OPPONENTS Sunderland
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Saturday 17th January 2015
VENUE White Hart Lane






No preview prepared.
PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2         Sunderland    1
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Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 - 23.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:40 Sunday]  Also available online.
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Tottenham Hotspur  2 (1)                                                      Sunderland  1 (1)
Premier League
Saturday 17th January 2015                                                                                         Kick off 15:00
White Hart Lane
Vertonghen  2m 38s
Eriksen  87m 51s
Larsson 30m 33s
Vertonghen (foul on Defoe)  30  


Rodwell (foul on Eriksen)  58
Jones (foul on Rose) 87  


Crowd :   35,973 Weather :  Cold, bright
Referee :  Chris Hoy (St. Helens) Assistant Referees :  Mr. S. Burt; Mr. A. Nunn
Fourth Official :  Simon Hooper -
Sunderland kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 5 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Sunderland : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER
15  Eric DIER
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN       
  3  Danny ROSE

19  Mousa DEMBELE (17  Andros TOWNSEND 75)
25  Benjamin STAMBOULI

23  Christian ERIKSEN 
18  Harry KANE
22  Nacer CHADLI  (  8  PAULINHO 88)

  9  Roberto SOLDADO  (10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR 61)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

33  Ben DAVIES
29  Etienne CAPOUE

    1  Costel PANTILIMON

  3  Patrick van AANHOLT
16  John O'SHEA (c)
  5  Wes BROWN
  2  Billy JONES       (30  Will BUCKLEY  92)

11  Adam JOHNSON
  8  Jack RODWELL     
  7  Sebastian LARSSON 

  9  Steven FLETCHER  (10  Connor WICKHAM 65)
28  Jermain DEFOE  (19  Danny GRAHAM 75)

Unused subs: 
25  Vito MANNONE
22  Sebastien COATES
14  Jordi GOMEZ
23  Emanuele GIACCHERINI

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

What should have been a straightforward victory after Jan Vertonghen's deflected fourth minute goal became a bit of a struggle until Christian Eriksen popped up with his trademark late winning goal and then the Belgian defender's second in the last seconds, which was incredibly ruled out by incompetent officiating.

TV pundits always go on about players not knowing the laws of the game, but when you have match officials who don't know them, you would hope that the Professional Game Match Officials Limited would take a long hard look at what we are paying for ... but more of that later.

With illness and injury hitting the Spurs back line, Eric Dier came in to the centre of the back four and in the attacking midfield, Harry Kane was preferred to Paulinho in the starting line-up, playing behind Roberto Soldado.  In the opposition line-up, newly signed Jermain Defoe made his debut and with his record of scoring on club debuts being widely touted in the media, it was one record that you hoped he might keep ... but only if we were 4-0 ahead when he did it.

As it turned out, it was defender Vertonghen who stole the headlines with his goals at either end of the game.  A free-kick out on the right wing was played short to Kyle Walker, who returned it to Christian Eriksen, whose cross was headed out weakly by Vergini, but only to the edge of the box where it fell to Jan Vertonghen.  With two men in front of him, he side-stepped them and hit a shot at goal that hit John O'Shea in the chest and flew into the opposite side of the goal leaving Pantilimon stranded and leaving Spurs one up in the third minute.  Having had the lead at Palace, the question was would Spurs be able to finish this game off ?

The game opened up straight away with Sunderland winning a couple of corners, one of which came when Super Jan baulked Defoe, as the former Spurs striker tried to run him in the penalty area, but the ref was not interested in the claims for a penalty.   The corners came to nothing and Chadli instigated a move up the right for Tottenham that saw Eriksen have a shot blocked by Rodwell.  While Spurs were giving away free-kicks for Sunderland to pump into the box, when they had the ball, they were playing it well on the floor and Walker found space on the right to cross, but it was too high for Kane to meet and when Rose played a sharp pass to Eriksen just outside the box, the Dane's low shot brought a save from the Sunderland goalie.  Pantilimon was soon in action again to thwart Soldado after Vertonghen's pass had released him to run past the defence, but the keeper was out quickly to block his shot.  When Eriksen found himself on the edge of the box again, he drove a shot that was heading for the top corner until the 6' 8" frame of the Romanian keeper tipped the ball away with his fingertips.  It was an effort that would have beaten most keepers.

Sunderland should have levelled a couple of minutes before they equalised.  Spurs were opened up at the back and Jones played a ball low across the six yard box with no white shirt picking up the Black Cat at the far post, but luckily for them, it was Fletcher and not Defoe and he made an awful contact with the ball that took it wide from right in front of goal a couple of yards out.  However, in their next attack, the ball was played forward to Defoe about 25 yards from goal.  Jan claimed offside, which was not given (a surprise, as Defoe had been offside a number of times before and after this instance), so he took his own retribution by up-ending the forward as he moved from right to left and a free-kick was awarded to the opposition.  With Johnson and Larsson standing over the ball, it could have gone either way over the wall, but it was Larsson who swung it past Lloris to the keeper's right and sent the visiting fans into raptures.

