Mauricio Pochettino made three changes to the team that started against Monaco midweek, which led to a rather surprising line up. Vertonghen was moved to left back and Dier dropped back into the centre of defense alongside Alderweireld. Dembele came in following the completion of his six-match domestic ban alongside Wanyama to form a new midfield partnership, and Sissoko made his first start for the club on the right wing, whilst Son occupied the left.
Spurs started brightly, with Vertonghen and Son both putting in dangerous crosses from the left early on, the latter of which Kane very nearly connected with. Sissoko also came close early on, flashing a shot just wide of goal after finding himself just inside the area. Son, who was enjoying a very lively start, beat his man with a step over before putting another good ball in with his left, which Kane diverted goalwards and forced Pickford into a very smart stop. There were also efforts from distance from Dembele and Wanyama which Pickford had to deal with early on, which he did pretty comfortably.
Spurs maintained their fast start and continued to threaten Sunderland’s goal. Pickford denied Kane once again after he fashioned a shot from an angle after a Sissoko cutback, and Alderweireld planted a header on target from the resulting corner which was also met by the gloves of the young ‘keeper. Son then blazed a shot over the bar minutes later, and then Dier took a free kick which also sailed high of Pickford’s goal.
After a dominant opening 20 minutes, Sunderland had their first chance after a long ball from Pickford was chased by Defoe, who’s persistence was rewarded with a close-range chance from an angle that Lloris got down to deal with. Spurs reacted to this with three attempts in quick succession when Son’s effort hit Kane, fell to Sissoko whose powerful volley was blocked brilliantly before the ball fell to Wanyama who volleyed wide.
There was a quiet fifteen minutes after this, but Son sparked Spurs back into life before half time with a good effort from the edge of the area that went wide off the post following a good run. Son then put in a sequence of dangerous corners, with the first flashing right across goal before deflecting off of Djilobodji at the back post. The next fell to Dembele on the edge of the area, whose right footed shot was deflected over for another corner. This corner was met by Sissoko at the near post as his attempt was blocked for yet another corner which Sunderland managed to clear.
Sunderland then went unbelievably close to taking the lead with a minute before half time when some sloppy defending allowed Januzaj to cut a ball back to Pienaar who had the majority of the goal to aim at from less than 10 yards out, but Walker got back excellently to block the former Spur’s effort on the line. Spurs finished the half with 72% possession and 19 attempts on goal to Sunderland’s three, but they could have easily have gone in behind if now for some expert defending by Kyle Walker.
Spurs enjoyed a similarly dominant start to the second half, with Son Heung-Min continuing to give the last minute inclusion, Jason Denayer a torrid time. Denayer was struggling to deal with Son’s direct dribbling and quick feet, and the majority of our attacks were coming down our left. However we then came close with an attack down our right, as full debutante Moussa Sissoke floated in a deep cross that Pickford had to claw away from Alli who was challenging at the far post. Moments later and Dembele slips a clever ball through to Son who fired a powerful left footed strike into the side netting. Son continued to be a threat, drilling a teasing ball across goal after completely skinning Denayer once more with some clever close control at pace just inside the area. Denayer picked up a booking for a foul on Son just a minute later.
It wasn’t until just under the hour mark for Spurs to get their long overdue first goal, as Kyle Walker’s deep cross is knocked down by Dele Alli for Kane to pounce on and finish well, punishing Djilobodji for failing to deal with the knockdown.
Sunderland had a chance soon after this, as the newly-brought-on Duncan Watmore found some space down the left and flashed in a cross that missed everyone. Kone then had a chance from a corner just after this, but he put his header well over.
Alli found a bit of space through the centre a while later and ran at Sunderland’s defence before hitting a shot goalwards which may have been going just wide, but Pickford still got a hand to. A chance fell to Eric Dier from the resulting corner, but he dragged the shot wide of the goal. Shortly after this Dembele, Dier and Kane were all brought off because of injuries. Although Dembele’s and Dier’s appear to be precautionary, it is possible that Kane’s could be serious as he required a stretcher to go off. Kane’s injury came as he won the ball back off of Djilibodji which eventually resulted in a chance for Lamela that he curled agonisingly wide, shortly after a shot of his was deflected wide from a very similar position in the box.
Sunderland went down to 10 men on 90 minutes, as Januzaj picked up his second yellow for a poor challenge on Ben Davies. Jansen had a chance to wrap things up within the six minutes of injury time after Lamela fed him the ball from a counter attack, but his effort was powered wildly over the bar. Spurs managed to see out the match and claimed a well-deserved three points although the scoreline doesn’t do Spurs’ dominance much justice at all.
Between the sticks –
Hugo Lloris: 7/10.
Was very rarely called upon, but did well to block Defoe’s chance. Distribution was hit and miss however.
Kyle Walker: 8/10.
A great performance by Kyle, playing a big part in Kane’s goal, and doing exceptionally well to deny Pienaar on the line.
Jan Vertonghen: 7/10.
Had a solid game at left back, and supported Son well down the left at times too.
Eric Dier: 6/10.
Looked comfortable on the ball on his return the centre of defence, but his error almost cost us a clean sheet just before half time
Toby Alderweireld: 8/10.
Classy and consistent. As always.
Victor Wanyama: 7/10.
Did well to deal with Sunderland’s physicality. Threatened the goal on a couple of occasions aswell
Moussa Dembele: 8/10.
Played as if he’d never been away, although his early exit may show that he’s not quite match fit yet.
Moussa Sissoko: 7/10.
Showed what he’s all about on his full debut. A strong, physical approach on the wing, and got into some good positions.
Dele Alli: 7/10.
A quiet game by Alli’s standards. Linked well with Son on occasions and did manage to set up Kane’s goal.
Heung-Min Son: 9/10.
Possibly his best performance in a Spurs shirt. Quick, skilful and dangerous. Looking like the player we thought we’d signed a year ago.
Harry Kane: 8/10.
Worked hard and got in enough good positions to earn himself another goal. Let’s hope the injury isn’t too serious.
Erik Lamela: 6/10.
Tried to inject creativity but his passing was off. Missed a couple of chances also.
Vincent Janssen: 6/10.
Only a short run out, but should have done a lot better with his chance.
Ben Davies: 4/10.
Looked nervous and never really caught up with the pace of the match. Put us under unnecessary pressure.
Man of The Match:
Heung-Min Son was exceptional today. Dominated his full back with speed and trickery, and offered a dangerous end product. Looked threatening whether he went down the line or cut inside. Was by far the standout player today.
Gillingham at home in the League Cup. Wednesday 21st September. Kick off at 20:00.