Match Review – Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham

Tottenham ended a fabulous week which saw 6 goals scored as they beat Sunderland 2-1 at the Stadium of Light thanks to goals from Paulinho and John O’Shea. Spurs look back to their best with some particularly good pieces of play.

The game began with a rather slow pace. It took four minutes for the first real movement as Mousa Dembélé attempted to play in Nacer Chadli only for the ball to be cut out by Sunderland. The game looked to be rather feisty as Michael Dawson powered into Jozy Altidore after the American went on a rampage through the Spurs midfield and looked unstoppable. Dembélé seemed the only Tottenham player willing to really push forward in the first half. Paulinho tried to change that and attempted a 30 yard effort which just dipped over the bar. Sunderland looked unlikely to change the flow of the game however Fletcher pounced onto the end of a Bardsley ball but put it to the left of Lloris’ goal. Lewis Holtby tried a curled effort from outside the area in an attempt to replay his winner on Wednesday but was left goalless as the keeper saved. Paulinho showed some of his Brazilian flair with a tremendous flick to Lennon on the byline but was flagged offside.

Jozy Altidore and Kyle Walker endured a brief skirmish as the American smashed into an advertising board after a push by Walker and retaliated poorly when Walker offered to help him up. The hosts endured a long spell sitting back and put ten men behind the ball at some stages of the game. It was going to take Spurs a lot to break down this defence. But the hosts took the lead around the fortieth minute mark. Hugo Lloris climbed to palm away a cross but instead his hand pushed it to Adam Johnson for the former Manchester City man to smash it home and make it 1-0. It didn’t take Tottenham long to retaliate. After a freekick was curled in by Walker, Nacer Chadli climbed at the back post to head it across the box for the ball to land at Paulinho’s feet, only for the Brazilian to stick his leg out and finish to enter the break level.

Tottenham took the lead not long after the game restarted. Mousa Dembélé went on a fierce run knocking aside all opposition to place a cross into the middle, only for John O’Shea to push it into his own net and make it 2-1 to Spurs. The Tottenham team then entered a phase of unprecedented dominance. They were fast, fluid and making Sunderland pray for some kind of rest. Jermain Defoe headed an effort into the post from an Aaron Lennon cross only for Dembélé to test the keeper moments later. Lewis Holtby then gave Defoe a chance to redeem himself as he picked out the forward on his own in the area, only for the Englishman to fire wide of the post. It looked as if this relentless pursuit of a third goal would go on forever. And it did. Spurs escaped some late pressure from Poyet’s side but they finally sealed the points.

Player Ratings:

Lloris – “Jesus. Don’t drop it!!”

Walker – “Emphatic performance. Top draw.”
Dawson – “Meh. Not bad.”
Capoue – “Out of position but on a mission.”
Naughton – “Upstaged by Kyle number 1”

Paulinho – “Yes yes yes. *claps constantly*”
Dembélé – “Dribbles like Jordan”

Lennon – “I have a need. The need for speed!”
Holtby – “Probably still running his little socks off.”
Chadli – “Not Lamela”

Defoe – “Did everything but score.”

MOTM – This is so difficult. Do I go Mousa for his sheer dominance and effortless football? Do I go Paulinho for a goal and general top performance? Do I got Holtby for his tireless performance and significant role? Or do I pick Walker for his defensively sound game?

I’m going for Dembélé. The man is a magician. #COYS

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