Tottenham Hotspur 0
Tottenham Hotspur were made to settle for a solitary point during the Saturday lunch-time kick off against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Black Cats boss Martin O’Neill set his team up to soak up the anticipated pressure from the high-flying North London giants as clear-cut chances fell few and far between on Wearside.
Manager Harry Redknapp opted to field an un-changed side from the one that swept Swansea City to one side the week before and despite dominating possession from the off, opportunities were hard to come by.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto fired a 30-yard effort just wide in the opening exchanges as both sides looked content to hold onto the ball.
Luka Modric shot straight at goalkeeper Simon Mignolet while Emmanuel Adebayor’s header appeared to strike Phil Bardsley on the arm, but any appeal was waved away.
At the other end, Brad Friedel easily gathered Craig Gardner’s tame header and Sandro was on-hand to block Michael Turner’s headed effort over for a corner.
Spurs came close to taking the initiative on the stroke of half-time, but Matthew Kilgallon managed to block Rafael Van der Vaart’s goal bound effort on the line.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first and after 55 minutes, following good work by Gareth Bale and Modric, Van der Vaart could only curl his effort over the bar.
Bale saw his header loop onto the roof of the net while Kyle Walker did well to turn away Gardner’s cross that looked destined for the path of James McClean.
Aaron Lennon was introduced just after the hour mark and made an immediate impact picking out Van der Vaart, but the Dutchman was unable to get enough power or accuracy on the ball before poking his effort wide.
Redknapp bought on Louis Saha and Jermain Defoe to snatch the three points, but it wasn’t to be as Spurs left Sunderland with a point.
What Redknapp had to say
“We started well and in the first 15 minutes I think we had the ball for 14 of them,” he told Sky Sports.
“They were difficult to break down and were looking to hit us on the counter attack. They sat in and made it difficult, there was no space behind them.
“We have come away from home to a tough place, like Chelsea last week, have got another clean sheet and had the lion’s share of the game.
“You just have to keep picking up points. We all want to win every game and we came here today thinking it was a game we could have won.
“I think we had enough about us to have beaten them today. It wasn’t to be but it’s another point and another clean sheet, which is important away from home.”
Man of the match
Having missed the encounter, I am going what others have written, and the general consensus appears to be Younes Kaboul. So, congratulations Younes.
Moment of the match
Three points would’ve been handy, but I had this down for a loss and Spurs are a point better off. Sunderland aren’t rubbish at home, or away for that matter, so it was always going to be a tough test. For all those knee-jerking about not beating the Black Cats, this was, in many opinions, the most difficult encounter of the run-in for Spurs so consider it a point gained rather than two dropped.
The Sandro haters; the guy is 23-years-old and many of his 20 appearances this season have come from the bench. A knee injury hindered his pre-season and a calf injury didn’t help when he was just getting back into his stride. Give him time and patience because he will be good. Hopefully he can remain injury free until the summer and get a decent pre-season under his belt for the new season. And always remember that it could be worse: he could be Mario Balotelli.