Sunderland vs. Tottenham: Team News, Predicted Line-Ups, Live Stream, TV Info

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2015

Tottenham Hotspur beat Sunderland 2-1 when the two teams last met in January. They shared a 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light earlier in the season.
Tottenham Hotspur beat Sunderland 2-1 when the two teams last met in January. They shared a 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light earlier in the season.GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur meet on Sunday, with both teams attempting to secure their first Premier League win of the season.

Two draws in a row for the Black Cats prior to the international break has tempered the despair brought on by opening defeats to Leicester City and Norwich City. Yet, in the context of a bigger picture that includes last season's relegation near-miss, there are issues continuing to cause alarm.

Dick Advocaat is keen to get to work with his now settled squad.
Dick Advocaat is keen to get to work with his now settled squad.Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

With the transfer window now closed, head coach Dick Advocaat is hoping the group he has brought together will soon begin to rectify these.

"The most important thing is that we now have a squad that can compete with each other," Advocaat told Sunderland's official website. "Everybody has to show during the games that he wants to play and that is the advantage compared to last season; we brought in some other players and they can do the job as well."

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino will be just as grateful now to be able to focus firmly on football. His team has not lost since their narrow opening-day defeat at Manchester United, but they are still ruing missed opportunities to take more than they did in the three draws to have followed.

"To be honest we’ve been a bit unlucky over the last month because we’ve done a lot of positive things but we haven’t been rewarded for that and we’ve lost some points, so now we need to recover those points and we hope to start this weekend at Sunderland," captain Hugo Lloris reflected to his club's official website.

A fifth game without a win will be harder to excuse for Mauricio Pochettino and his Tottenham team.
A fifth game without a win will be harder to excuse for Mauricio Pochettino and his Tottenham team.Tim Ireland/Associated Press

"I think we need to find our confidence as quickly as possible and to do that we need to win the next game."

Both Sunderland and Spurs will be aware of the increased scrutiny they will come under if they fail to win this weekend. This could lead to a tense and tight affair, but given their performances and results so far (see further below), do not be surprised if it goes completely the other way.

Date: Sunday, September 13

Time: 1:30 p.m. BST/8:30 a.m. ET       

Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland

TV Info: Sky Sports 1 (UK and Ireland only)/NBC Sports Network (U.S. only)       

Live Stream: Sky Go and NOW TV (UK and Ireland only)/NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S. only)

Form Lines

Sunderland and Tottenham's Last Five Results
SunderlandTottenham Hotspur
Premier League, August 29: Aston Villa (A)—Draw: 2-2Premier League, August 29: Everton (H)—Draw: 0-0
Capital One Cup, August 25: Exeter City (H)—Win: 6-3Premier League, August 22: Leicester City (A)—Draw: 1-1
Premier League, August 22: Swansea City (H)—Draw: 1-1Premier League, August 15: Stoke City (H)—Draw: 2-2
Premier League, August 15: Norwich City (H)—Loss: 1-3Premier League, August 8: Manchester United (A)—Loss: 1-0
Premier League, August 8: Leicester City (A)—Loss: 4-2Pre-season (Audi Cup), August 5: AC Milan (A)—Win: 0-2
Both clubs' official websites

Team News

Sunderland AFC 🔴⚪ @SunderlandAFC

INJURY UPDATE: Quartet unlikely to face Tottenham Hotspur - http://t.co/fFoSwAWXJs http://t.co/g7CmLQ5pcf

Sunderland will be without Tom Beadling, Steven Fletcher, Adam Johnson and Adam Matthews for Sunday's match, with Jordi Gomez also unlikely to feature.

Beadling and Matthews will be out out for the best part of two months. Johnson is back in training, and Gomez is even closer to return, just needing "a little bit more sharpness-wise" according to Advocaat. The club's official website latterly announced on Friday that Fletcher would be absent after suffering a training-ground knock.

Deadline-day loan recruit DeAndre Yedlin is ineligible to play against his parent club.

