Match Review, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Match: Saturday 17th January 2015.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 2-1 Sunderland.

Tottenham goal scorers: Jan Vertonghen 3’, Christian Eriksen 88’.

Sunderland goal scorer: Sebastian Larsson 31’.

It’s becoming a habit now, winning late on in games, and one that brings a lot of pleasure to the fans, players, and Mauricio Pochettino. There are a lot of factors which have been shouted about as to why we have the ability to go the extra mile in the final stages of games, with some saying it’s character and will power, and others seeking technical improvements, such as fitness, and the sheer quality of Christian Eriksen. Whatever it is, it’s a pleasure to win in such fashion, even if it does make games a little more ‘nervy’; but that’s Tottenham, and it is entertaining! Our style of play hasn’t been very obvious this season under Pochettino, but it has been effective, and the manner we have won games that have looked certain draws or losses, is very impressive and a testament to Pochettino, who is certainly instilling belief into his players, and that is being broadcasted on the pitch. 2-1 has been a popular scoreline so far this season, and it does illustrate how difficult games have been for us, particularly against teams of lowly positioning in the League, who play scrappy football, but are successful in their attempt to disrupt our flow and rhythm, making us rely on our quality to thrust us through matches with three points. As the archaic saying goes, the sign of a good side is one that can win when playing badly. I think it is exciting to see us not play to our full potential, but still come out on top, as we all know there is more to come, when Pochettino has further implanted his philosophy into the team. This win keeps us right in the hunt for top four, and personally, although I told myself to keep expectations to a minimum this season, I have a sneaking belief that we could creep into the top four unexpectedly if we are to continue improving, and win our games against lower opposition. It’s definitely possible.

In the first half, we started very brightly, and got the goal almost immediately, when the ball in from Christian Eriksen rebounded around, before falling to the feet of Jan Vertonghen, who curled the ball into the crowd of players and acquired a deflection to lead the ball into the back of the net on 3 minutes, and showed off his ‘Super-Jan’ celebration once again, which had been missed sorely. A good start, and one that you think should lead us on to killing off the game and getting the three points, but unfortunately that is something that has lacked in our games this season, and we seem to become comfortable when going ahead, instead of improving our intensity, which is something a side like Real Madrid, Chelsea or Manchester City would do when going ahead so early in the game; and I think that’s the difference between our level and there’s, taking away the amount of World Class players they have compared to us! We pass the ball well, and we do create a good amount of chances, but I thought we lacked width in the first half, and Harry Kane was dropping too deep, leaving Roberto Soldado fairly isolated up top, which is never good. You have to query the decision of Pochettino to play in form Harry Kane out of position, to accommodate for the out of form Roberto Soldado. Christian Eriksen looked very lively in the first half, and was our key player once again, for creating openings in tight spaces for others and for himself – he is a breath-taking player, who we are privileged to have at Tottenham. Despite having most of the ball, and Sunderland not threatening us too much, despite having a claim for a penalty as Jermain Defoe went down after contact from goalscorer Jan Vertonghen, they did get the equaliser, as Jan Vertonghen took down Defoe again, and the referee did give the foul, and in a dangerous position the dangerous dead ball specialist Sebastian Larsson stepped up and perfectly slotted the ball into the top corner, out of the reach of Hugo Lloris who truly had no chance, and it needed to be special to beat him in the form he is in between the sticks. Frustratingly, we didn’t capitalise on our goal advantage and produce more goals, but instead we were right back at square one and had work to do in a crucial second half, with a second loss on the bounce to relegation threatened sides possibly on the cards, we had to deliver.

And in the second half, we did look a little better, you could identify our pressing game more, and we passed the ball more crisply. Christian Eriksen was creating chances again, and almost bagged his goal early on in the half, juggling the ball on his head, chest, knee, and then finally striking the ball just past the post; he was in scintillating form and it was a joy to watch; when Eriksen plays well, Tottenham play well. Although we were creating decent opportunities, not enough were clear cut and a point wasn’t enough for us at home to a struggling side, who weren’t exactly putting on a show, and to be honest were fairly ordinary all game, and it would have definitely been two frustrating points dropped if the game had ended all square. But there was time left, and we were patient in our build up play, brought on a few substitutes, including Andros Townsend, Emmanuel Adebayor and Paulinho, who all added something to our play, especially Townsend who added width and pace down the right hand side, where we didn’t have a natural wide player. Emmauel Adebayor, who hadn’t played since November 9th of last year, was also fairly effective, and added a runner and a spearhead to our attack, which was good to see of a player who has been heavily criticised in recent times. After chances for Nacer Chadli, Harry Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor which didn’t find the back of the net, Andros Townsend drove down the right hand side from his own half to the edge of Sunderland’s 18 yard box, before lifting his head, and rolling a ball behind Harry Kane, but fortuitously into the path of the composed Christian Eriksen who slid the ball through the swarm of defenders to find the inside of the post and the inside of the net on 88 minutes to surely give us the win. But, that wasn’t the last talking point of the game, and probably not the biggest talking point, as Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon went forward for the corner, but the corner was collected by Harry Kane who played in Paulinho in a lightening pace counter attack, with Jan Vertonghen racing forward and he was perfectly put in by Paulinho, and the already goalscorer expertly placed the ball into the back of the net for what seemed like 3-1 and a great win, only for the linesman to call for offside, even though the Belgian was inside his own half, and so immune from the offside rule, but it seems the linesman and Chris Foy are unaware of the rules they enforce! There would have been riots if that goal had been important to the result, but thankfully it only affects our goal difference. Thankfully, the result stayed the same and we gained the three points to put us 5th in the Premier League table.Tottenham+Hotspur+v+Sunderland+Premier+League+GFJbzwd5Po8x
We performed fairly well, but we certainly weren’t on top form, with Harry Kane and Nacer Chadli not at their brilliant best, it was Christian Eriksen who drove us forward, created chances, the joint highest of any player in Saturday’s games, and he made us collectively better, with his spreading of the play and ability on the ball; I couldn’t be anymore complimentary to the Dane, and his goal scoring rate is sensational so far this season, and he has been scoring winning goals for us all season long, spectacularly! He’s definitely my man of the match for this game. Our substitutes were effective, especially Andros Townsend and Emmanuel Adebayor, who added pace and energy to our side, and helped us stretch the Sunderland defence. I don’t think anyone can deny that Adebayor’s form hasn’t been great, and he’s become something of a scapegoat for Tottenham fans, but when he came on he almost scored, he ran the channels well and almost provided a wonderful assist for Harry Kane – which isn’t bad for a cameo appearance for the Togolese striker linked with various different clubs throughout Europe and America. It’s unsure whether he has a long-term future at Spurs, but he’s a good outlet to have, with different attributes to our other strikers, possibly he does still hold a place in the squad, as he says he doesn’t want to leave. Jan Vertonghen has been very consistent at the back, and he provided a long awaited goal, but it’s not just his goal that makes his performance so good, he was a leader, who guided Eric Dier through his first Premier League start at centre back, and they did well to contain Steven Fletcher and Jermain Defoe. We did well to get the three points, and now we have to turn focus to an incredibly important game against Sheffield United in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup.

