David Moyes was forced to reshuffle the deck just before kick-off as Patrick van Aanholt was pulled out due to injury, Jason Denayer took his place at right-back instead. On a brighter note, Lee Cattermole made his first start this season after coming back from injury, to take up his usual holding midfield role alongside record signing Didier N'Dong - who was also making a first start.
Tottenham were on the front foot from the get-go and had a number of very threatening chances, keeping the Sunderland back line very busy throughout the first half. Heung-Min Son and Dele Alli linked up well, terrorising Jason Denayer at every opportunity. Moussa's Sissoko, Dembele and Harry Kane didn't shy away from the visitors' net either.
Sunderland were completely pinned back, with their opponents looking more like a firing squad than a football team as they lined up shot after shot. It wasn't until the twenty minute mark that the lads had a chance of their own, with Defoe latching onto the end of a hoofed long ball to fire straight at Spurs 'keeper Hugo Lloris, hardly troubling the Frenchman.
From then on, it was back to the home side being firmly on top. Son and Sissoko lit up the Sunderland box only minutes later with two shots that were hurtling goalbound, but the visitors threw bodies in the way to ensure they were still hanging on to the stalemate.
Another threatening chance came shortly after as Son cut inside virtually unchallenged, but a fingertip save from Pickford pushed the effort behind.
As the end of the first half drew near, there would be one more clear cut chance on goal - but this time it was for us! Adnan Januzaj danced through the Tottenham defence in the box and squared the ball to Steven Pienaar, but the veteran winger's finessed effort wasn't quite good enough, and Kyle Walker was able to clear it off the line.
As play resumed, so did the flow of one-way traffic. Sissoko swung in a dangerous cross just minutes into the restart, but Pickford was diligent enough to deal with the threat and fingertipped it to safety. Son would find the side netting a couple minutes later.
It wasn't long before the seemingly inevitable happened. Kyle Walker was allowed too much room from Javier Manquillo to guide a telling cross into the box. The initial effort was headed down into the path of Papy Djilobodji, but the defender failed to clear the danger, and the ball rolled to Harry Kane from mere yards out - Spurs were one up.
For the remainder of the match, any attacking threat from Sunderland was scarce and squandered, with Januzaj sending in a number of feeble through balls that were never going to find Defoe. Chances at the other end of the pitch were still plentiful, with the visitors chasing shadows and picking up bookings left right and centre. For want of a silver lining, Pickford was on form today - making a fantastic save from Erik Lamela on the eighty-sixth minute.
Januzaj would then add insult to injury with a sending off. The Belgian received a second yellow for a nasty challenge on Ben Davies, following an earlier booking for dissent.
Even with eleven men, Sunderland offered very little going forward. Spurs saw the game out comfortably, and it ended one nil to the home side.
Tottenham Hotspur 1 - 0 Sunderland
Sunderland: Pickford, Denayer (McNair 90+4'), Kone, Djilobodji, Manquillo, Cattermole, Kirchhoff (Khazri 79'), N'Dong, Pienaar (Watmore 62'), Januzaj, Defoe
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderwireld, Dier, Vertongen, Dembele (Lamela 74'), Wanyama, Sissoko, Alli, Son, Kane (Janssen 87')