Tottenham Hotspur @SpursOfficial

More details on team news for Sunday's trip to Sunderland - http://t.co/BcchCmCbgi #COYS http://t.co/O4Wc6z6A4w

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has indicated new signing Son Heung-Min will be involved after being granted a work permit and international clearance during the recent break. Fellow summer recruit Clinton Njie is described as "also close."

Mousa Dembele is doubtful after going off injured against Everton, while Christian Eriksen is still recovering from a knee injury.

Predicted Lineups

Bleacher Report

One of Sunderland's aforementioned issues has been their inability to keep a clean sheet, conceding 10 in four league matches. Advocaat has tweaked his defence throughout the fledgling campaign but may stick with the back four deployed against Aston Villa for Tottenham ("just" the two conceded in that game).

Younes Kaboul looked more assured alongside John O'Shea but both may still require time to adjust to each other.
Younes Kaboul looked more assured alongside John O'Shea but both may still require time to adjust to each other.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The centre-back pairing of captain John O'Shea and former Spur Younes Kaboul was not perfect. The latter's attempts to communicate the lurking presence of Scott Sinclair in the build-up to his and Villa's second goal went unheeded by the skipper, whose decision to try to block the assisting cross did not pay off.

They stood their ground well enough, though, and commendably so, too, given the near-nonexistent protection they received from those in front of them.

The returning Fabio Borini looks set to be the only alteration (replacing Danny Graham) to a front three where utilising the movement and goal threat of Jermain Defoe and the width and pace of Jeremain Lens takes precedent over anything they offer defensively (more on which later). With this in mind, Advocaat knows his midfield need to strike a better balance against Spurs after they so feebly allowed Villa to dominate them.

Ola Toivonen could get his first Sunderland start after his arrival contributed to some improvement last time out. Yann M'Vila will also probably keep his place off the back of a wonderfully struck free-kick that opened that game's scoring.

Yann M'Vila's free-kick partially masked a slack overall performance from the Frenchman.
Yann M'Vila's free-kick partially masked a slack overall performance from the Frenchman.Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

The Frenchman struggled otherwise along with Lee Cattermole, Jack Rodwell and substitute Sebastian Larsson, all of whom could be battling for the remaining midfield spot.

Timid offensively, they were unable to stop Villa bypassing them the other way (more than once, someone could be seen not even paying attention). Cattermole gets the nod in this predicted lineup based on his seniority and neither of the others offering anything better than his lacklustre last showing.

Tottenham's back five should be unchanged after their improved showing and clean sheet against Everton. Eric Dier and Nabil Bentaleb may be kept together in central midfield if Pochettino decides to stick with Ryan Mason further forward, seeing as Eriksen is still out (the England international is probably due a goal after going to close several times against the Toffees, too).

There is a possibility the Argentinian could adjust his team further if Dembele is unavailable. Perhaps deploying the likely debutant Son behind Harry Kane up top with one of Erik Lamela, Alex Pritchard or the now-available Andros Townsend out right.

The flexibility of being able to drop Mason back into a more recognisable midfield three could see Pochettino decide to use him between Nacer Chadli and Son. This would be a concession to retaining a little more steel away from home than the previously mentioned change might offer.

Sunderland Player to Watch: Ola Toivonen

Toivonen made an immediate impact off the bench in his debut appearance at Aston Villa.

The first-half midfield trio of Cattermole, M'Vila and Rodwell had been frequently overrun by Tim Sherwood's side, contributing little going forward in return in open play. Having also clumsily conceded the penalty from which Scott Sinclair equalised—the attacker adding a second on 41 minutes—it was no surprise to see Cattermole replaced by the Swede at the interval.

If selected, Ola Toivonen's presence in midfield will give Spurs something to think about on Sunday.
If selected, Ola Toivonen's presence in midfield will give Spurs something to think about on Sunday.Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

With the match threatening to get away, the impetus instilled by the summer loan signing from Rennes helped Sunderland regain a timely foothold. Eager to get on the ball, his positive movement saw his side begin to sustain their attacks a little longer while further back, the Swede used his 6'2'' frame to good effect, stopping the Villa midfield from crossing the halfway line so easily.

