Back in the day, it would have been a
lack of points that caused us to moan on our way out of the ground,
but these days it is the minutiae that take our attention as we
dissect the way Spurs have beaten Sunderland 3-2. The two goals
conceded were the main talking points that vexed the Tottenham
supporters as Arsenal lost and our team finished the day in fourth
place in the Premiership.
Sunderland patently out of their depth in the PL, they were lambs
delivered to White Hart Lane for the slaughter. As often
happens, the script was not followed word for word by our guests and
they took the lead after 16 minutes. A bump into Dawson by Stead
brought an unnecessary whistle from referee Walton and a free-kick,
placed centrally, was awarded 25 yards out. Up stepped Whitehead
and curled a shot into the top right hand corner of Robinson's goal
that was well out of his reach.
this, there had been some old fashioned scrambling in front of the
Sunderland goal, with rebounds and ricochets leaving desperate
clearances pinging around the Black Cats' box, but they managed to
hack clear in the end. Keano missed a pull back by Mido and the
Egyptian headed over a cross from the hard-working Tainio. It
looked like the missed opportunities might end up costing us once
more, even more so when Keane got the ball caught up under his feet
when going to hit Lee's low cross and the chance went begging.
was apparent that Spurs were going to have plenty of possession, with
the final stats showing 61%, but the ability to break down a massed
Sunderland defence was proving problematical. Spurs were having
to get players out wide, with neither Davids or Tainio natural wingers
and Lee and Stalteri not delivering the quality of cross required when
they got forward. Jenas had a disappointing game, being
caught on the ball often and lacking sustained involvement in the
In the 37th minute, a neat build up on
the right ended with a Spurs equaliser. A great reverse pass by
Stalteri played in Keane on the right of the area, where he hit a low
ball across the face of goal for Mido to slide in at the far post to
record his sixth Premiership goal of the season with a shot into the
roof of the net. It was a simply created goal and one Spurs
might have learned from, because up to this point they seemed
determined to walk the ball into the net.
tall striker headed over from a Carrick corner shortly afterwards, but
he might have done better, then Robbie Keane was played in on the
right side again from where he produced a chip that Alnwick managed to
save. Sunderland's lack of cutting edge and poor passing was
allowing Tottenham's generosity with the ball to go unpunished, so
when the teams ended the first half all square, the score did not
reflect either side's performance.
second half started with Spurs taking the lead after five minutes had
elapsed. A long ball through was flicked on by Mido's head and
Keane ran on as Alnwick and Collins dithered with the ball between
them. As Robbie fell, the ball squirted off towards goal and a
hand going down to stop his fall appeared to propel the ball into the
goal. Scrappy it was, but the lack of communication between the
young Sunderland keeper and his defence was evident with neither
making a positive move to the ball on more than one occasion. It
is a shame that Tottenham failed to test the abilities of the keeper
on more occasions, as he looked lacking in confidence throughout the
The lead lasted only nine
minutes in all, with the substitute Le Tallec coming on after Keane's
goal pulling it back to 2-2. Gray was continually pulling King's
shirt off his back, with the match official refusing to give anything
against him while having a clear view almost every time it
happened. So, when Gray backed into King again and the ball
dropped on the edge of the box, the French striker on loan from
Liverpool swept it low past Robbo's dive.
way this game was going, it was straight up the other end and Paul
Stalteri knocked a waist high ball into the penalty area, where Teemu
Tainio dived to head the ball against the far post. For his
performance, the Finn deserved a goal and when a free-kick was touched
square to him, his shot was charged down and got a deflection
wide. Spurs pressed forwards and Sunderland could not break the
flow of the game, as the ball kept being turned over to the home
side. With Aaron Lennon on to add pace and width to the right
hand side, Spurs started making more of the ball.
it was played to Robbie on the edge of the area, the Irishman flicked
the ball up to get past Breen, but the Sunderland captain held his arm
taught at his side and the ref gave a penalty. Keano decided to
take it himself, despite Davids demanding the ball, Robbie took the
spot-kick and put it to the keeper's right, only to see Alnwick guess
correctly and push the ball wide. Once more Spurs failed to take
the luck that came their way at last.
attack saw Mido play the ball wide and Lennon hit the ball into the
near post, where it bounced off a defender and dropped to Dawson,
who's effort on goal was blocked and went into the side netting.
Jermain Defoe came on to replace Keane after 74 minutes and three
minutes, Spurs took the lead for the second time in the match. A
corner came in and when cleared to Tainio outside the box, he hooked
it wide to Carrick near the corner of the area. The England
midfielder took the ball on, as there was no defender near him and
looking up, he stroked a left foot shot that went across the keeper
and past two defenders on the line to enter the net via the foot of
the far post. He enjoyed his first goal for the club and raced
across to the West Stand to celebrate.
were other incidents of note before the final whistle.
Sunderland looked stunned when Carrick's goal went in and their
reaction at the end of the match, with players standing hands on
thighs, heads hung low, made it seem like they had lost a cup final or
had resigned themselves to relegation.
Spurs, Tainio turned in a man of the match performance with tackling,
movement and no mean skill on the ball. If only his header had
been a foot inside the post, he would have had a dream match.
Lennon seemed to pick the side up when he made his entrance, running
the right hand line and putting some good supply into the area, while
Dawson was excellent once more. The team seem to be coming on
nicely and the resilience to earn points from games like this where
one time they would have gone under means that they might look forward
with confidence, but not over-confidence to the programme up until
MEHSTG TOP MAN :
- TEEMU TAINIO