Sunderland (Away)
Premier League

Saturday 12th February 2011

With a record in the North East worse than the Crazy Frog, Tottenham return to the Stadium of Light hoping for better as they seek to push their claim for a Champions League place at the end of the season.

Having earned a point with a late, late equaliser at Newcastle a couple of weeks back and hit a later winner at home to Bolton last week, the team might be hoping for a performance more like that at Blackburn where they defended an early goal ... or at least be ahead rather than have to come back yet again.

While Sunderland made signings in the January transfer window and managed to hold onto their prized possession of Jordan Henderson, they might have come out of it slightly the weaker, with Darren Bent having moved on ... albeit for a huge amount of money.  With the money brought in, it has been re-invested in Stephane Sessignon of Paris St. Germain and on the loan signing of Internazionale midfielder Sulley Munatari, both of whom made a positive impact on the side in their first game, but could not stop the Black Cats slipping to a 2-3 defeat at Stoke City.

They add different abilities to the midfield, with Muntari a ball-winner and passer, with the Frenchman Sessignon a slighter, but skilful player, who might bring more chances for the forwards at the club.  However, that is an area of the team that was weakened in January, with Danny Welbeck suffering a hamstring injury and Darren Bent leaving suddenly for Aston Villa.  With Asamoah Gyan hitting the net since his arrival, there is a regular scorer in the team, but a knee injury to former Spurs loanee Frazier Campbell has kept him out long term, leaving only midfielder Kieran Richardson to push forward in support.  the move has proved a good one with the former Manchester United man scoring a few goals of late.

And in midfield, despite the loss of Lee Cattermole and David Mayler through injury, there are sufficient options for Steve Bruce to choose from.  Henderson is a well regarded prospect and he can be good on the ball and get onto the ball in the box after starting moves, but he sometimes gets over-involved in the physical stuff, when his physique isn't always the best to get caught up in that side of the game  Steed Malbranque has been working the left hand side of the pitch in his inimitable style, which made him a favourite at the Lane during his stay with Spurs and Ahmed Elohamady is an Egyptian who has a trick in his armoury, but might lack the experience of playing in the top flight to make a great impact in games at the moment.  He can be quick though and cannot be allowed space wide on the right.

Craig Gordon had a nightmare game against Stoke last week, making poor decisons on when to come for the ball and lacking a determination to make the ball his.  The Scottish international had been a solid keeper, making some outstanding saves earlier in the season, but this may have knocked his confidence, meaning that Spurs should put him under pressure and whether this involved high balls to Crouch right in his face, we will see.  The alternative is Simon Mignolet, a Belgian keeper, who is another one for the future, but he has showed weaknesses in his game, with stopping shots being an issue for the manager when considering his selection.

Phil Bardsley featured for Scotland in the week and has had a solid season, as befits a man of his shape, while John Mensah, Anton Ferdinand and Titus Bramble have been contesting the absent Michael Turner's place in the middle of defence.  Bramble and Ferdinand have been around long enough to be Premier League stalwarts, but have lacked the consistency of their peers, leaving them in and out of the side, while Mensah is a strong figure and is good in the air and athletic on the ground.  Nedum Onuoha is on loan from Manchester City and plays at full back, from where he likes to maraud forward and he is strong and quick, making him a useful asset.  He's also good in the air and as his services seem surplus to requirements at Eastlands, he could well make the move to Sunderland permanent in the summer.

As for Tottenham, key players are missing again in Bale and Modric, who are the two creators in the side, but van der Vaart can fulfil that role, should he overcome a calf injury and with Steven Pienaar gelling better with each game, there should be enough to give the home side a few more problems than we did last season ... especially if we don't give away three penalties !!

Spurs need to get off to a good start and not lose possession cheaply.  This should ensure that it makes it a little frustrating for the Black Cats and if Defoe can just get one goal, it might open the floodgates for him.  A more solid 4-4-2 might achieve that, but being away from home, a 4-5-1 is more likely to be the order of the day.  It is important that whoever plays the 1 is able to hold the ball until Pienaar and Lennon can get up in support.  One problem of playing that system, is that the ball keeps coming back at the defence, who need to stay strong.

While there is a need to win and keep on the tails of Chelsea and Manchester City, there might just be a reality check and Spurs might have to settle for a share of the spoils with a low scoring match against the side two places below them and wanting to show they can make the step up to where Spurs are, seeing it end ...