A good win, even though our performance wasn’t top draw the result was crucial and we move to 5th in the Premier League and return to winning ways in the League after slipping up against Palace last week, now we need to get a run of results again and start it off with a good win in midweek in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Sheffield United at the Lane, and then we return to Premier League action against Tony Pulis’ West Brom at the Hawthorns on the 31st of January, but prior to that we have cup duties to attend to with both legs of the Capital One Cup semi final, as well as the 4th round of the FA Cup up against Leicester. Hopefully January 2015 can be a very successful one in both the cups and the Premier League. Follow @AddictedToSpurs for it all. COYS!!

My player ratings for the side that faced Sunderland at the Lane:
Lloris – 9
Walker – 6
Dier – 7.5
Vertonghen – 8.5
Rose – 7
Stambouli – 7
Dembele – 7 (Townsend 75’ – 7.5)
Eriksen – 9
Chadli – 6.5 (Paulinho 86’ N/A)
Kane – 7.5
Soldado – 6 (Adebayor 61’ 7)

Mauricio Pochettino’s post match press conference:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Match date & time: Saturday 17th January 2015. 3pm GMT kick off.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Not televised in the UK. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

The games are coming around very quickly at this moment in time, and we are in a crucial period of the season in which we have the opportunity to go to Wembley in the Capital One Cup against Sheffield United, as well as progress in the FA Cup against Leicester, and all the while we have big games in the Premier League, where we will be looking to pick up maximum points away to West Brom, but first, our full attention must be on the game at the Lane against Sunderland, and pick up to the three points to keep us well in the hunt with the top sides in the League. Our home games against lower opposition are absolutely vital, with all points in the Premier League so valuable, we need to capitalise on all of our opportunities, and this struggling Sunderland side is a good opportunity to get three points on the board, even though it’s never an easy game. After losing away at Crystal Palace, in what was a very frustrating and unfortunate game, with a buoyant Palace side able to fight back – and in the end it was a big three points dropped; and now we need to try to make up for it and keep momentum going and beat Sunderland to get points on the board, but also to get back to winning ways heading into some massive games this month. After beating Burnley 4-2 in the FA Cup, we gained back a little bit of momentum, but in the cup it is different to the Premier League, and our importance in performance and results is mostly judged on our League form, which has been good up until our slip up to Palace – and we will be hoping that it is just a slip up, and we can get right back up and on track with a win against the Black Cats.

Sunderland sit 16th in the Premier League table, and are in the relegation battle this season, with former Spur Gus Poyet in a little bit of a situation after winning only once in ten games and twice in 13, with 20 points from 21 games, which certainly isn’t setting the world alight, and they have developed a reputation for being the draw specialists of the Premier League, with only 3 wins this season, and 11 draws, which I am sure would be frustrating for the Sunderland fans, and Gus Poyet will be hoping he can get some more wins on the board to help guard from criticism and release the pressure on Poyet and Sunderland. The Black Cats have had some tough fixtures recently, and haven’t picked up any points in the last two games against Liverpool and Arsenal, and if they go three games without any points on the board, I’m sure Poyet’s job will be in jeopardy. But, from a Tottenham perspective, it’s a real chance to finish off what is already a wounded animal. The last time we faced Sunderland, earlier this season, we drew 2-2, with Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen scoring in a game where we just couldn’t get the three points despite going ahead twice. The last time we faced Sunderland at the Lane, was last season, where despite going behind, we came back to win comfortably 5-1, with Emmanuel Adebayor getting two goals, with Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Gylfi Sigurdsson also getting on the scoresheet in the emphatic victory. A repeat scoreline would be most welcome.

The team news for Sunderland is that former Spur Jermain Defoe, who made his move to Sunderland on Friday, is eligible to face his former club at his former home stadium for Sunderland, but as he hasn’t played competitive football in four months, and after only one training session with Sunderland, it is difficult to see him starting and playing the majority of the game. With Defoe, eligible, Liam Bridcutt (suspended), Steven Fletcher (groin), Lee Cattermole (groin) and Anthony Reveillere (calf) are out, with Jack Rodwell (hamstring) an injury doubt, and will undergo a late fitness test. Sunderland have some good players, and after obtaining Jermain Defoe they hope that they have signed a player to bring them goals and experience, and after his time at Tottenham, we know that he can, when on form, cause havoc to any defence, and he has a great eye for goal… Especially when it’s a debut, and he has scored on every debut that he has had, so betting on a Defoe goal seems like easy money! Along with Defoe, Connor Wickham is another goal threat where goal threats are scarce; he runs the channels well and can cause problems and make himself a nuisance, but he only has 2 goals, and that isn’t the return he would have wanted with the threat he poses; the young striker can play on the flanks as well and puts in a good shift for the side. Winger Adam Johnson is probably Sunderland’s biggest outlet for pace and effectiveness, and he has 5 goals so far this season in all competitions, but hasn’t been able to register an assist for his team mates, which is probably a bad stat for his team mates, rather than Johnson himself, as he has created 20 chances, the second highest after Sebastian Larsson with 39, who is their set piece specialist. There are some really good players in this Sunderland side, and if they get some momentum in their play I am sure they can cause us problems.Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 22.46.49
The team news for Tottenham is that Erik Lamela (calf) and Ryan Mason (hamstring) remain out, while Nabil Bentaleb is with Algeria at the African Cup of Nations. Federico Fazio (illness), Vlad Chiriches (back) and Younes Kaboul (illness) are doubts, while Emmanuel Adebayor is still available, despite not playing since early November against Stoke at the Lane. New signing DeAndre Yedlin doesn’t seem to be ready to make his debut as of yet, and is definitely unlikely to be thrown into Premier League action. With Fazio, Chiriches & Kaboul doubts, it seems we are a little short on centre backs, and that could mean Eric Dier being put into central defence, after not starting a game since the home draw to Crystal Palace in early December. Hopefully he isn’t rusty!

