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    Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland: Match Preview

    By Tom Regan

    Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping to bounce back from defeat against Leicester City when they welcome Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland to White Hart Lane in Saturday’s Premier League clash.
    Champions League hopefuls Spurs lost 1-0 at home to Leicester City, while the Black Cats boosted their chances of securing their Premier League status with a 4-2 win against fellow strugglers Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.

    The north Londoners produced a host chances against the Foxes but they could not capitalize and were left to rue a missed opportunity. Victory would have sent Mauricio Pochettino’s side within four points of rivals and league leaders Arsenal.
    The home faithful were pretty dejected following Leicester’s triumph, however, those connected with the club should be realistic about what the club can achieve this term.

    The prime goal is to finish in the Champions League. At one stage, the Lilywhites were being touted as title contenders, but is must be remembered that this promising young team have the youngest average starting line-up in the division (24 years and 296 days). A top four finish is very realistic, but talk of the title is surely too hasty.
    Tottenham’s home form of late is a slight concern, but only Manchester City and Arsenal have collected more points on their own patch than Spurs. The north Londoners have won just once in their last four Premier League fixtures in N17.

    Creating chances hasn’t been a problem, but finishing them off certainly has. Pochettino’s side must be more clinical than they were against Leicester. In total, 21 shots were fired at Kasper Schmeichel’s goal, but the Danish shot-stopper was only called into action on five occasions.
    A man who did know how to find the back of the net for the Lilywhites is now plying his trade for Sunderland. Jermaine Defoe is in clinical form of late, and his old club could have done with his expert finishing on Wednesday night.

    The 33 year old has five goals in his last two games following a hat-trick against Swansea and a brace in the previous fixture against Aston Villa.
    The Black Cats are starting to show some strong form at just the right time as they fight to stay in the top flight of England, with just one point separating them from safety.

    It is worth noting that Sam Allardyce’s side have a terrible record when it comes to playing away from the Stadium of Light. Prior to the win against Swansea, they had picked up the least amount of points than any other club in the division.
    Team News

    Mousa Dembele has recovered from a groin problem and may be included in the starting XI after playing the final 20 minutes in the defeat to Leicester.

    England midfielder Ryan Mason (ankle) is out alongside Clinton N’Jie (Knee). Alex Pritchard (ankle) has returned to full training for the first time since August, but the Sunderland game comes too early for the youngster.
    Sam Allardyce is unlikely to make many changes, although Sebastian Coates may step in at centre-back if the injury prone Wes Brown is unable to play two games in a week.

    New striker Dame N’Doye arrives from Trabzonspor, but he is unable to be included due to his work permit not being finalised in time.
    Under the terms of the loan agreement between the two clubs, DeAndre Yedlin will not be able to feature for the visitors.

    Head To Head
    - Tottenham have won eight and lost none of their last 11 Premier League games against Sunderland.

    - You have to go back even further to find Sunderland's last win at White Hart Lane, which was in August 2008 thanks to goals from Kieran Richardson and Djibril Cisse.

    - When the two sides met at the Stadium of Light earlier in the season, Spurs won 1-0 courtesy of Ryan Mason's 82-minute strike.

    - Spurs also lead the overall head to head record between the two sides, having won 48 matches to Sunderland's 37.

    Betting Odds (bet365)

    Tottenham: 4/11
    Draw: 9/2
    Leicester: 8/1
    Match Prediction

    Tottenham haven’t won in their last three games, however, in those fixtures they have played well but without reward. Maurico Pochettino has urged his side to stay calm, and if they can do so on Saturday lunchtime I can’t see anything other than a convincing home win.
    The Lilywhites must be spurred on by their most recent meetings against the Black Cats. They haven’t lost to their opponents in their last five meetings, and haven’t failed to score against them since 2012.

    I think the north Londoners will win comfortably, but I think Sunderland will find the net and I can’t help but feel that Defoe will bag one against his former employers.
    Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Sunderland (11/1 with bet 365)

    Jermaine Defoe (10/3 to score at anytime with bet365)
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    Item Reviewed: Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Regan
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