Tottenham Hotspur are set to host Sunderland A.F.C. in their fifth Premier League match of the 2016-17 season. Tottenham's drubbing of Stoke City over the weekend provided them with their first comprehensive win of the season. At eight point in four games, they are in sole possession of fifth place in the Premier League table.
This emphatic result was overshadowed by Spurs' disappointing Champions League loss to Monaco on Wednesday at Wembley Stadium. Tottenham dominated large swaths of the second half, and were supported by eighty-five thousand plus fans, but were unable to earn a point in their first match in Group E.
Unable to secure points off anyone has been a trend for the visiting Black Cats in this young season. Sunderland sit in nineteenth place in the Premier League table, tied with Stoke on points, but ahead of the Potters with a more favorable goal differential (-5). Sunderland have struggled this year and aren't particularly good at football. Their only victory this term came against Shrewsbury Town in the EFL cup with a 1-0 victory and their only point in the league, albeit against a decent Southhampton side, came before the international break.
The focal point of their attack is a familiar face; Spurs legend Jermain Defoe. Our former hero has been their talisman in attack and has been quite productive too — netting two goals this season and fourteen in total last year. Adam Januzaj, on loan from Manchester United, is their most creative presence in attack and Fabio Borini, whether he starts or not, has a decent amount of Premier League experience. To be put in bluntly, they are pretty miserable going forward.
Their outside backs, from a sheer positional standpoint, are probably the club's greatest strength. Javier Manquillo, a Spanish youth international was loaned from Atletico Madrid this summer and is highly rated, while Patrick Van Aanholt, the former Chelsea and Dutch international, provides pace and strength at the left-back spot. Murmurs have hit the media that Sunderland's backline are having trouble communicating with newboys Papy Djilobodji and the aforementioned Manquillo, who both lack proficient English. If true, it can complicate matters further for an already troubled side.
If there was ever an opponent to bounce back against, it is Sunderland A.F.C. While the sour taste of Wednesday's loss lingers, eleven points in five matches is a fine start to any Premier League season. Tottenham will attempt to reach this feat on Sunday.
How to Watch
Date/time: Sunday, September 18th, 2016, 4:30.p.m. (UK), 11:30 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: The Stadium of Light, Sunderland, UK
Official: Mike Dean
TV: NBCSN (USA), Sky Sports 1/HD (UK), Sportsnet (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London, BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
Mauricio Pochettino indicated that Danny Rose will miss another week or so with his hamstring injury, thus Ben Davies will retain his starting spot at left-back. The big addition to the team this weekend is Mousa Dembélé. Like clockwork, Spurs improved vastly upon his entrance in the second half against Monaco and there is no reason why he won't get a full run-in against the Black Cats. It is cathartic to pencil him in.
Eric Dier could get another start, as its unlikely for him to feature against Gillingham, but I think Pochettino wants a pretty honest rotation with him and Wanyama. Dier should get the nod for the really big matches, but save fixtures against upper echelon Premier League sides and Champions League ties, Dier will give way for Wanyama and vice versa. Its Wanyama's turn on Sunday.
The front four are tricky. Son was the MOTM against Stoke, but was poor in Wednesday's match against Monaco. Erik Lamela featured in three games in eight days, with heavy travel in between, and logged a decent amount of minutes in each match. Poche could look to give him a break so he is fully rested for the Middlesborough and CSKA Moscow fixtures that loom on the horizon.
While Eriksen or Alli haven't sat much, they will get their rest against Gillingham and should start. That primes Moussa Sissoko for his first appearance in the starting eleven. It might be a tough pill for Son to swallow, but for whatever reason, Poche seems to sacrifice him first in these situations.
As for the strikers, neither Kane or Janssen are in red hot form. Yet both players are working hard when on the pitch and do a lot of the small things, often unnoticed, really, really well. It would have been a great opportunity for Janssen to start, but unfortunately Harry Kane isn't clicking in front of net just yet. One of Poche's main priorities must be to get the hub of Spurs' attack scoring. Who better to kick start his engine than Sunderland A.F.C.?
