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Match Preview: Spurs Will Prove Tough Test, But Will We Win?

We're over half way through September and still haven't won a league game. What's new?

Stu Forster/Getty Images

When you are still waiting to win your first game of the season, pretty much the worst place to go if you are Sunderland is White Hart Lane.

Tottenham are no mugs and they very rarely fail to beat us on their home turf. Likely knowing this, David Moyes will almost certainly set us up to defend - and, considering how we ended the game against Everton, I feel that we'll see the return of the 5-3-2 formation. Which of Jason Denayer or John O'Shea will take up the third central defender position should we do that is anyone's guess, though people with half a brain will recognise that Sunderland are massively lacking leadership on the pitch and the return of O'Shea to the side might not be the worst idea David Moyes has ever had in his short tenure thus far as manager of Sunderland.

I might sound like I'm being slightly defeatist but having seen our defending on Monday I just don't see us winning this game unless our goalkeeper and central defenders have the game of their lives. If they do, that will give us immense hope going forward that we have the players capable of getting us out of this mess, particularly with two very decent-looking home games coming up. If they don't, then it will be a huge concern.

Mr Moyes, you have much to prove. Thus far we haven't seen a Sunderland side you've put out play anything resembling decent football. Scratch that - we've not yet seen our team play like a side capable of winning games in the Premier League, and I suppose the quality of the football when you are winning games doesn't really matter. With everything seemingly against us, today is a huge chance for these players to captivate a supporter base that needs to see a battling performance. Over to you.

Team News

Lee Cattermole and Steven Pienaar are back in training and could well play a part the game, which is a huge boost to David Moyes as his side currently lack experience and leadership, something both offer by the boatload.

Didier Ndong is expected to make his first start since signing for the club, and his energy in midfield will be welcome alongside the bustle of Lee Cattermole should he play.

Victor Anichebe and Billy Jones aren't ready yet to be involved. Shame.

Predicted XI:

Pickford, Van Aanholt, Djilobodji, O'Shea, Kone, Manquillo, Kirchhoff, Cattermole, Ndong, Januzaj, Defoe.

Manager's Crack

Fawning over just how good our opposition are, David Moyes said:

We’ve all been impressed by Tottenham and I think they’ve become a club that people want to watch, particularly because of the England situation – they have two of three good English players – and I think the media in this country want England to do well and have good players.

Tottenham have got that and I think that’s what’s made them a side that a lot of people want to do well, and having watched quite a lot of them, the manager, the team and the club has done very well.

I might be going against the grain but I think they were a little unlucky against Monaco on Wednesday night.

I thought it could have gone the other way for them during the early stages of the game but it didn’t and the goal from Monaco was definitely against the run of play.

I think they are title challengers and I think they will be close with the players and squad they have.

Gav's Prediction

I REALLY hope that I am wrong but I can't see us winning the game. I do think (or hope?) that Monday's second half performance will have been a shot in the arm to our players and we'll attempt to stop our leaky defence from conceding goals, but whether they have the mental toughness to carry that through remains to be seen. If Cattermole starts I'll feel much more positive about our chances, because his leadership could be crucial.

I'm going for a 2-0 Spurs win, sadly.