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    Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Sunderland: Match Report

    By Tom Regan

    Sunderland were faced with a disheartening 273 mile trip home after being crushed 4-1 by Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday’s televised lunchtime game at White Hart Lane.
    Mauricio Pochettino opted to rest both his full-backs, presumably with one eye on Wednesday’s FA Cup replay at Leicester. Danny Rose came in for Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier replaced Kyle Walker.

    Sam Allardyce gave hat-trick hero Jermain Defoe a start against the club he scored 143 goals in 363 appearances. It was clear that the Black Cats had set up with a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Danny Graham on the left and Jeremain Lens playing just off Defoe.
    Spurs welcomed Mousa Dembele back to the starting XI and it was the powerful Belgian that combined with Christian Eriksen to earn an early free kick towards the right. Erik Lamela crossed but Jan Vertonghen’s header was blocked.

    On four minutes, Harry Kane picked up the ball from Dembele and fired a shot towards goal, but Premier League debutant Jordan Pickford saved well just inside his left post.
    The north Londoners won another corner and Rose’s shot was blocked. Kane then found Alli who somehow scooped over from close range. In a familiar pattern, the Lilywhites were bossing proceedings yet they had nothing to show for their early domination.

    In the 16th minute, Dembele fed Eriksen on the left who then crossed for Kane, but Harry hit his shot well wide from a tricky angle. A few minutes later, Kane won a foul. Eriksen took the free kick but Dembele’s effort was blocked.
    Out of absolutely nowhere, Sunderland forged an attack and Lens hit a dipping 25 yard shot which landed comfortably wide of Hugo Lloris’s left post. Kane won several corners but both led to nothing. Dembele broke strongly from inside his own half after a rare corner from Allardyce’s side. He teed up Lamela on the left but the Argentinian fired wide across the goalmouth.

    The Black Cats had parked the bus, with Tottenham practically camped inside the opposition half. Completely against the run of play, Patrick van Aanholt gave the travelling side the lead on 41 minutes. The Dutch left-back raced onto Adam Johnson’s clever ball which had eluded Alli, and fired inside Lloris’s right post from the tight angle.
    The home faithful were despondent, but Pochettino’s side hit back instantly to put a smile back on their faces. Kane’s shot was blocked and the ball fell to Eriksen inside the area. The Dane scuffed his effort across Pickford and the ball was diverted into the net in desperate fashion by Lee Cattermole who had occupied a position on the line.

    Moments before the break, Sunderland won a free kick just outside the box of their opponents. Defoe took but Lloris easily held on.
    Two minutes after the interval, Cattermole was cautioned by Mike Dean for a foul on Rose. With Cattermole treading a tightrope, Allardyce was clearly concerned and Jack Rodwell replaced the feisty midfielder on 52 minutes.

    Spurs made a hash of a free kick in a dangerous area. Subsequently, the Black Cats broke at pace, and Johnson fed Defoe, but the striker hit the side netting at the Park Lane End.
    Following a Lilywhites free kick on the right, Lamela showed some cute skill and directed the ball towards Alli, but the wonderkid headed wide across goal. Vertonghen made a marauding run into Sunderland’s half before firing a right foot shot well over after being set up by Kane.

    Kane received from Rose and ran to his right before unleashing a powerful right foot effort which was saved superbly by Pickford.
    After a corner from the north Londoners, Rose’s effort was saved. The ball fell to Dembele who used his strength to carry the ball to his left before hitting an unstoppable shot low and hard to Pickford’s left to give his team the lead on the hour mark.

    On 67 minutes, Spurs took one step closer to sealing all three points. Dier picked out Eriksen who made it 3-1 with a heavily deflected shot that left Pickford helpless. Hopefully the confidence of the Danish playmaker will improve after finding the net for the first time since his brace against Swansea in early October.
    Pickford was forced into an agile save in the centre of his goal to prevent Kane from scoring following another advance from Vertonghen.

    Josh Onomah was introduced by the Lilywhites on 73 minutes, replacing Lamela. Allardyce withdrew Lens and introduced youngster Duncan Whatmore in a desperate attempt to get back into the game. However, the game was well and truly over when Jan Kirchoff impeded Rose as he cut in from the left. Mr Dean pointed to the spot, and Kane emphatically struck his 17th goal for club and country this term.
    Tom Carroll was given a cameo role when he replaced Dembele on 80 minutes, and Son Heung-min was a late substitute for Kane, but by this time the Lilywhites were coasting.

    Tottenham dominated throughout. Once again they fell behind to a goal from nowhere, but unlike the home defeat to Leicester, they turned their dominance into goals to walk away comfortable 4-1 winners.
    West Ham’s defeat at Newcastle will have rubbed further salt in the wound as Steve McClaren’s side escaped the bottom three leaving the Black Cats three points from safety. Pochettino’s side remain in fourth place, two points more than Manchester United who occupy fifth after a 1-0 win at Anfield.

    Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Crystal Palace gives them a four point lead over us. That team that originates from Woolwich drew along with Leicester which means we are only five points behind our bitter rivals who are unfortunately leading the way on goal difference.
    Spurs travel to Leicester on Wednesday night for an FA Cup replay, followed by a trip to Selhurst Park to face Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace side in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
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    Item Reviewed: Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Sunderland: Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Regan
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