Everyone save our resident pessimist and Tyrannical Overlord of Doom, Bryan A., picked Spurs to beat Stoke. Nobody was so brash to foresee a 4-0 victory. Bryan picked Spurs to beat Sunderland on Sunday. What is life???
A reminder of the scoring: one point for predicting the result, two points for nailing the exact score.
|Earl of Shoop||2|
Dustin Menno: Sunderland will have Jermain "JD Trouble" Defoe, but will be without Lee Cattermole. And what's Sunderland without Lee Cattermole?! I expect some mild rotation, but no Champions League hangover. Spurs 2-0.
Matthew Pachniuk: Could be one of those annoying matches, where its impossible to see anything but a thrashing for our opponent, yet it turns out to be a real battle for ninety minutes. Not ruling this out of the realm of possibility, but hot damn are Sunderland bad. On paper they might be the worst team in the Premier League. Spurs lock it up defensively and Moose is back. 3-0 Spurs.
Luke Zimmerman: After a massive let down return to Champs League play, Spurs let all their frustrations out on a hapless David Moyes side. 3-0, Spurs.
Ed F.: My initial gut instinct told me that this might be a game where Moyes could capitalise on our frustrations v Monaco to Moyes his way to a goalless draw, but this Sunderland side just don't look up to the task of shutting us out. 2-0 Spurs.
Pardeep Cattry: Spurs will be looking to rebound from their disappointing Champions League opener, and may also rotate the lineup a little, which may include a first glimpse of Mous(s)a Dembélé in the league this season. Sunderland will do their best, but it won't amount to much, as Vinny J will have a good day and grab his first for Spurs. Tottenham 2-0.
Jake Meador: Spurs 1-0. Harder than it has any business being but UCL hangovers are real. We grind out a victory thanks to a Dier set piece goal.
Bryan Ashlock: Even I am hard pressed to find a way that this one isn't a win for Spurs. Even with a possible Champions League hangover, Spurs are better than Sunderland. Maybe, just maybe, this is the time Jermaine Defoe finally scores against us, but even that probably won't prevent us from winning. I'll go ahead and call this a 3-1 win for Spurs.
Ben Daniels: Sunderland are terrible and I have no idea what Moyes is trying to do with that team. It's a disaster. 3-0 Spurs. Even Steven Pienaar can't save you, Moyes.
Alex Greenberg: I still love Defoe, but I'm not sure even he can save Sunderland this season. Our Mousa's dominate and lead us to a 2-0 victory. Adnan Januzaj to get sent off for flopping.
GN Punk: This should be a slam dunk. Should be. Seriously. Sunderland are not good and Spurs are very good. Let's bounce back in a right way. Spurs 3-1.
Brian Mechanick: The Spurs offense seems to be rolling, and that is some exciting stuff. Give me two Kane goals, a corner kick that gets knocked in, and of course a spolier goal from the eternal Jermain Defoe. 3-1 Spurs.
Brian Meyers: Sunderland are bad and if we don't beat them we should feel bad. 2-0 Spurs, both goals in first half and the second half is a cakewalk.
Earl of Shoop: Coming off a shitty and frustrating loss to Monaco in our first CL fixture in what I believe was 97 years (did not have time to fact check) we're looking to crush someone. Sadly for Mackems everywhere, Sunderland Association Football Club drew the short straw. Spurs 4-0 in back-to-back PL blowouts. RIP Sunderland AFC.
Salmon Chase: After being shredded in midfield thanks to a lineup that said "Hey world look how big our attaching d**k is" then showing the world we could be countered like a beast when we don't provide cover in the middle and just say "Dier's got it"... Doesn't work like that. We go back to the old way this weekend and we are gonna beat up on the Black Cats until they are blue too. 3-0 Spurs
Skipjack: Tottenham is going to stomp a mud hold in Sunderland and walk it dry. 3-0 Spurs