The Premier League is back after its international break and sees Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side travel to Wearside to face Sunderland. Both teams come into the game hoping to bounce back from defeats. The Black Cats will have the pressure on their shoulders having not won any of their first three games, whilst Tottenham will want to continue the momentum which saw them win both their opening fixtures.
Sunderland were very busy during the summer, bringing in nine players, which could be the reason for their stuttering start to the season so far. The players are yet to gel and find the right cohesion but that will all come within time or so Gus Poyet believes. Draws against West Brom and then Man Utd were followed by a disappointing 1-0 defeat away to QPR but their next three fixtures include Burnley and Swansea, as well as Spurs, so Poyet will feel that there is points up for grabs. The Black Cats have done well against the top teams in recent times with positive results away to Chelsea and Man City last season helping consolidate their position in the top division for another campaign.
Tottenham started the season in good form after a narrow win against West Ham on the opening day thanks to a last minute winner from Eric Dier. That was followed up by a comfortable 4-0 win at home to QPR which left them top of the league after the second round of fixtures. Players such as Lamela and Chadli, who were mediocre in the past year, had started to show their worth on the pitch but that joy was ended by Liverpool in their next match. A dominant display from the Reds blew away Spurs and showed that they have a way to go if they are to challenge against the bigger teams in the league.
Gus Poyet has no injuries to worry about and those coming back from international duty are fit and ready to go. The Black Cats may look to go in with one striker meaning either Fletcher or Wickham will miss out in order to bring more solidarity in the centre with an extra midfielder.
Spurs have a few players that are touch and go for the trip to the Stadium of Light. Full-back Eric Dier and Danny Rose both picked up knocks in the defeat to Liverpool but should be fit enough to be considering for selection. Roberto Soldado will undergo a late fitness test to see whether he has recovered from a neck injury. Kyle Walker is still missing due to a groin problem and new signing Federico Fazio could feature for his debut in the heart of defence.
- Tottenham are unbeaten in the last 8 fixtures between the two sides, winning six and drawing two.
- Tottenham have only lost two of their last seven competitive matches.
- Sunderland have not won in any of their last four Premier League matches.
- Since their 5-1 defeat to Tottenham last season, Sunderland have only lost three of their last 10 Premier League matches.
- Tottenham defender Eric Dier has scored only one goal less (2 goals) than the whole Sunderland team this season (3 goals).
Recent Head to Head Results
2013/2014 Mon 07 Apr Tottenham 5 – 1 Sunderland
2013/2014 Sat 07 Dec Sunderland 1 – 2 Tottenham
2012/2013 Sun 19 May Tottenham 1 – 0 Sunderland
2012/2013 Sat 29 Dec Sunderland 1 – 2 Tottenham
2011/2012 Sat 07 Apr Sunderland 0 – 0 Tottenham
2011/2012 Sun 18 Dec Tottenham 1 – 0 Sunderland
Sunderland: Jack Rodwell
Many people thought it was a risk for Sunderland to buy Jack Rodwell as he has not been consistently fit for a number of seasons now, which included a two year injury ridden spell at Man City. However, he looks to have put the injuries behind him since joining Sunderland, starting all three Premier League games so far and looks set to start in the game against Tottenham. Not only has he been starting in Sunderland games, but he has also had quite an impact in the games he has featured in so far, grabbing the equaliser in the game against Manchester United, which finished 1-1. He generally likes to dictate play in the middle, similar to when he was at Everton and a good passing accuracy rate goes a long way with 84% of his 70 passes being accurate so far. As well as this he has also been successful with 44% of his tackles so far this term which is important for him as he looks to dispossess and break up opposition attacks. As he missed out of an England call-up this time he will look to try to impress and secure his name for the next England squad.
Tottenham: Emmanuel Adebayor
It was no real secret that Tottenham were on the hunt for a striker during the transfer window, but as they did not find the right man it is most likely that Emanuel Adebayor will continue to lead the attack for Tottenham. As he now knows that his first team place was in jeopardy and could easily be again by the next transfer window, he needs to play well enough to convince Pochettino that they do not need another striker. So far this season Adebayor has scored just the one goal, which came in the 4-0 win against QPR, so Sunderland fans won’t be too worried about that stat but they may be worried about the fact that he scored twice against them in a 5-1 victory for Tottenham last time the two teams met. His goal scoring record since he started playing regular football for Tottenham around winter time last season has been very impressive, averaging just over a goal every two games with 11 goals in 21 appearances last season. Not only has his goal scoring record been impressive but creatively he has been good as he has already created 5 chances this season with one assist, coupled with 34 chances and 4 assists last season.
I actually fancy Sunderland to cause an upset on the weekend. They played well against Man United in their last home match and I think they can go one better and pull off a big result in front of their fans.
My Prediction: Sunderland 2-1 Tottenham
Eric Lamela has been in fine form this season and you can back him to grab an assist against Sunderland at 4.5 here http://goo.gl/AexpRN