There is no doubting that Harry Kane has been phenomenal in recent times, and we will be looking to him once again to provide the finishing touch against the side he scored his first Premier League goal against, last season in the 5-1 win at the Lane; it was definitely the first of many and he is on his way to becoming indispensable to the side, and he has already cemented himself as one of the best strikers in the League at the moment, on form and on quality. I believe Kane is consistently improving under Mauricio Pochettino, and I hope that this development will continue and he will become an amazing asset for us. The man who makes us tick, and the person we need to perform to find gaps in tight games at home is Christian Eriksen, as he has two goals in his last two games against the black cats, it seems he has made quite the habit of performing against Sunderland; hopefully he can grab another goal and help us break down their defence and find those gaps again! The three musketeers of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen is completed by Nacer Chadli, who is a constant goal threat in every situation, from corners, with his right and left foot, as well as his ability to score from outside the box, he has become a crucial player to us and he has been a big improvement from last season. After the Burnley game, Paulinho and Andros Townsend received plaudits, and both are pushing hard for first team berths, with Townsend already cementing a place ahead of Aaron Lennon while Erik Lamela remains out, and Paulinho returning from the abyss to reclaim what seems to be a bit of his old form, and improvement means opportunities, even for someone who looked as though his Tottenham career looked unstable to say the least, with Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason out, it could be an opportunity for him to prove his worth in the Premier League after some decent performances in the cups and from the bench, and he has been very patient and not made a fuss, which I think is very honourable. Andros Townsend performed really well against Burnley and hopefully he is finding form once again as well and can become very effective on that right flank for Tottenham in the absence of Erik Lamela.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Christian Eriksen has netted in both of his Barclays Premier League appearances against Sunderland.

– Sunderland managed to net two goals despite only having one shot on target in the reverse fixture at the Stadium of Light earlier this season against the Londoners.

– Tottenham are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League games against the Black Cats (W6 D3).

– Defeat last time out against Manchester City (2-3) ended a run of five on the road without loss for the Black Cats in the Premier League (W3 D2). It also ended a run of four consecutive clean sheets away from home.

– Spurs are unbeaten in their last five Premier League home games (W3 D2).

– Tottenham Hotspur have recovered 12 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, the most in the top flight.

– Harry Kane has scored six goals in his last six Premier League games for Spurs.

– Nacer Chadli has provided an assist in four of his last five league appearances for Tottenham.

– Spurs have given away six penalties in the Premier League; two more than any other side in the division.

– Sunderland have scored a higher proportion of their goals in the final 15 minutes of Barclays Premier League games than any other side (33%).

A big game to get back on track and return to winning ways in the Premier League, and one in which we will be welcoming back an old friend and now a new foe in Jermain Defoe; but let’s hope it isn’t a happy return for him on the pitch! The game isn’t being shown live on TV, but I will be providing match updates, including goal updates, photos, videos and much more from my twitter account; follow me there, @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Sunderland at White Hart Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dier – Vertonghen – Rose
Stambouli – Paulinho
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Kane.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

Match Review, Sunderland vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 13th September 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Stadium of Light.

Result: Sunderland 2-2 Tottenham.

Sunderland GoalScorers: Adam Johnson 4′, Harry Kane OG 82′.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Nacer Chadli 2′, Christian Eriksen 48′.

Difficult to swallow. After such a positive performance to come away with just 1 point is very difficult to take, but we’re only 4 games in and we have to look at it objectively, emphasising on the positives. The attack is starting to click, we have new signings set to come into the defence, additionally Jan Vertonghen who was missing today. We led 2-1 for a large portion of the second half and looked relatively comfortable and probably should have gone up 3-1 or 4-1 if not for the crossbar and a little bit of luck. It is though but we look forward. I think there are things we definitely need to improve on, but I trust in Pochettino to deliver us a win at home to West Brom and look even better and even more solid than we looked in this game.

In the first half, the pace of the game was electric, we almost went ahead in the first minute, but were unlucky. We pressed very high and didn’t give Sunderland any time to think, and before we knew it, Emmanuel Adebayor took a shot which was parried by the Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone, only into Nacer Chadli’s path who finished well into the bottom of the net for 1-0 in the second minute. Only 2 minutes later, Adam Johnson bombards into the Tottenham box and gets a shot away, and it somehow scurries into the net after a couple of slight deflections. Disappointing, but the pace of the game was such that we could hardly take the goals in. Attack after attack followed but the second goal wouldn’t come in the first half, as the game went a bit flat with Sunderland sitting a bit deeper and Tottenham not really penetrating enough. Eriksen, Lamela and Chadli were a threat though, creating a couple of opportunities but nothing really clear cut. It was a shot from Mousa Dembele which got the Spurs fans out of their seats, powering a shot from outside the box and crushing against the outside of the post. Unlucky.

In the second half, we started well once again and got the early goal, once again. This time it was a good run by Emmanuel Adebayor, who then put in a cross for Nacer Chadli, and he squared it trying to find Christian Eriksen, and after a few knocks around the box it fell to Eriksen who prodded the ball home for 2-1, and it looked as though we’d push on and get the three points. But, the third goal was elusive. You could say we weren’t clinical enough, but it was also that little bit of luck not going our way. Through balls that were just a tad too far to reach, crosses that were a little too far and shots that were just a little too high. We had our chances to kill it off, but didn’t take them and that is disappointing. As the game went on we seemed to drop too deep, something that is natural when you have a lead to defend, but you have to fight against it and push high as there was nobody really who could affect us in behind. We have quick defenders and a quick goalkeeper. The goal didn’t come from that, though. A free kick somehow squirmed through our defence and hit Harry Kane, deflecting into his own goal unfortunately. A blind piece of bad luck took the three points away from our grasp, but we have to be pleased with the performance and hopeful we will become more clinical.