PREDICTION : -    Sunderland    1      Tottenham Hotspur    1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


SUNDERLAND :  -   Lee Cattermole (out - back); Danny Welbeck (out - hamstring); David Meyler (out - knee); Michael Turner (out - knee); Frazier Campbell (out - knee); - (-); - (-); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Ledley King (out - groin); Luka Modric (out - appendicitis); Tom Huddlestone (out - ankle); Younes Kaboul (out - knee); Rafael van der Vaart (doubtful - calf); - (-); - (-);


ESPN -  - (live coverage)
Sky Sports 1 -  Football First  -  Saturday 20.25
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 - 23.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:40 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Sunday 22.35 - 23.35 (highlights)  Also available online.
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

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please click here and see if there are any such facilities who have contacted MEHSTG in the area near to the ground.

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Sunderland   1    Tottenham Hotspur   2      (Half-time score : 1-1)

Premier League
Venue :  -  Stadium of Light
Saturday 12th February 2011
Kick Off :  17.30 p.m.
Crowd :   40,986
Referee :  Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Spurs kicked off and played towards the North Stand end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Chilly, dry
Teams : - 
Sunderland :

  1  Gordon

  2  Bardsley
  5  Mensah
19  Bramble
15  Onuoha  (  7  Zenden 83)

  3  Richardson      
10  Henderson
  8  Malbranque  (27 Elhamady 76)

33  Gyan 
28  Sessegnon

Unused subs: 
12  Angelieri
29  Ferdinand
25  Colbeck

Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes      

22  Corluka 
20  Dawson (c)       
13  Gallas
32  Assou-Ekotto

40  Pienaar (  7  Lennon 78)
30  Sandro
  8  Jenas      
21  Kranjcar 

  9  Pavlyuchenko      
(12  Palacios 87)

Unused subs: 
19  Bassong
39  Woodgate
36  Khumalo

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of

  Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  

Gyan  11

Tottenham Hotspur

Dawson  44
Kranjcar  57

Cards : -  

Muntari (foul)  33
Richardson (unsporting behaviour) 67



Tottenham Hotspur  

Dawson (foul)  45+1
Gomes (time-wasting)  75
Pavlyuchenko (kicking ball away)  80
Jenas (foul)  86


Match Report : -  
Once more Tottenham successfully came back from a goal down to take all three points in a good little urn of three wins in winnable games, which were all lose-able too, but at Sunderland, there was a special significance, as it took Spurs past the 1,000 points total in their Premier League history.

A sloppy goal to concede saw Spurs struggle for much of the first half, but one just before half-time and another just over ten minutes into the second half gave them a well won three points that jumps the team up to fourth for a little while.

Tottenham had actually started the game looking good, with some crisp passing, they took the game to the Black Cats.  Defoe made a good run on the left after picking up a ball out of defence, turning back to play the ball into the box for Jermaine Jenas' run to take a shot in his stride, but he put it too high in the fourth minute.  Sunderland hit back with a Malbranque volley from a headed clearance that looked like it might be on target until it hit one of his own players in front of Gomes and the deflection took the ball wide.

While everyone was settling into the game, William Gallas was having boot trouble and was off the side of the pitch putting a new pair of yellow boots on to replace the pair of yellow boots he had started in.  But the home side took advantage of their one man advantage with a ball in to Asamoah Gyan from the left that saw the Ghanaian take the ball down and swivel to shoot home past Gomes' dive to his left and the ball nestled in the bottom corner of the net, while Gallas was still making his way back towards the penalty area.

It was an amateurish way to concede a goal and one which will not help us when we continue to make such sloppy starts to matches.

Sunderland built on the goal and some good possession play ended with new signing Sessegnon hitting a shot straight at Heurelho Gomes, while Spurs then had their best move so far, when Vedran Corluka pushed up on the right wing and slipped a pass inside to Sandro, who took the ball into the area, but got over-excited, hitting his shot over the top.  Niko Kranjcar took an early shot that went wide and Jenas hit a free-kick hopelessly too high with Phil Bardsley moving into attack from the back to shoot over the bar, when no Spurs player moved to close him down.

Teaming Pavlyuchenko up front with Defoe has not always been the most slick pairing, but Pav was putting a bit more effort than usual in, although not getting much of an opportunity to get shots on target, so when he got the ball on the right and ran diagonally to the left, exchanging passes with Kranjcar on the way, he found some space towards the left corner of the box and from just outside let fly with his left foot to send the ball a couple of feet over the top.

