Tottenham secured their first win of the new year with a 4-1 victory at home to a struggling Sunderland side. Goals from Mousa Dembele, Harry Kane and Chrstian Erisken who netted twice handed Spurs a crucial three points in their quest to get their top four challenge back on track.
Following on from a tough defeat during mid-week to Leicester City, Spurs fans were hoping for a positive response from their side, who were without a win in 2016. They were made to wait until the second-half to get that response, with Sam Allardyce’s side proving tricky to break down.
The main talking point of the team selections was Sam Allardyce’s decision to hand 21 year-old goalkeeper Jordan Pickford his Premier League debut. The gamble looked to have paid off in the first-half as the Sunderland academy product made a number of top draw saves to keep the score level at 0-0.
The game started off with neither side particularly causing the other problems. Spurs enjoyed the majority of the possession whilst Sunderland were happy to sit deep and soak up the little pressure that Pochettino’s side put them under. The opening chance of the game fell to the feet of Harry Kane who was denied by an excellent stop from Pickford. A few minutes on and Dele Alli also spurned an excellent opportunity to put his side ahead following a scramble inside the area, which resulted in the 19 year-old blazing his shot over the bar. Spurs’ next chance to break the deadlock came later on in the first half. Mousa Dembele broke from well inside his own half, with a host of teammates breaking forward with him, the Belgian then opted to square the ball to Erik Lamela who dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Suddenly, in the 40th minute the game sprung into life as Sunderland eventually made the break through. Patrick Van Aanholt found room in behind Spurs’ defence and slotted the ball past Hugo Lloris, much to the dismay of the home support. However, with the swiftest of responses, Spurs were back level. Harry Kane latched on to an excellent ball played through to him by Christian Eriksen, Kane’s shot forced Pickford into making a fine stop to deny him, however, the ball ricocheted into the path of Christian Eriksen who cannoned the ball into Lee Cattermole who was unable to prevent it from crossing the line.
Following the interval, Tottenham came into their own and went on to take control of the game. In the 59th minute, Mousa Dembele put his side ahead with a well driven shot which managed to find the bottom corner. Seven minutes on and Spurs were two goals ahead. Christian Eriksen attempted an audacious, long-ranged effort, which thanks to a large deflection off Sunderland debutant Jan Kirchhoff, looped over the head of the Sunderland keeper. Harry Kane was later the man to wrap up the three points for Spurs as he dispatched his penalty kick to score his 12th Premier League goal of the season.
Next up for Tottenham is their third encounter within the space of just eleven days with Leicester City on Wednesday evening. The winner of the third round replay will face Colchester United away in the next round.