Tottenham looked to hit back and Chadli had a shot deflected wide for the first of a couple of corners, before Rose got onto a blacked pass intended for the Belgian winger and the full back (today) struck a shot at goal, but it went wide.  As the game moved into added time at the end of the first half, Harry Kane came into the action more and almost took Spurs into the dressing room in the lead.  The young striker first struck a low shot that brought a save from Pantilmon and then, after exchanging passes with Eriksen manoeuvred himself into a position to have a yard to shoot and his low drive, across the keeper from the right bounced out off the foot of the post on the other side of the goal.  Danny Rose came rushing in to meet the rebound, but unlike his success against Chelsea, his shot was on target, but found the goalie right behind it just in front of the goal-line.

At half-time, the question was who would get the next goal ?  It was a crucial one and with Sunderland trying to hold onto their point, you felt the longer the game went on, the more likely it was that they would push for all three.

Spurs started the second half at a good tempo, with Rose firing a shot wide before a cross from Christian got a touch on the way through, taking it away form the waiting Soldado at the far post.  Roberto's luck in front of goal has deserted him, but you wonder of he is no longer second guessing and getting into scoring positions, as the ball rarely comes to him how he would like it.  Kane, on the other hand, is full of confidence and a shot on target looked like it might loop over the keeper, but in fact, the sting was taken out of it and made it an easy save.  Pantimlimon could not reach Eriksen's bobbling shot, which he hit from the edge of the box after taking a high bouncing ball out of the air a couple of times, as he was surrounded by three blue shirts, but still managed to squeeze his effort through, but just wide of the right hand post of the Sunderland goal.

Eric Dier made a good block as Defoe moved onto the ball on the edge of the penalty box, with the Spurs youngster having a good game alongside Vertonghen.  Jack Rodwell picked up a yellow card for fouling Eriksen, as a reminder that he was actually playing.  Harry was still threatening from midfield with one shot blocked for a corner and another chance just nicked off his toe, when Chadli broke onto Soldado's pass and choose the wrong option that could have punished Sunderland.  His next effort went wide and Spurs were pushing wide to put crosses in, but nothing came of them.  Sunderland had a rare foray into the Spurs half and won a corner, which Larsson took and found Vergini at the far post, but his volley back across goal missed everyone and went off for a goal kick.

When Nacer Chadli produced a similar volley at the other end, from Walkers header back into the box from a cleared corner, it needed the goalie to stretch full length to palm the ball out as it looked like it might go into the bottom corner of the net.  Adebayor came on for Soldado and hit a shot at goal, but it didn't have enough power to beat Pantimilon.  Rose was still looking to get in the box and when he wriggled past two defenders, his angled shot hit Vergini. 

Sunderland were looking to hit Spurs on the break and when the ball was lost in the right wing position, it worked it's way across to the other side of the box and Johnson struck a swerving effort that Hugo did well to beat out, but it went straight back in front of goal near the edge of the box and substitute Danny Graham latched onto it first. However, his attempt was weak and straight at Lloris, who took this one easily.  It was a fine stop by the French keeper, with a good recovery to be in place for the rebound. 

Tottenham's own substitute was carrying on from where he left off on Wednesday.  Andros Townsend went on a run of half the length of the pitch to play in Nacer, but his effort was blocked, then Walker had a pot shot, but the ball flew a couple of feet over the angle of the post and bar as he drove it in from the right hand side.  This didn't stop Andros, who received the ball after a Sunderland move broke down in our right hand corner and Walker and Dier moved the ball to the winger.  He must have covered about 65 yards, taking the ball rapidly up our right wing, but he looked up and what, at first, seemed like a poor pass to Kane, was more of an astute one to Eriksen running in behind him and he struck a low shot firs time to Pantilimon's right.  The keeper could only stand and watch as the ball kissed the inside of the post and rebounded into the goal behind him to give Tottenham a 2-1 lead in the 88th minute.

It was another example of a late winner, which has become a common theme in Pochettino's reign.  It was a very good run by Townsend and an instinctive piece of finishing by Christian, who is becoming our new match-winner.

But it wasn't quite over yet.  While Spurs were trying to work the ball into the Sunderland box for a third, the visitors were taking a more direct route and when the ball dropped outside the box in added time, van Aanholt laid a straight ball through the D for Graham to shoot at goal instantly.  Hugo had little time to react, but managed to flop and get a good hand, close to his body as he dived, to the ball and pushed it out.  It did not look spectacular, but it was a difficult save to make and it was a very important one in the context of the match.

