Sunderland vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Final score 1-2, Spurs make enough chances for three games

Jan Kruger

Tottenham Hotspur only scored twice and had to sweat out a result late against Sunderland, but Saturday's performance was probably their best attacking effort of the season.

Tottenham Hotspur still aren't scoring in bunches or exactly where they want to be, but they're up to sixth in the table after notching their second consecutive away win. Sunderland looked dangerous late and almost scored an equalizer on a few occasions, but Spurs were the better side on the day and earned a 2-1 win.

The first half hour of the match was largely uneventful, with neither team doing anything of note in the other's penalty area. Just as Spurs started to find their footing, they conceded a terrible goal, thanks to a bad error by Hugo Lloris. The Tottenham keeper came out for a cross by Ondrej Celustka, but made an awful punch. The ball fell right to Adam Johnson, who smashed past Lloris to give Sunderland a lead in the 36th minute.

Spurs hit back before halftime, giving the away fans (and probably themselves) a bit of a confidence boost heading into the changing room. Paulinho was the scorer, pouncing on a loose ball in the box off a corner to score from just inside 10 yards.

Things fell apart early in the second half for Sunderland. Spurs took the lead in the 50th minute off a goal created by an ambitious run and cross by Mousa Dembele, though the finish was certainly lucky. His low cross from the left flank hit the leg of John O'Shea and bounced into the back of the net.

Spurs had a host of chances afterwards, but couldn't convert any of them. Jermain Defoe hit the woodwork on two occasions and Adam Johnson cut out a cross that Lewis Holtby looked sure to get on the end of not long after the O'Shea own goal.

Sunderland will feel aggrieved that they didn't get a penalty in the 74th minute, when Sandro clearly handled the ball in the box and deliberately used his arm to make a clearance.

Notes:

- That was by far our best attacking performance of the year. It was the perfect example of a lot of the data MCofA has presented about chance conversion being largely random. That was bad luck more than it was bad finishing. On another day, we score 6 goals.

- Etienne Capoue is our second best central defender behind Jan Vertonghen. This is kind of terrifying?

- Kyle Naughton was competent enough that I don't want to see Verts at LB ever again.

- Roberto Soldado is still better than Jermain Defoe

- Townsend on the left was very nice. He made two clear chances in 5 minutes after he came on, and also had a nice right-footed shot late. More of this.

- Dembele-Paulinho still isn't great defensively. I get why we rested Sandro, but I still think it should be a one or the other thing.

- Lewis Holtby's first 30 minutes were pretty blah, but from the half-hour mark until he was subbed off, he was arguably our best player. Not coincidentally, Spurs were crap for the first 30 minutes and excellent afterwards.

- Let's pretend that Hugo Lloris error didn't happen.

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