Tottenham vs. Sunderland: Winners and Losers from Premier League

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2016

Tottenham vs. Sunderland: Winners and Losers from Premier League

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    Tottenham Hotspur consolidated their top-four position in the Premier League with a big 4-1 win over a defensive Sunderland side on Saturday.

    Despite Spurs dominating most of the first half, it was Sunderland who scored first, Patrick van Aanholt beating Hugo Lloris at his near post. The lead lasted only a minute, however, as Christian Eriksen's shot was only spooned up into the net by Lee Cattermole, attempting to make a block on the line.

    Spurs took control after the break with goals from Mousa Dembele, Eriksen and a late Harry Kane penalty.

    Here are our biggest winners and losers from the fixture.

Winner: Mousa Dembele

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    Controlling the game from early on and looking one of the best talents throughout, Mousa Dembele was the man who set the tempo of the game for Spurs, and his passing and movement throughout the central third of the pitch was exceptional.

    Whether on the counter-attack or in open play, his decision-making was extremely good in regard to when and where to release the ball, while he also showed good positional rotation with Dele Alli in particular.

    A standout performance and a well-taken goal to put his side in front.

Loser: Jan Kirchhoff

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    Former Bayern Munich backup Jan Kirchhoff came off the bench in the second half to make his Sunderland debut and had an absolute nightmare.

    Minutes after coming on, he sloppily turned his back on a shot that flew into the net via his outstretched leg. He later fouled Danny Rose in the box to give away a penalty that was also scored.

    BT Sport analysts Glenn Hoddle and Robbie Savage labelled his defending "unacceptable" and "lazy" on air.

    The German didn't look as though he knew which positions he was supposed to be taking up in the back three and struggled to make any kind of positive impression.

Winner: Jordan Pickford

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    He finished on the losing side, but Jordan Pickford impressed in goal for Sunderland despite the four goals he conceded.

    Recalled from his loan at Preston North End in late December and making his Premier League debut, Pickford made five or six good, if reasonably routine, low saves from Spurs shots and was confident and consistent with his handling in the air.

    His distribution was largely good, and the youngster can rest assured he should see further game time for the Black Cats.

Loser: Sam Allardyce

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    Kirchhoff's individual moments didn't help, but Sunderland's manager has to be questioned for his change in tactics too.

    The Black Cats were looking resolute and hard to break down in the first half, closing out the spaces well in front of the defence in a 4-5-1, but Sam Allardyce switched to a 3-5-2 to bring Kirchhoff on, and the balance of the team looked poor from then on.

    They couldn't close out the gaps quickly enough, there was little communication or understanding in the defence and, in truth, they could easily have conceded five or six.

Winner: Harry Kane

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    Harry Kane had to wait until the last minutes of the game to score, but his performance throughout the match was impressive. He showed good movement to drop out of the front line and let runners from deep take his place, linked play at times and got plenty of shots away.

    His penalty was well dispatched, and Kane's work rate ensured he was applauded off by the fans when he was subbed late on.

    Speaking on BT Sport, Kane said: "Second half was a solid performance. When you come off a defeat, you have to bounce back as soon as possible. It's a cliche of one game at a time, but that's all we can do. [We] have to keep working hard and moving forward."