Coming off a bitter defeat to Stoke last Sunday and the disappointment of being eliminated of the Europa League midweek Spurs turn their attention to a home match against Sunderland tomorrow. The team news this week sees Michael Dawson (achilles) and Tom Huddlestone (ankle) both out with their long-term injuries. In addition Ledley King (knee) and Roman Pavlyuchenko (back) are both doubtful for Sunday with short-term injury. Spurs will also be without Younes Kaboul at the center back position while he serves a one game suspension after his red card last week. That will leave Gallas to be paired with Bassong in the center of the defense. Niko Kranjcar is back in the fold though after playing in the mid-week Europa League match versus Shamrock and should be selected to the bench. As for the rest of the line-up I would expect the usual suspects in the 4-4-1-1 with Van der Vaart looking to play a better game than last week sitting in the hole.
This preview is going to be short and sweet because the game is more about what Spurs do rather than what Sunderland does. Spurs need to set the tempo and play their type of game from the opening whistle. This did not happen last week where it took 20-25 minutes before Tottenham got a foot into the game but getting off to a fast start shouldn’t be a problem in front of the home supporters. The plan should be to come out attacking put Sunderland on the defensive (even though they can offer a threat on the counter) and take an early lead. The only trouble man I will point out in the Sunderland squad is Seb Larsson. It will be important for Assou-Ekotto to have a solid game to shut down the threat of the Swede on the right flank. Larsson is deadly on set pieces and Spurs will have to limit fouls near the box so he doesn’t have a crack at free kicks from dangerous areas.
I fully expect Spurs to bounce back from the Stoke match and put on a good show at the Lane. Tottenham should be able to control the tempo, keep possession, and create plenty of chances that were the keystones of their 11 match unbeaten streak. Sunderland hasn’t allowed more than 2 goals in an EPL match this year so far and I wouldn’t expect them to allow more on Sunday.
Tottenham 2 – Sunderland 1