Rating the Tottenham Players Against Sunderland
Although their quest for Champions League qualification came to nothing in the end, Tottenham continued an impressive run of form against Sunderland on the final day of their 2012-13 season.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side were made to wait, but a late Gareth Bale strike lit up what was at times a shaky display from the North Londoners, finishing off the 10-men Black Cats.
Each of Tottenham’s stars have been graded on their final performance of the Premier League season, rated on a scale out of 10.
All statistics provided courtesy of WhoScored.com.
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris
With Sunderland failing to even get into double figures in terms of shots on the opponent’s goal, Sunday proved to be a fairly quiet day for Hugo Lloris.
That said, the few chances that Danny Graham and Connor Wickham did manage to craft were met by Tottenham’s No. 1 with the necessary resistance.
Even easier did Lloris’ day become following the sending off of Sunderland’s David Vaughan, allowing the ‘keeper to spray balls to his midfielders with increasing confidence.
Right-Back: Kyle Walker
Linking up with Aaron Lennon down Spurs’ right flank, Kyle Walker once again formed a pacey tandem with his English compatriot that many Premier League defences have found difficult to tame this season.
The 22-year-old did well in quelling the threat of James McClean while also posing a considerable one himself, managing to even test Simon Mignolet’s reactions with a second-half sighter from outside the Black Cats’ box.
Centre-Back: Jan Vertonghen
The most involved Tottenham defender on the day, Jan Vertonghen really showed his value as a rounded Premier League player against Paulo Di Canio’s Sunderland, present both at the back and going forward.
Taking the most touches among his side while maintaining a pass accuracy of 91 percent, Vertonghen was a calm, key component of Andre Villas-Boas’ backline, just as he has been for long stretches of the campaign.
Centre-Back: Michael Dawson
Engaged in a match-long back and forth with Sunderland’s front two, Dawson could have fared better in dealing with the opposition’s aerial probes, winning only half of his headed duels.
Vertonghen was forced into covering up for his central partners mistakes at times, but Dawson himself was frequently covering for Kyle Walker at times, too.
Left-Back: Benoit Assou-Ekotto
One of Spurs’ less impressive performers on the day, Assou-Ekotto found himself coming up short against Sunderland at times, particularly in a defensive sense.
The Cameroonian international conceded three fouls to Adam Johnson & Company, finishing the game with the lowest pass completion of any player in his side in the process.
Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Centre Midfield: Tom Huddlestone
Although deployed as one of Tottenham’s midfield anchors, Tom Huddlestone managed to inject a keen attacking presence into Villas-Boas’ side, registering four shots on the Sunderland goal.
Alongside Aaron Lennon, Huddlestone managed a joint-high five key passes for the hosts at White Hart Lane and added a metronomic catalyst to the Spurs creative team.
Centre Midfield: Scott Parker
With Tom Huddlestone allowed a bigger role of freedom, Scott Parker’s duties were of a more defensive nature against the Black Cats, evidenced in the midfielder’s four interceptions.
Coming off for Moussa Dembele in the 64th-minute, Parker did a solid job in restraining Di Canio’s creative weapons but was unnoticeable for large portions of the match.
Right Wing: Aaron Lennon
Although it’s not what the player has become known for in his Premier League career, a distinct lack in defensive contributions continues to prevent Aaron Lennon from becoming a complete winger.
Even with his attacking benefits, however, Jack Colback didn’t struggle too much in dealing with Lennon’s probing and limited the Spurs winger to just 47 touches over 90 minutes.
Left Wing: Clint Dempsey
Lining up on the left-hand side for Tottenham, Clint Dempsey struggled in breaking down the resolve of his opposite man, despite that man being Sunderland’s makeshift right-back, Sebastian Larsson.
In truth, Dempsey’s greatest contributions arguably came in defence. The USA international managed to get in a six-yard block and finished with four shots on goal, just one of which was on target.
Attacking Midfield: Gareth Bale
If ever there was to be a saviour to the Spurs cause, how fitting that Gareth Bale scored an 89th-minute goal to put Tottenham ahead against Sunderland, despite how the club’s qualification bid ultimately turned out.
The Welshman’s late winner was magnificent, but nothing that hasn’t been seen at White Hart Lane already this campaign, pointing out just how good the 23-year-old has been.
Unfortunate to be booked for simulation, Bale was a threat from set-pieces, open play and also helped his side substantially in defence in what was a pretty spotless display.
Striker: Emmanuel Adebayor
Emmanuel Adebayor has chosen to hit a pretty rich vein of form at what’s been an absolutely critical point of the season, which was also maintained in the 1-0 win over Sunderland.
The Togolese international lined up as Spurs’ sole striker on Sunday and did a superb job of pulling John O’Shea and Carlos Cuellar apart with his movement, opening gaps up for his creative line to penetrate among themselves.
Adebayor was also a consistent source of ammunition himself and was unfortunate not to provide Gareth Bale with a goal in the first half.
Coming on for Clint Dempsey with just 15 minutes left, Defoe provided a lively spark for the home side but ultimately looked a little too eager in testing Simon Mignolet’s goal.
Replaced Benoit Assou-Ekotto with just five minutes of the season left, he registered one goal but had insufficient time to do anything of real note.
Although Scot Parker was disappointed with his replacement, Moussa Dembele offered a far more penetrative force from the middle of the park, exploiting Tottenham's one-man advantage expertly.
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