Following a thrilling FA Cup victory over Wycombe Wanderers, Tottenham return to Premier League action in a midweek match under the lights at the Stadium of Light. Spurs will be looking to return to winning ways in the league following a hard fought (and not entirely deserved) 2-2 draw at The Etihad Stadium.
Tale of the Tape:
Spurs are unbeaten in their last seven league matches, six of which they’ve won, as well as collecting eight victories out of nine in all competitions since the 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford way back on the 11th of December. Having scored 21 league goals in their last seven matches, Spurs are prolific in front of goal at the moment and will look to maintain that against the Black Cats.
Sunderland – in contrast haven’t collected a league victory since the 17th of December against Watford at home and are really struggling right now. The only real glimmer of hope for the Sunderland fans was a strong performance to grind out a 2-2 draw vs Liverpool at the start of the month, they haven’t picked up a league point since.
In the last six meetings between the teams Spurs have won five and there has been one draw between the teams, 2-2 back in September 2014 at the Stadium of Light. The most recent meeting between the two was back in September when Spurs won 1-0 thanks to a Harry Kane tap-in. The last time the two sides met in the North East, Spurs picked up a late 1-0 victory thanks to a beautifully worked Ryan Mason goal. Off track from the preview but it has delighted everybody in the Spurs family that Ryan has been discharged from hospital and is likely to make a full recovery.
Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose have all made miraculous, full recoveries from the ‘injuries’ that kept them out of the Wycombe match. However, Georges Kevin N’Koudou and Kieran Trippier are unavailable following knocks they picked up vs Wycombe. Erik Lamela remains out, but is back in England and working on his recovery at Hotspur Way. Jan Vertonghen is also ‘a few weeks’ away from returning.
Sunderland have numerous injury problems at the minute. Papy Djilobodji is out (suspended) as well as Lynden Gooch, Jordan Pickford, Steven Pienaar, Javi Manquillo, Lee Cattermole, Jan Kirchoff, Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore and Victor Anichebe all either out or a doubt for the game. Dame N’Dong and Lamine Koné have returned from AFCON and most likely will be fit to play.
Predicted Sunderland XI:
Mannone, Jones, Koné, O’Shea, Love; Januzaj, Rodwell, Larsson, Denayer, Honeyman; Defoe
Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI:
Lloris; Dier, Alderweireld, Wimmer; Walker, Wanyama, Dembele, Rose; Eriksen, Alli, Kane
Prediction: Sunderland 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur
In a vital week for Spurs, today is a must-win game if Tottenham are to provide pressure to Chelsea who play Liverpool and Arsenal in their next two games. With the gap between the Lilywhites and the Blues being as big as it currently is, it is crucial to win today in order to attempt closing the gap at the top whilst consolidating a place in the top four. Sunderland are in the relegation zone and are in danger of going down, so they will want to get a result to try and rekindle their hopes of keeping their Premier League status, but if Spurs turn up, this game is likely to result in three points for Pochettino’s men.