Spurs had looked vulnerable at the back in the earlier stages, but as the half went on things got sorted out and they looked less likely to let another one in, so holding the score at 0-1 at the break would have been their aim, but Mensah conceded a corner and from it, Steven Pienaar floated the ball over and he was not picked up by a red and white shirt, leaving him a free header at goal from around the penalty spot.  As it went towards goal, Craig Gordon seemed to be behind it in the middle of his goal, but as William Gallas ran across his line of sight, he took his eye off the ball and let it go between his legs and into the net.  It was an unexpected gift, with an equaliser so close to the break and as always, "a good psychological time to score."

Harry would have been happier going to the dressing room with the scores level rather than being behind, but there were still things to resolve, as the midfield had been given a hard time by the closing down by their Sunderland counterparts.  

As it was, the second half could not have been more different.  Spurs started well again and that continued for most of the half, with Sunderland failing to cause the Tottenham defence too much trouble. 

Spurs had already had one effort cleared off the line in the 52nd minute before they scored again.  A corner came in and Dawson once more had a free header, but this time the ball dropped in the six yard box after a block and Gallas tried to flick it under Gordon, but the keeper got something on it and as Defoe and Gallas closed in on the loose ball, Bardsley kicked it away from in front of an empty goal.  At the other end, Gomes had to beat out a shot from Steed Malbranque that came past Sandro's shoulder and then he caught a stinging drive from Sessignon that was straight at him, but then Spurs moved up-field with a sweeping move that caught Sunderland not tracking back.  The ball was played wide on the right to Sandro, who had made a perceptive run.  The Brazilian swung the ball into the box towards Defoe on the penalty spot, but Mensah won the header away.  Unfortunately for him, it only fell to Niko, about 20 yards out and the Croatian struck a right footed volley that flew low past the outstretched arm of Gordon and into the bottom right hand corner of the Scottish keeper's goal in the 57th minute.  it was a well controlled shot and one that added to Kranjcar's late winner of last week, thus proving a further point to Redknapp that he is worth a place in the side.

Spurs were now more comfortable in possession, as the midfield were making better angles to receive the ball and were getting in the face of the Sunderland players.  A move that went through Defoe, Kranjcar and Corluka saw a tight bit of play on the right touchline release Pav and he got to the dead ball line to put a low ball into the six yard box.  Gordon managed to cut it out by diving to hold it, but a chipped ball to the far post would have seen Jenas running in.

With the gossip earlier in the day about Spurs' interest in Sunderland's Kieron Richardson, he did little to justify a move for him.  His petulant behaviour made a bit of a mockery of his comments about Spurs lacking a winning mentality ... the sort that was bred into him at Old Trafford.  Well, his bad-mouthing of the ref and a push on Corluka (similar to that which got Diaby sent off last week at Newcastle, except Charlie didn't go down as easily as Nolan) finally got him in the book, when he could easily have been in for a couple of other incidents, had Mike Jones been more even-handed with his application of the laws.  Anyway, he contributed little to Sunderland's play and I am not sure he would be any better than the players we have already.

As it was, any sort of response form Sunderland was not forthcoming and Tottenham only had to deal with a long-range shot from Muntari that flew wide of Gomes' right hand post and Richardson's shot that went way too high.  The former United man did scrape the top of the bar with a shot that Sandro did well to get a challenge in on the edge of the box to put him off, but if it had been any lower Heurelho had it covered.

As far as we were concerned, it looked more likely that we would score again, with our play on the break as good as ever.  Jenas played the ball out left to Pavlyuchenko and the Russian got to the dead ball line to put a low ball into the six yard box.  Gordon managed to cut it out by diving to hold it, but a chipped ball to the far post would have seen Jenas running in.  it was typified by Michael Dawson breaking up a move on the edge of his own box and taking the ball to halfway, before giving it to Pav, who passed to Wilson Palacios, on as a sub for Defoe and he got to the edge of the Sunderland box before running out of ideas and having the ball taken off him.

Sessignon hit a late shot straight at Gomes and that was it really.  Spurs had won at Sunderland for the first time in ten years and taken their Premier League points total beyond 1,000.  Winning with a much changed side and with some key players missing ahead of the Champions League game on Tuesday shows that we are perhaps getting accustomed to playing in the top European competition and making a challenge at the top of the Premier League.  Sandro had by far his best game for the club and his emergence as a box to box midfielder alongside Jenas gives the side the capacity to play on the break and have enough in that area of the team to cover defensively too.