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There were some good performances from the Tottenham team, Christian Eriksen showing better form than in his previous games under Pochettino, again showing his vision and ability on the ball, as well as showing he can pop up and score a goal when it’s needed. Another good performance was from Mousa Dembele who especially in the first half showed his immense potential to be an important player for Tottenham; on the ball he is exceptional and showed offensive ability which hasn’t been shown a lot from him in recent times, even though he is capable. Danny Rose seems to keep improving under Pochettino’s guidance as well, with Ben Davies not in the squad, probably due to the fact he played 90 minutes midweek in Andorra for Wales. In defence, we missed Jan Vertonghen, Ben Davies, Kyle Walker and new signing Federico Fazio wasn’t deemed ready by Pochettino. So we aren’t at full strength, that’s for sure, and we do need to improve.

Difficult to take but as the old Spurs saying goes; we move forward and look to the next game. Next up, we return to Europa League action, travelling to Belgrade to face Partizan on Thursday 18th September. We return to Premier League action next Sunday the 21st at White Hart Lane against West Brom, a game we’ll be aiming to win. For all the updates, follow @AddictedToSpurs. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that faced Sunderland:
Lloris – 6
Dier – 5.5
Kaboul – 6
Chiriches – 6.5
Rose – 7.5
Dembele – 8
Capoue – 7.5
Lamela – 7
Chadli – 7.5
Eriksen – 8 Man of the Match.
Adebayor – 6.

Subs:
Stambouli – 6
Kane – 3
Lennon – N/A.

Mauricio Pochettino’s post match interview:

Match Preview, Sunderland vs Tottenham.

Match date & time: Saturday 13th September 2014. 3pm KO GMT.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: Stadium Of Light.

TV: Not televised in the UK. Worldwide TV listings HERE.

The Premier League is back! After a somewhat dull international break, Tottenham return to our lives with a difficult trip up to Wearside to face Gus Poyet’s Sunderland. A tough fixture away from home, but one we are expected to get maximum points from after a disappointing 3-0 drubbing from Liverpool at White Hart Lane, we have some making up to do, and try to show the same form that blew Queen’s Park Rangers away last month. Pochettino has had some time on the training pitch during this international period and you’d hope the players are feeling refreshed and ready to put in a performance showcasing Mauricio Pochettino’s ideas & style of play. A term I liked was to ‘suffocate’ the opponents through high pressure & fast attacking football. That’s what I’m looking for this Saturday afternoon, as well as three points.

Sunderland are as yet, without a win in their first three Premier League fixtures with two draws and a loss. Picking up a point away to West Brom & at home to Manchester United, which all-in-all, isn’t something to be totally ashamed of, but they lost away from home to QPR in terrible fashion, losing 1-0 and showing a distinct lack of fire-power, not being able to convert from 16 attempts. But, at home, against Manchester United they did well to grind out a point, especially after going behind in the first place; that’s showed fight and they do have quality, which we will have to be wary of. For Tottenham, as mentioned we had a bit of a ‘blip’ to the start of our season, losing uninspiringly to Liverpool at home, but looking beyond that, we won our first two games and we have to say it’s been a positive start, especially the convincing win over QPR at the Lane. Now, we have a tough away trip in which we may need to grind out a win, which is a different proposition to QPR and Liverpool, and more similar to West Ham, even with the sendings off. It’s another big test but we’re definitely the favourites for this clash, considering the differing starts to the season.

The only team news for Sunderland is that new signings Sebastian Coates and Ricky Alvarez are in line to make their Black Cat debuts, with the rest of the squad fit for the tie. The players to watch for Sunderland include two of their new signings from this Summer, Ricky Alvarez and Will Buckley, both attacking midfielders they offer skill and pace to the Sunderland side and look to cause problems to the opposition. Buckley has shown in his first game after arriving from Brighton that he can deal with the Premier League, showing his directness and pace that is a danger to defences, while Alvarez is yet to play in the Premier League, he offers a different dimension to their midfield, with much more creativity from the Argentinian. Another important player for Sunderland is Jack Rodwell, who is looking to rebuild his career after a stuttering move to Manchester City; he has the talent and is a very solid & tidy player in the centre of midfield.

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The team news for Tottenham is that striker Roberto Soldado (neck/back) remains a doubt for the game, along with Nabil Bentaleb who arrived slightly late from international duty with Algeria, while right back Kyle Walker (pelvis) is a definite absentee with a long term problem. The good news for Tottenham is that Eric Dier is fit after a knock that kept him out of the England U21 squad, while new signings Benjamin Stambouli and Federico Fazio are available to make their Tottenham debuts on Wearside. Our international players all returned without injury and are fit and ready, except Nabil Bentaleb supposedly, for the trip to Sunderland.

There are quite a few decisions for Mauricio Pochettino to mull over in his team selection; one being the places of new signings Federico Fazio and Benjamin Stambouli, and whether or not to enter them straight into the first 11. Personally, I would play both players. With the possible absence of Nabil Bentaleb, I would play Stambouli alongside Etienne Capoue in the middle of the park; I think this is a very strong and capable midfield that would combat Sunderland well with Cattermole & Rodwell, who are tough tackling and powerful, similar to Etienne and Benjamin, so a straight battle would be interesting for sure and that combination is most likely our best chance of winning and breaking down Sunderland’s attacks. Another conundrum for Pochettino is the left back slot, whether to play Danny Rose or Ben Davies; I chose Danny Rose over Davies for the first three Premier League fixtures, but I think Ben Davies should be given his first Premier League start this Saturday afternoon, after his displays in Europe and for Wales, I don’t think anyone is doubting that Ben Davies will become our number 1 left back sooner rather than later, as his defensive game is far superior to Danny Rose’s, and he’s shown his ability to venture forward. Another half decision is upfront, but I think even with Harry Kane’s 2 goals for England’s U21s, Emmanuel Adebayor will continue to lead the line with Roberto Soldado still expected to be out with injury.

