Sunderland put in a brave performance at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night, only to be punished by Eden Hazard and his Chelsea side; while Tottenham were reliant on two long range strikes, both stunning, to grab a 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage, that put them back in the race for a top four place.
There has been a slight improvement in Sunderland’s performances under new boss Gustavo Poyet, beating their fierce rivals Newcastle United and Manchester City, both at home, so Andre Villas-Boas will have to be wary of the confidence the Black Cats possess at home.
Carlos Cuellar will miss the Saturday Night Football game between the two sides – Gustavo Poyet still has a range of options to choose from.
Andre Villas-Boas, on the other hand, will have to rely on late fitness tests for Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele, while Emmanuel Adebayor, Christian Eriksen and Danny Rose will remain on the sidelines through injury.
7% – Tottenham Hotspur have the lowest conversion rate in the Premier League.
Tottenham are yet to score more than two goals in a Premier League game so far this season.
6 – Tottenham are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Sunderland.
Tottenham were 1-for-42 on shots on target pre-United – now 5-for-48. [via @MC_of_A Twitter]
Steven Fletcher has three goals in his last five games against Tottenham. [via Stats Zone]
The former Celtic man has been an integral part of Sunderland trying to be solid defensively, and while they have conceded the most goals alongside Norwich City this season (28), they have kept two clean sheets in the last five games, showing Gustavo Poyet is training his defence and his defensive midfield harder than under Di Canio in the earlier stages of the season.
The on-loan midfielder from Swansea City has impressed the Uruguayan manager in terms of his training and performances.
[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”” cite=”Gustavo Poyet on Ki Sung-Yeung” quotestyle=”style02″] It is still early doors and I don’t know how expensive he is. But we will see. He plays the type of football that I really admire. [/sws_blockquote_endquote]
So far this season in eight appearances, the South Korean international has won 57% of his ground duels, averaging 13.41 mins per ground 50-50, while winning 64% of his aerial duels. His reading of the game is the biggest asset the Sunderland midfielder has – Ki Sung-Yeung has a successful tackle % of 78.95% from a total of 19 tackles, while he has eight interceptions for the Black Cats.
While the on-loan midfielder from Swansea is adept in the defensive side of the game, he is equally adept in retaining possession. In terms of passing zones, Ki Sung-Yeung has a high passing rate in each third of the pitch.
If Sunderland are to get a result on Saturday evening, the South-Korean international will be integral to his side’s fortunes.
The 22-year old right back has, arguably, been Spurs’ most consistent performer so far this season, with an average WhoScored rating of 7.15.
While Tottenham have only looked brilliant in 20 minute spells of matches this season, Walker has proven to be their most creative outlet.
This was shown in their game against Fulham on Wednesday night. The England international created six chances for his team-mates at Craven Cottage, grabbing an assist in the process.
In terms of his season totals so far, in 14 Premier League games, Walker has created an abundance of chances for Tottenham, a total of 26 chances created in fact, his first assist however, as stated above, only come in their last match against Fulham.
Defensively, it seems this season Walker is finally getting used to Villas-Boas’ high defensive line, making just 1 defensive error this season, the Rooney equaliser for Manchester United on Sunday.
The Tottenham defender has a 50% ground 50-50 rate; averaging a ground duel every 12.6 minutes, while accumulating a 65% aerial duel win %, averaging an aerial 50-50 every 29.3 minutes.
Walker has been ever-present in the Spurs back four this season, resulting in the former Sheffield United man accumulating a tackle success rate of 77.78% [from a total of 27 tackles] – averaging a tackle every 47 minutes, and a total of 28 interceptions in 14 Premier League games.
If Spurs are to grab another invaluable three points at the Stadium of Light, it’s clear to see that Kyle Walker will be integral on the attacking front, bombing down the right wing, trying to assist the Tottenham front four in attack.
Prediction: Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham
Tottenham have the second best away form in the league, 13 points in 7 games, three behind Arsenal, and I expect Andre Villas-Boas’ side to continue their fine away form at the Stadium of Light, despite Gustavo Poyet wanting to get a result against his former club.