We need to get our forwards scoring again though, as the midfield are weighing in with more than their fair share of goals, but it doesn't matter who scores, as long as we keep on our good run !!

Matt Hodge


Fan Reaction : -



How many more times are we going to have to come back from behind when we have gifted the oppo a soft goal.

Passing the ball straight to the other side, giving away penalties and now only having ten men on the pitch because Gallas was changing his boots.  What next ?  Everyone stands aside to let the other team's forwards go through on goal ?

Seriously, if we are to be a top four side, we have to stop a couple of things.

One is to stop giving the ball away.  Certainly in the first half, we were guilty of conceding possession too easily, just pumping long balls aimlessly forward, where the Sunderland defenders picked it off or we made sloppy passes, without looking where they were going to or without the proper weight on them to reach the Spurs team-mate they were supposed to reach.  You can get away with in many games in the Premier League but against better sides or if you do it once too often, you will get punished.  Xavi this week spoke about the theory at Barcelona of "the shame of losing possession" and while Tottenham are nowhere near being a Barcelona at the moment, they should be thinking that way.  The second half was much better and if we can replicate that sort of play consistently, things will be all the better for it.

The other thing we need to cut out is picking up silly yellow cards.  Pav and Gomes both got booked needlessly and while it means nothing now, when the yellow cards add up before the next amnesty deadline, it could mean being without players at crucial times in the season.  Some yellows were ridiculous yesterday.  Jenas was booked for jumping for the ball and bumping into a Sunderland player, while Richardson got booked for one bout of abuse of the referee, while one other and a push on a Spurs player off the ball saw him get away scot free.  And while Gomes made a lot of it, the elbow that Gyan put into his ribs when they both jumped for a high ball was deliberate ... you could see that in the movement of his arm to the keeper.

A very satisfying win in the end, but there is still work to be done before a place in the top six, let alone the top four is cemented.

Grant Spencer

Having watched Sunderland live, I can understand why many of their fans don't bother going to the Stadium of Light and prefer to watch it in a pub.  The alcohol probably helps numb the pain.

And if Niall Quinn is going to say he despises the supporters who watch his team in pubs,  I suppose he won't criticise those who started leaving with 20 minutes to go, as he already has their money in the club's coffers.

Maybe it was just a bad day for Sunderland, but how they are sixth is beyond me.  Scoring when we were down to ten men was about the only time they looked really dangerous.  You would have thought Spurs were the home side if you didn't know.

Isaac Gregory







Other scores this weekend :
Arsenal 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Saturday
Birmingham City 1 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Blackburn Rovers 0 Newcastle United 0 Saturday
Blackpool 1 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Liverpool 1 Wigan Athletic 1 Saturday
Manchester United 2 Manchester City 1 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 3 West Ham United 3 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 2 Everton 0 Sunday
Fulham 0 Chelsea 0 Monday
Birmingham City 0 Newcastle United 2 Tuesday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 26 16 9 1 59 27 57 +32
2 Arsenal 26 16 5 5 56 27 53 +29
3 Manchester City 27 14 7 6 43 24 49 +19
4 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 26 13 8 5 38 29 47 +9
5 Chelsea 26 13 6 7 46 22 45 +24
6 Liverpool 27 11 6 11 35 32 39 +3
7 Sunderland 27 9 10 8 33 33 37 +0
8 Bolton Wanderers 27 9 9 9 38 37 36 +1
9 Newcastle United 27 9 8 10 42 38 35 +4
10 Stoke City 26 10 3 13 31 33 33 -2
11 Blackburn Rovers 27 9 5 13 34 42 32 -8
12 Fulham 27 6 13 8 28 28 31 0
13 Everton 26 6 12 8 33 36 30 -3
14 Birmingham City 26 6 12 8 25 35 30 -10
15 Aston Villa 27 7 9 11 31 46 30 -15
16 Blackpool 26 8 5 12 39 50 29 -11
17 West Bromwich Albion 26 7 6 13 34 51 27 -17
18 Wigan Athletic 27 5 13 9 27 45 27 -18
19 West Ham United 27 5 10 12 30 48 25 -18
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 26 7 3 16 26 45 24 -19

Position before the match :  5th
Position after the match :  4th
Position after the weekend :  4th


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