Match stats & facts provided by Opta:

– Sunderland scored first in both of their Barclays Premier League games against Spurs last season, but ended up losing on both occasions.

– Spurs have won six and lost none of their last eight Barclays Premier League meetings with Sunderland (D2).

– Tottenham’s last four league away wins against Sunderland have all ended 2-1.

– Spurs have been shown more red cards (1) than yellow cards (0) in the Premier League this season.

– Gus Poyet’s side have only won three of their last 14 home league games (D4 L7).

– Etienne Capoue has completed a league-high 267 passes so far this season.

– Ricardo Alvarez was Internazionale’s leading assister in Serie A last season, setting up eight goals.

– Had the Premier League started on January 1st, Tottenham would be fifth on 41 points, just one short of Arsenal in fourth.

– Will Buckley has made more dribbles than any other Sunderland player this term (16) despite only playing 117 of a possible 270 minutes.

– Erik Lamela has drawn more fouls than any other Premier League player this campaign (10).

It’s a very repeated saying but it’s true, we have to bounce back straight away from our unfortunate defeat to Liverpool, and this is a chance to do that. It’s going to be competitive and closely fought but with our recent history of results and the form we can show, I’m quietly confident we can come back to North London with three points! The game isn’t televised, but you can follow me on twitter here: @AddictedToSpurs for match updates, goal updates, photos, videos and much more. Let’s get the win! COYS!!

My predicted team to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Dier – Fazio – Vertonghen – Davies
Capoue – Stambouli
Lamela – Eriksen – Chadli
Adebayor.

Mauricio Pochettino’s pre match press conference:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Match: Monday 7th April 2014.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

Result: Tottenham 5-1 Sunderland.

Tottenham GoalScorers: Adebayor 28′, Kane 59′, Eriksen 78′, Adebayor 86′ & Sigurdsson 92′.

Sunderland GoalScorer: Cattermole 17′.

What a win. Our biggest win of the season after what was a very chaotic day, with the media saying Head Coach Tim Sherwood was to leave at the end of the season. During the build up to the match, the wonder was whether the players would be affected by this speculation on the pitch, either giving them freedom of knowing, or the feeling of uncertainty in not knowing who the boss will be next season. It seems the speculation didn’t effect them at all, or if it did, it helped, as this performance was the best I have seen all season in the Premier League. Credit goes to Sherwood for being professional and setting us up in a way to perform so well, despite the speculation.

The start to the game was catastrophic. A bit like the Southampton game, we gave away the Sunderland goal with yet another error, this time Vlad Chiriches, who played an aimless ball across the defence, which Lee Cattermole picked up and slotted in the bottom corner past a displaced Hugo Lloris, not good enough in the 17th minute, but it was a wake up call, and the players responded. After coming close with Naughton and Eriksen, we deserved our equaliser with Christian Eriksen swinging in an inch perfect cross for Emmanuel Adebayor to tap in with his body, and that gave the players and the fans a real lift in the 28th minute, we pushed on and had a solid end to the first half.

In the second half, we started badly once again, Sunderland put us under pressure and were well in the game, but that pressure soon dissipated, and our better players took the game by the scruff of the neck, most notably Eriksen, who then set up the second goal, another cross from the left hand side, bouncing in the danger area, where Harry Kane was there to tap home for his first Premier League goal for Tottenham on his first Premier League start, with an hour gone, it looked as though Sunderland were out of the contest. We were dominant after the second goal, playing with a certain swagger which we haven’t seen since our last comfortable win at home to Stoke in a 3-0 win. Sunderland became tired, and I think they gave up even though it was just 2-1. On 78 minutes, Christian Eriksen hit an unstoppable shot from outside the box into the bottom right hand corner, a very much deserved goal for an incredible player. 3-1. Then the rampage started, Harry Kane did really well to get through on goal, then shot through Mannone, but it wasn’t reaching the goal, so Emmanuel Adebayor slotted in for his second of the night and 10th of the season, 4-1 and the game was well and truly over. Just adding insult to injury, we decided to score from a corner, the ball coming in from Christian Eriksen found Adebayor, then he found Younes Kaboul, who fed the ball into Gylfi Sigurdsson who did really well to sort his feet out and finish to make it 5-1 in injury time. A great performance.

20140408-000759.jpg If there has been one player who has been a shining light for us this season, it’s Christian Eriksen. The boy has been incredible, nabbing 2 assists with great crosses to our strikers, then grabbing a goal. Our player of the season, scoring 9 goals and getting 8 assists, it’s been a stunning first season and at 22 there is so much more to come in the future. Emmanuel Adebayor was another to put in an incredible performance, his presence and all round link up play was brilliant and the two goals were just what he deserved, he has had a great season and I hope he stays next season and continues his great work. The headlines will be taken by Eriksen and Adebayor, but Harry Kane was equally as good, he worked so hard and showed his hunger to succeed, scoring and assisting. Hopefully Harry gets more starts in the run in to the end of the season, he deserves it, every game he plays he impresses me, he has a massive future at Tottenham. As a team, I thought our performance was admirable, we showed hunger and fight, as well as real quality. Even though Sunderland were poor, we were very, very good.

A great win! Now only 5 points off the Champions League, can we do it? Can we do the impossible? Probably not. But we have a favourable run in to the end of the season, our last 5 games all against teams in the bottom half. Let’s finish the season strongly and who knows what can happen. Our next game is against West Brom at the Hawtorns in the Premier League on Saturday 12th April, kick off at 3:07pm. COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that beat Sunderland at the Lane:
Lloris – 7
Naughton – 7
Chiriches – 6
Kaboul – 7
Rose – 6
Lennon – 7
Paulinho – 7.5
Chadli – 7.5
Eriksen – 9 – Man of the match.
Kane – 8.5
Adebayor – 8.5.

Subs:
Sigurdsson – 7
Veljkovic – 6
Townsend – 6.

