “dirty Southern bastards” when Pantillimon was caught as Alli went through, but the inability of their players to stay on their feet made the referee consider most challenges on them a foul.

Alli went easily past a couple of players on the left wing to the dead ball line before poking it across the face of goal with no purple shirt there to finish it off. Pochettino then brought on Townsend for Son and straight away Spurs were under the threat of the Sunderland side. A cross was cleared and when it dropped to Jones, his shot was blocked by Mason, sending the ball spinning into the Spurs box. As Toivonen and Lens were standing there, Lloris had to react quickly to dive forward to fist the ball away before the ref eventually gave Spurs a free-kick. Then Defoe's neat pass took Alderweireld out of the game on the halfway line, putting Lens away. As he closed on goal, Vertonghen got goal-side and stood his ground, forcing Lens to think about what he was going to do, which led to him lose the chance to shoot.

Townsend shimmied past M'Vila on the right wing, to dink a cross towards the far post, where Dele Alli was coming in, but the ball was flicked away for a corner. When the set-piece eventually was played in, Kane was free on the far post, but skewed a volley off his right foot and the ball went well wide.

Once more, Townsend skipped past van Anholt, before winning a corner. But once more, the corner failed to get into the heart of the penalty area. With fifteen minutes to go, Mason picked out Chadli on the edge of the box, he twisted and turned a couple of times before creating space for the shot that bounced off Kaboul's back for a corner. For once, something nearly came of it, with Dier getting on the end of a cross at the far post, but not being able to get enough power or direction to worry Pantilimon. Interestingly, Kane's shirt was ripped vertically across his back when the incident was over !!

Mason made a run deep beyond Lens to put a cross towards Kane, but O'Shea nodded it away for a corner. The ball was cleared, but only to Mason, standing in the D, but his low shot lacked power to beat the keeper's dive.

With eight minutes to go, a great piece of play by Ryan Mason opened the scoring with a move that he started deep in the centre circle. He played a one-two with Lamela, who played a one-two with Kane, then played it into space on the edge of the box, where Mason had continued his run and took a touch before just lifting it over the diving body of Pantilimon. It was a well worked goal and cut through the Sunderland side, but Mason had to leave the action on a stretcher after receiving treatment behind the goal as play restarted.

During the time Spurs were down to ten men, a ball was pulled back to substitute Jack Rodwell by Kaboul and the shot was over Lloris, but bounced out off the crossbar, but Spurs were unlucky as a move around the edge of the box ended with Kane firing a ten yard shot at goal that the keeper blocked at point blank range, before Townsend played a right wing cross in that Lamela met with his head, but it flashed past the post, when a defter touch might have beaten the keeper and extended the lead.

Sunderland fans started flooding out with five minutes left and it could have been a good move if Chadli had steadied himself before blazing as shot way over the bar from 22 yards out with the game ticking into added time. He did the same again when Carroll won the ball in midfield and Spurs were four on three but he dallied before getting it onto his right foot and again clearing the goal.

There was still work to do, as Sunderland pumped balls into the box, but Spurs did well to defend. When they broke out with a minute left, a better ball by Kane, who held the ball up on halfway, would have put Chadli clear, but the clearance by Pantilimon was nothing to compare with the clearance of the seats, with the stadium two thirds empty by the time Pawson blew the final whistle.

It was a much needed win and might stop some of the carping surrounding our club. Ryan Mason put in a lot of work and ended up being carried off, but it was his run that carried him into the penalty area which was crucial in getting the three points. Dier played a very good game protecting the back four, while Vertonghen improved drastically in the second half to turn in a good display. Chadli was not in amongst the play enough and when he did get into the game late on, failed to make the most of some good openings, while Kane battled hard against two or more men most of the time. Townsend looked good when he came on and Lamela too, providing the final pass for Mason to convert.

The worrying thing is that Pantilimon gave Mason a hefty thwack on his lower thigh, just above his knee, when it became clear the Spurs man was getting there first.  He will get a scan on his knee tomorrow and there may be some fluid on it, but hopefully he won't be out for too long, with Poch confirming the missing Bentaleb has an ankle injury that will keep him out for 3-4 weeks.

So, we are on the way with a win under our belts.  Crystal Palace next in the league and they have had a good start, but perhaps our corner has been turned.

Aidenby Quernhow




Sunderland's home ground is built on the site of a former coal-mine and fans still try to use some of the disused shafts to enter the stadium for free, if they can avoid the stewards and the hazardous gases that remain in the mine.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 2 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Crystal Palace 0 Manchester City 1 Saturday
Everton 3 Chelsea 1 Saturday
Manchester United 3 Liverpool 1 Saturday
Norwich City 3 Bournemouth 1 Saturday
Watford 1 Swansea City 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 0 Southampton 0 Saturday
Leicester City 3 Aston Villa 2 Sunday
West Ham United 2 Newcastle United 0 Monday



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


Position before match :  17th
Position after match :  12th
Position after the weekend :  12th


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


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