But from the corner Lloris succeeded, his opposite number came forward to try to cause confusion.  As it happened, the ball was headed out, it hit a Sunderland player on the edge of the box and was played forward to Paulinho.  With Pantilimon still deep in the Tottenham half, Spurs were three on van Aanholt and the Brazilian showed great precision in laying the ball off to Vertonghen, who had broke out from his own area.  Jan took the ball into the Sunderland half and as the visiting defender came across, slid the ball past him from 40 yards out and it trickled into the net.  As he did his SuperJan celebration, the linesman who was ignorant of the laws raised his yellow flag and Foy fell for it.  The goal was ruled out for what we think must have been offside, but we will never know, because Foy doesn't have to explain his unexplainable decisions.

As the final whistle was blown shortly afterwards, the officials saved their bacon, leaving no chance for Spurs to suffer further punishment from their ineptitude.

It had been difficult to break through, despite having a large number of shots and having most of them on target.  Sunderland made it difficult by having five at the back, but in the progress the Spurs team have made, they believe that playing their own game brings results.  Sticking to their own game and not resorting to long balls helps consistency and players know where they should be, getting there with the fitness coming from the early season training sessions.  Most players played their part and it is becoming a group effort in winning these games, with contributions all round.  None more so than that from Hugo Lloris, in what is now becoming a regular superlative performance.

This win means we are only three points away from avoiding the drop, but more importantly, it was a much needed three points after losing to Palace.

The Heathrow Spur




Sunderland are so called as they were in the land what's under Newcastle.


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What you thought
The Funky Phantom That incompetent buffoon Foy comes up with new ways of making himself look like a jerk every time he takes one of our games.  He must be the world number one ref in games that don't involve us, as I can't think of any other reason he is still getting Premier League games.  I wouldn't want him doing my Sunday League team's games.

And as for that clown with the yellow flag - well, let's hope that we never see him near a touchline again.  What a know-nothing.  How can you be a match official without knowing that players can't be offside if they are in their own half ?  Fans might not all be the most knowledgeable about every law of the game, but a fair number would have known better than the man in black/yellow/green/whatever fancy colour they choose to wear but can't cover up their lack of professionalism.

When they can't even get throw-ins right and linemen have to be pointed in the right direction by referees for which way the throw should be, you do tend to despair.  Linesmen don't have many decisions to make and they seem to have a great deal of trouble with most of them.  While I am not in favour of technology taking over too much in football, it seems like it might be a palatable alternative to these bungling jokers who have no responsibilities for the consequences their errors produce - human or not.

Let Foy come out and explain why he ruled out the "goal".  Don't suppose he will, just like Clattenburg didn't  after not allowing Pedro Mendes' "goal" at Old Trafford.  They seem above normal accountability.  Shame on them.

- -.



Other scores during this week :
Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 2 Saturday
Burnley 2 Crystal Palace 3 Saturday
Leicester City 0 Stoke City 1 Saturday
Newcastle United 1 Southampton 2 Saturday
QPR 0 Manchester United 2 Saturday
Swansea City 0 Chelsea 5 Saturday
West Ham United 3 Hull City 0 day
Manchester City 0 Arsenal 2 Sunday
West Bromwich Albion - - - -day
Everton - - - -day




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 22 16 4 2 51 19 52 +32
2 Manchester City 22 14 5 3 45 22 47 +23
3 Southampton 22 13 3 6 37 16 42 +21
4 Manchester United 22 11 7 4 36 21 40 +15
5 Arsenal 22 11 6 5 39 25 39 +14
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 22 11 4 7 32 30 37 +2
7 West Ham United 22 10 6 6 34 25 36 +9
8 Liverpool 22 10 5 7 31 27 35 +4
9 Swansea City 22 8 6 8 26 30 30 -4
10 Stoke City 22 8 5 9 23 27 29 -4
11 Newcastle United 22 7 6 9 26 35 27 -9
12 Crystal Palace 22 5 8 9 25 33 23 -8
13 Everton 21 5 7 9 30 34 22 -4
14 Aston Villa 22 5 7 10 11 25 22 -14
15 West Bromwich Albion 21 5 6 10 20 29 21 -9
16 Sunderland 22 3 11 8 19 33 20 -14
17 Burnley 22 4 8 10 21 36 20 -15
18 Hull City 22 4 7 11 20 31 19 -11
19 QPR 22 5 4 13 23 38 19 -16
20 Leicester City 22 4 5 13 20 34 17 -14


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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