Tim Sherwood talks to the press after our 5-1 win:

Emmanuel Adebayor and Christian Eriksen talk to the press:

Match highlights from Tottenham vs Sunderland:

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Match date & time: Monday 7th April 2014. Kick off at 8pm.

Competition: Premier League.

Venue: White Hart Lane.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 1, MNF.

The last 6 games are here of what has been a very disappointing season for the club; it is near impossible to get into the Champions League, and now even getting in Europe at all is in doubt. After the games at the weekend we sit in 7th place, which for Tottenham Hotspur is nowhere near good enough, so for these 6 games, in which on paper we are capable of winning all 6, we have to win and get some pride back into the club, and get the club another season in the Europa League, because even with it’s flaws, Tottenham need to finish as high as possible in every season and we have to deal with 2 games a week if we want to even think of being a regular top 4 team. The last six starts with Sunderland this Monday.

Our recent form against Sunderland cannot be faulted, we haven’t lost to the Black Cats since 2010, when we lost 3-1 at the Stadium of Light with Darren Bent with a brace with Harry Redknapp at the helm. At the Lane, we haven’t lost since 2008, when Djibril Cisse scored a late winner to win the game 2-1 back when Juande Ramos was in charge. That loss in 2008 was our only loss to Sunderland in 14 games at White Hart Lane dating back to 1984 in the old Division 1. Our last game against Sunderland was Andre Villas Boas’ last away game before his sacking, we won 2-1, Paulinho and a John O’Shea own goal gave us the win at the Stadium of Light so Monday gives us the chance to do the double over the Northern club. Our last game against Sunderland at White Hart Lane was the last game of the 2012/13 season, we had the chance to make Champions League if Arsenal slipped up at Newcastle, but it wasn’t to be and we finished 5th, but we won the game 1-0, a Gareth Bale screamer gave us the three points and our record points total in a Premier League season, it was also Gareth Bale’s last Premier League game in a Tottenham Hotspur shirt.

Sunderland are in dreadful, dreadful form and that form leaves them bottom of the Premier League with just 25 points from 30 games, having 3 games in hand on Cardiff and Fulham above them though. Since going to the Capital One Cup Final at Wembley and losing to Manchester City, Sunderland have been appalling and the results have not gone their way, dragging the Black Cats into the relegation zone. They have not won a Premier League game since the 1st February, a 3-0 win at St James’ Park against Newcastle. They have lost 3 Premier League games on the trot, and haven’t won in 8 League games. Gus Poyet’s men are now desperately fighting, and that makes Monday’s game a possible banana skin for us, we have to be on our game and be ready for a fight.

The team news for Sunderland is that striker Steven Fletcher (ankle) and goalkeeper Kieran Westwood (shoulder) are out of the game, but they have no other notable injuries. Even though Sunderland do sit at the bottom of the Premier League, they do have threats, most important to them is Adam Johnson on the wing, he’s hit some good form this season and has scored 10 goals and has 4 assists, Sunderland’s top scorer. Johnson gives Sunderland width, as well as a good delivery and good width on the right hand side. Another threat for Sunderland is Fabio Borini, on loan from Liverpool the striker is nuisance, he harries and hassles defences and can nick a goal from you, he has 6 goals this season in all competitions. The player in midfield that makes it all tick is Ki, on loan from Swansea he plays with composure and quality, if we stop him providing the pace in the attack we will nullify Sunderland.

20140406-194330.jpg The team news for the Tottenham is that Jan Vertonghen (ankle), Roberto Soldado (hamstring), Erik Lamela (back), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Kyle Walker (groin) are sidelined for the game against Sunderland at the Lane which is a big blow, but, key players Emmanuel Adebayor, Vlad Chiriches, Paulinho, Sandro and Mousa Dembele are all fit and in contention to take on Gus Poyet’s Sunderland.

The return of Emmanuel Adebayor is at a key point, as Roberto Soldado gets an injury we can replace him with the big Togolese target-man, he’s our top scorer in the Premier League and was in immense form prior to his flurry of injuries, but he’s back now, and hopefully he can continue his goalscoring form with a few in the bag on Monday. He brings us that extra dimension to our game, he’s an outlet with incredible talent. Another really important player returning on Monday is Vlad Chiriches, similar to the Adebayor/Soldado situation, he returns at a crucial point in which Jan Vertonghen has picked up an injury, so hopefully Vlad Chiriches will slot in to the defence alongside Younes Kaboul. Vlad started off his Tottenham career really well and I believe he has a massive future at Spurs ahead of him; he has so much talent, and now needs a run in the side, possibly alongside Jan Vertonghen. In central midfield, I’d like to see Sandro come back into the side after missing the last two, I’d play him alongside Paulinho, who although has been in bad form, has spoken of his want to prove the fans and Tim Sherwood wrong and spark himself back into form, so I’d like to give him the chance next to a defensive midfielder to give him the licence to attack.

Match facts and stats from Opta.

– Tottenham have won five and lost none of the last seven Barclays Premier League games against Sunderland.

– Sunderland have scored a league-high 46.4% of their Barclays Premier League goals from set pieces this season.

– Spurs have had loss/loss results in their last four home defeats.

– Sunderland boss Gustavo Poyet had two spells at Tottenham Hotspur, one as a player where he made 82 league appearances and scored 18 goals and also as Assistant Coach to Juande Ramos.

– Tottenham have failed to score in four of their last six Premier League matches.

– Spurs have had 1-1 scorelines in their last four home draws against bottom-six teams

– Tottenham have conceded the fewest headed goals in the Premier League this season (1).

– Tottenham are one of only two teams not to lose a Premier League game from a winning position this season prior to this matchday (along with Man Utd).

– Sunderland have conceded first in their last four away matches against Spurs

– Five of the six Premier League goals that Roberto Soldado has scored this season have been the first goal of the game.

– Five of the six goals that Soldado has scored have been the winning goal.

– Spurs have had Under 2.5 goals in their last four home matches against Sunderland.

– Spurs have picked up just three points fewer than they had after 32 games in 2011-12, which was their best-ever Premier League haul at this stage.

– Spurs could become only the fourth team to finish a Premier League season in the top six with a negative goal difference (currently -4; Norwich 3rd -4 GD in 1992-93, West Ham 5th -7 GD in 1998-99 & Everton 4th -1 GD in 2004-05).

