Rebound. Tottenham Hotspur return to the familiar confines of White Hart Lane, just days after one of the most disappointing losses of the season. (To be fair, they've only had three.) Wednesday's match against Leicester could have put Spurs in the cat-bird seat for Champions League qualification and given them a real shot at a title run. Now, they're only a point above West Ham – West Ham, for God's sake – and their cushion has vanished.
Even a visit from hapless Sunderland may not be the panacea that we're all hoping for. Despite being downright terrible for large swaths of the season, the Black Cats have suddenly put things together, having won their last two matches. Of course, you say, those wins came against Aston Villa and Swansea, but they also came courtesy of five goals from former Spurs striker Jermain Defoe, who's now scored 12 in all competitions for Sunderland. If you think JD Trouble doesn't want to put a goal or three in against his old club, well, you don't know Defoe. He might even celebrate.
Spurs are still without Ryan Mason, Clinton N'Jie, and Alex Pritchard, but everyone else is back. It's only three days since their last match, but I'd expect a strong lineup again. Sunderland are without former Hotspur and Cabal leader Younes Kaboul, and Jack Rodwell is also listed as out. Steven Fletcher is also a doubt with a knock.
The #narrative is strong with this match, but anything other than a win and we start asking serious questions about whether this team really does have what it takes to make Champions League. This is the kind of match that Big Sam Allardyce loves to play, and he sometimes wins them too. So let's not lose.
Lineups will be posted when they are announced by the clubs.
How to Watch
Date/time: Saturday, January 16, 2016, 12:45 p.m. (UK), 7:45 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: White Hart Lane, North London, UK
Official: Mike Dean
TV: NBC Sports Network (USA), BT Sport 1 (UK), TSN4 (Canada), Fox Sports 4 (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also BBC Radio London, BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
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