It was one such obstructive moment that led to the Black Cats' equaliser. Toivonen robbed Carlos Sanchez in the centre circle, looked up and played Lens in off the right flank. The winger cut inside on Ciaran Clark and fired in.

"There were plenty of tackles flying around him at Villa, so he knew he was in a game," O'Shea told the Sunderland Echo's Chris Young of his new team-mate, "but he showed some lovely link-up play and that’s going to be important for us."

Toivonen alone will not remedy Sunderland's midfield issues—later on at Villa Park, they regressed to their earlier pattern. As O'Shea mentioned, the Black Cats will hope his inclination to connect promptly with others, backed by his all-round presence, will help them become more proactive and less reactive.

Tottenham Player to Watch: Harry Kane

You wonder whether a chance missed against Everton in a similar situation went through Kane's mind prior to his goal for England against San Marino.

At White Hart Lane a week earlier, the striker had been sent behind the Toffees defence by Mason. With Phil Jagielka chasing him, Kane opted to shoot to the side of goalkeeper Tim Howard. Narrowing the angle well, the low shot was stopped by the outstretched American.

Harry Kane celebrates sealing England's 2-0 win against Switzerland.
Harry Kane celebrates sealing England's 2-0 win against Switzerland.Frank Augstein/Associated Press

San Marino shot-stopper Aldo Simoncini had less time to prepare himself for Kane's run onto Jonjo Shelvey's closer-quarters through ball, while the angle was also slightly wider. Rather than wait for the goalkeeper to get too close, this time Kane proceeded to promptly chip him (go to the 2:55 mark to see on the above video).

Given Kane brought up the aforementioned missed chance during media duty in the international break, it seems very likely it informed the subsequently converted opportunity. "I should have scored from that chance," he said of the Everton moment, via the Guardian's Daniel Taylor. "As a striker you are going to get chances where you miss and, after that, it is about how you cope."

Four matches without scoring for Tottenham has seen Kane scrutinised and answering questions over whether he can avoid being labelled a one-season wonder (his well-earned, successful integration into the first team over the course of 2013-14 continues to be ignored).

Kane faced plenty of questions while on international duty.
Kane faced plenty of questions while on international duty.PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Many have overlooked that he has actually been one of his team's better performers so far, and that he would have probably scored by now with better, more frequent service (away at Leicester City, he had to create his only real opportunities by himself). A situation emphasised by how clinically he took his goals for England, the second a smartly placed bottom-corner shot against Switzerland teed up by Luke Shaw's cross.

If provided with sufficient assistance, Kane should prove a handful for Sunderland. He will be doubly keen to score at the right end having scored an own goal in Spurs' 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light last season.

Key Battle: Can Sunderland Protect Their Flanks?

As bad as Sunderland's midfield were at Aston Villa, they could argue they needed a little help too from the attacking trio in front of them. Far more entitled to a moan, though, are full-backs Billy Jones and Patrick van Aanholt, both having had to make do with even more limited protection.

Van Aanholt in particular suffered with the left-wing stationed Defoe doing little to obstruct the attacking forays of a fellow former Tottenham man, Villa right-back Alan Hutton.

Poor Patrick van Aanholt will hope for more protection on his left flank than he received last time out at Villa Park.
Poor Patrick van Aanholt will hope for more protection on his left flank than he received last time out at Villa Park.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The flip side was both Defoe and Lens out right (occasionally swapping positions) did offer some respite by keeping Villa occupied up the other end. With Borini playing central to them, Advocaat will plan on the three causing even more problems for Sunday's visitors too.

Pochettino will surely have noticed the space left behind them, however. Utilising the distracting presence of his own attackers, he will encourage his full-backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker to find out if the flanks in front of their counterparts are left just as unprotected as at Villa Park.

Odds (via Odds Shark)

Sunderland win: 11-4

Tottenham win: 20-21

Draw: 12-5