Coming into the end of the season, let’s secure a good end to the season and get Europe. I’m looking forward to getting football back at the Lane after the disappointing defeat at Anfield. I will be giving updates from my twitter account, so follow me there at @AddictedToSpurs, the updates will include photos, videos, goal updates and vines! COYS!!

My predicted/preferred team to face Sunderland at the Lane:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Naughton – Kaboul – Chiriches – Rose
Paulinho – Sandro
Townsend – Eriksen – Chadli
Adebayor.

Tim Sherwood’s pre Sunderland press conference:

Match Review, Sunderland vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 7th December 2013.

Premier League

Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham.

Sunderland goal: Adam Johnson 36′.

Tottenham goals: Paulinho 43′, John O’Shea OG 50′.

Another great win away from home! Our December month has started with a bang, 7 points from our last three difficult matches is exactly what we needed, our comeback is complete from our Manchester City mauling, what was looking bleak is now looking rather bright. Three points off second, after other teams dropped points, now we need to beat Liverpool and stake our claim for those Champions League places. In the first half, it wasn’t great by any means. We were sloppy and didn’t look threatening to Sunderland, slow and unimaginative. Sunderland didn’t have a lot of chances, but they only needed a bit of luck when the usually reliable Hugo Lloris made a mistake and gifted a goal for Adam Johnson, typical of the Spurs of this season. We got back very quickly, taking their goal as a kick up the backside and we didn’t look back, a great ball from Walker found Chadli, who headed the ball back in well for Paulinho to poke in. After half time, we dominated, made the game our own, showed determination, desire and offensive quality to go for the win and get it! Early on we got the goal to put us in front, Mousa Dembele took his man on and made it happen, then putting the ball in the box for John O’Shea to expertly finish it into his net, great goal! Haha. After the goal, we didn’t sit back we went for the third to kill off the game, but it didn’t come, I don’t know how. We got to 90 minutes and we won the game, so I’m happy!!

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The players all played very well, our second half performance was some of the best football we played this season, we created opportunities, passed the ball brilliantly and quickly, looking like the good old Tottenham again! My man of the match was Kyle Walker, what a player he has been for us this season so far, he’s improved so much from last season, taking the responsibility on his shoulders and thriving off of it. He was defensively outstanding, strong, aware of danger and making the right decisions. Offensively, his partnership with Lennon down the right is proving to be extremely affective. Very happy he’s back to his best. Aaron Lennon was also outstanding; since he has returned from injury he has been a breath of fresh air, giving us that width we have needed. Brilliant again. Mousa Dembele is one of the most technically gifted players that has played for Spurs in recent times, the way he glides past players like they aren’t there is incredible; the only thing you can criticise him on is his final product offensively, if he were to gain that, he’s up there with the best in the League.

Great win! We move on to the Europa League on Thursday 12th December against Anzhi, even though it doesn’t mean much, we want to maintain that 100% record! Then, we return to action in the Premier League in a massive game at the Lane! Liverpool on Sunday, 15th December. Let’s get a win!! COYS!!

My player ratings for the team that face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light:
Lloris – 7 – Certainly not his best performance, that mistake was disappointing, but still solid.
Walker – 9 – Man of the Match. Outstanding again.
Dawson – 8 – Saved us a couple of times. He may not be the most talented, but gives 100% every time.
Capoue – 8 – He fit in at centre back brilliantly! Great option to have in the future.
Naughton – 7.5 – Proved to a lot of his critics (including me), that he is a capable left back.
Paulinho – 9 – Top class performance, good goal. If he can control his finishing, world class!
Dembele – 9 – Very happy he’s Spurs.
Lennon – 9 – Breath of Fresh air!
Holtby – 8 – Worked his socks off, created opportunities and showing his class recently.
Chadli – 6 – He’s not found his feet in the Premier League, but I have confidence.
Defoe – 6.5 – He makes some good runs, unlucky on a couple of occasions, but should be finishing those chances…

Subs:
Sandro – 7 – Beast.
Townsend – 8 – On the left, he is outstanding. Keep him there Andre.
Sigurdsson – 6 – Didn’t make a massive impact, did his job!

Match highlights from our 2-1 win over Sunderland:

AVB’s reaction post Sunderland victory:

Match Preview, Sunderland vs Tottenham.

Match: Saturday 7th December 2013. Kick off 5:30pm.

Premier League

The December period is crucial to a team’s season, how well it goes and where you end up in the new year can play a big part in either achieving the club’s goals, or destroying them. It’s the perfect time to pick up pace, get a winning run together and get in a good position in the table. After our simply dreadful November month, our festive period has started well, with a draw and a good performance against the Champions Manchester United at the Lane, and a crucial 2-1 win at Craven Cottage against Fulham, thanks to a Lewis Hotby strike. Sunderland at the Stadium of Light awaits and we now need to complete the come back from our 6-0 thrashing at the Etihad. The performance needs to improve from the Fulham game, we can’t rely on wonder strikes every week as they simply won’t come, we need to improve the levels of our game and play an offensive and expansive game, up against a Sunderland defence that is leaky at best, it is an opportunity to get some goals!

Sunderland have had a dreary start to the season, sitting rock bottom of the Premier League with only 8 points from 14 games, winning only 2 games, leading to the sack of Paulo Di-Canio, and the appointment of former Spur and former Spurs assistant manager Gus Poyet, who has picked up the results recently, beating fierce rivals Newcastle 2-1, big-money Manchester City 1-0 and narrowly losing to Chelsea 4-3 at Stanford Bridge last time out in the League. Recent results shows that this game isn’t going to be a walk in the park, it never is in the Premier League, but they’ll push us hard and make a good game of it. The team news for Sunderland is that centre back Carlos Cuellar and goalkeeper Kieron Westwood are out of the game, but all others are fit and available for the Northerners. The players to look out for are offensive players, Joze Altidore has the ability to cause problems for our defence, he’s big and strong and able to hold up the ball well and bring other players to the game like Adam Johnson and Fabio Borini. Steven Flethcher is known for being a threat in the box, he’s able to get a goal and his partnership with Altidore could be very rewarding for Sunderland.

