Sunderland Match Review: Champions League Hangover a worry for Spurs?


After the lackluster performance in the return to the Champions League, Mauricio Pochettino put emphasis on the lack of heart and passion showed by his players.

Feeling the pressure and the need to bounce back, Spurs came out swinging heavy and often against relegation candidates Sunderland.

Despite creating over thirty chances, Tottenham only managed to find the back of the net once, thanks to Harry Kane and his phenomenal positioning in front of goal.

However, the three points earned were overshadowed by the potential of injuries to three key players for Spurs. Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier, and Harry Kane were all subbed off due to injuries, with Kane’s being the most serious as he had to be stretchered off with a serious-looking ankle injury.

Player ratings out of 10:

Lloris- 6: Not much to do for Hugo all game, aside from one near post save on an incoming Jermain Defoe, his distribution and kicks were much more accurate than usual.

Vertonghen- 7: Playing in the role he despises, Super Jan took one for the team and moved over to left back to replace the disappointing Ben Davies.

He actually did very well as Vertonghen did a lot of good things up the left hand flank offensively, he opened up a lot of space for Son to work his magic by making overlapping runs. Produced a few nice crosses too.

Dier- 7: Eric went back to his original position as a center back and did well enough. Not a lot was asked of him. Had a one-time effort blocked at the top of the box and was subbed off after he appeared to have some hamstring discomfort.

Hopefully he was subbed off as a precaution as it appeared the three points were always secure.

One of three injury concerns?

Alderweireld- 7: Solid as ever. Had a header saved by Pickford off a corner kick and roamed a bit freely in the final third at times. Easy day at the office for Toby.

Walker- 8: Kyle Walker has been the model of consistency for the last two seasons under Pochettino and there appears to be no drop off from him.

Not only was he a threat constantly offensively, but he made the goal line save on Defoe that prevented the most “Spursy” thing to happen. After dominating the first half hour, Sunderland hit with a counter attack and Jermain Defoe had an easy tap in, until Walker got his foot in just before the ball crossed the line.

Wanyama- 7: His first game next to Mousa Dembele to form arguably the strongest midfield duo in the PL, and Victor did not disappoint.

Showed his strength and power on numerous occasions and distributed the ball well when in front of the back four.

At times he looked disconnected from the offence, however.

Dembele- 7: What a feeling it is to watch Mousa Dembele start a Premier League game for Tottenham Hotspur.

It wasn’t his best game by any means, but just seeing Mousa boss the midfield at times put a smile on many Spurs fans’ faces.

Welcome back Dembele. Subbed off as he appeared to tighten up, probably due to lack of fitness, should be fine for next week.

The big man returned to the midfield following a ban

Sissoko- 6: At times it was easy to forget Sissoko was on the pitch for Tottenham. He looked a bit lost out wide and unsure of his role. As time rolled on into the second half he appeared more energized and confident as he made some smart runs out wide.

Dele- 6: He’s shown flashes of potential brilliance this season, but Alli just hasn’t been able to put the final product together with the rest of the team. Sometimes it looks like he’s just trying to do too much. He needs to rely on the rest of his teammates more.

With news he’s signed a new six year contract, Dele Alli will have a lot of time to continue to improve and show his greatness at Spurs.

Son- 8: Man of the Match, easily. From start to finish, Son constantly threatened Sunderland down the left hand side.

He deserved at least a goal for his efforts but could not find the back of the net on different occasions. Son has turned into someone who simply can’t be dropped from the starting XI at the moment.

Kane- 7: Kane didn’t have too many chances on Sunday, but in true fashion he converted eventually due to him being in the right place in the right time. It was quickly overshadowed by his devastating ankle injury. While there has been no official report, it appears Kane could be set to miss six to eight weeks with ligament damage.

Scored the winning goal – but may well be on the sidelines for the foreseeable future

Lamela- 6: Brought on for Dembele and frustrated at times with decision making. He makes the hard plays look easy, and the easy plays way more difficult than they need to be at times.

Davies- 5: Replaced Jan at left back when Dier was subbed off and looked nervous and uncomfortable. Spurs need Danny Rose back immediately.

Janssen- N/A: Not enough time for a rating but blew a golden chance to score the second goal with Lamela on a 2 v. 1.

Janssen will have to step up as he appears to be the new starting striker with Kane’s injury. Vincent has proven he’s capable, but if he starts blowing scoring opportunities, the Soldado comparisions will inevitably start to arrive…

Written by Anthony Koval

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