20131206-193121.jpg
The team news is in, and we’ve a few out for the game, most notably Jan Vertonghen, the ankle injury he picked up against Fulham has ruled him out of the game against Sunderland, we hope he will be back as soon as possible. With Jan, Christian Eriksen remains out with an ankle injury, Danny Rose with a foot injury and Emmanuel Adebayor with a knee injury. Mousa Dembele should be fit, and is likely to return to the team after he missed the Fulham game with a pain in his hip, which is a boost! With Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen ruled out, we have a distinct problem at the left back position, with the options limited to Kyle Naughton and inexperienced Zeki Fryers; I’d hope that AVB gives a chance to Zeki Fryers, who has impressed me in Europa League games and looking like he is turning into a good player, the only thing he needs to improve on is his final delivery once he gets to the byline, he’s my option for left back, ahead of Kyle Naughton. Jermain Defoe or Roberto Soldado is still an argument between Spurs fans, Soldado was left out for Defoe against Fulham, and the difference in performance wasn’t very different, I believe Soldado is the more rounded player of the two, and should play against Sunderland after his rest on Wednesday, his hold up play has been good, but his movement needs to increase and so does his service from the wings, then he will start banging them in, I’m sure!

Match Stats and Facts provided by FourFourTwo

– Sunderland have lost eight points from winning positions this season, more than any other Barclays Premier League team.

– Tottenham are one of only two teams (along with Newcastle) yet to score more than twice in a Barclays Premier League game this season.

– Sunderland boss Gustavo Poyet made 82 Premier League appearances for Tottenham Hotspur as a player and also served as Assistant Coach under Juande Ramos for the Lilywhites.

– Steven Fletcher has scored in three of his last five Premier League games against Spurs.

– Spurs have won four and lost none of the last six Premier League meetings with Sunderland.

– Jermain Defoe has never scored against Sunderland in 10 Premier League appearances for Spurs, despite netting four goals in six games for other clubs against the Black Cats.

– Tottenham have won five of their last eight Premier League away games (D1 L2).

– Spurs will attempt to score 2+ goals in three successive Premier League games for the first time since April.

– Sunderland have conceded four own goals in the Premier League this season, twice as many as any other side.

– Sunderland have hit the fewest shots on target this season (33) while Spurs have the lowest shot conversion rate (7%).

The game with Sunderland is televised, live on Sky Sports 1 SNF, from 5:00pm, with kick off at 5:30pm. You can also follow my twitter, @AddictedToSpurs, for live coverage of the game, including photos, match updates and videos. Follow! COYS!!

My preferred team to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light:
4-2-3-1
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Chiriches – Fryers
Sandro – Dembele
Lennon – Paulinho – Lamela
Soldado

AVB after Fulham previewing our game with Sunderland:

Match Review, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

Tottenham 1-0 Sunderland
Bale 90′

Even though we won, we can’t help but feel disappointed, Arsenal also won, and with that it takes them to the Champions League, and we miss out. It’s a very hard to take, but as I’ve said previously, it’s a season to be proud of, no matter what happened on Sunday. The Europa League awaits for us next season, and personally I’m looking forward to it, we have unfinished business in this competition, and it would be absolutely magnificent if we could lift the trophy next season. The last game of the season, and we went out with a win, we couldn’t have asked for anymore. We didn’t perform particularly well, it doesn’t matter how you win, as long as you get the three points. We have now broken our points record for a Premier League season with 72, something to be very proud of.

20130520-151219.jpg
Gareth Bale once again providing the magic, his 21st goal of the season in the Premier League, and what a goal it was, he didn’t have a great day at the office, he wasn’t given the time and space to create openings, but when he is given the slight chance, he takes it wonderfully. Scott Parker was good I thought, made some crunching tackles, and looked back to somewhere near his best, good to see. Jan Vertonghen also had a very solid game in defence, his tackling is some of the best I’ve ever seen at White Hart Lane, perfectly timed, every time, wonderful player. Kyle Walker had one of his better days, defensively he was decent, and he pushed us forward a lot and gave us a lot of pace in wide areas, hope he can start to push on and have a great 2013/14 season. Not what we wanted from the day, but we did our job, and that is all we could do on the day. Proud to be Spurs. Pre Season starts now, a tour of Bahamas is later this month, looking forward to it. COYS!!

My player ratings for the game against Sunderland at the Lane:
Lloris – 8
Walker – 8
Dawson – 7
Vertonghen – 8 Man of the Match
Assou-Ekotto – 4
Lennon – 7
Parker – 8
Huddlestone – 4
Dempsey – 6
Bale – 7
Adebayor – 5

Subs:
Sigurdsson – 7
Defoe – 6
Dembélé – 7

Match Preview, Tottenham vs Sunderland.

The last day has finally come. It’s going to be a very exciting end to what has been a very good season. We have to win, and do our job to have a chance of finishing in the coveted top four position. Sunderland will prove to be a tricky opposition, they have good players, and can play without pressure now that they are safe from relegation. Newcastle face Arsenal, and if they can pull off a shock and grab a point or maybe even three points, what every Spurs fan is hoping for, we will get top four with a win. We’ve had a great season, whatever happens, and if we win we have broken our record points in a Premier League season, 72. Awesome.

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We’ll be hoping to be seeing more scenes of jubilation from André on Sunday, we have to hope, it’s possible, we can do it. Gareth Bale could produce more magic, he’s been named Barclays Player the year, his fourth award this season, unbelievable season from him, but his greatest achievement would surely be taking us into the Champions League. Emmanuel Adebayor has had a great end to the season, and hopefully he can continue this and bag another goal! Mousa Dembélé is fully fit now, and should start, this is great news as he brings a flow to our game that we don’t have when he doesn’t feature. I believe, and a slip up from Arsenal is definitely not out of the equation, whatever happens, I’m proud to be Spurs. The game is televised live on Sky Sports from 4pm. COYS, and for now, Come On Newcastle!

My preferred team to face Sunderland at the Lane on the last day:
Lloris
Walker – Dawson – Caulker – Vertonghen
Lennon – Huddlestone – Dembélé – Dempsey
Bale
Adebayor