Sunderland welcome high-flying Tottenham to the Stadium of light tonight in a bizarre calendar clash that sees our game coincide with the final stirrings of the January transfer window. David Moyes will only have eyes for his men on the field, however, as we search for valuable points in the fight against relegation.
Tottenham make the near 275 mile trip up North in high spirits thanks to an 11 game unbeaten run that stretches back to December 11th when they were beaten 1-0 at Old Trafford. Since then Pochettino’s men have notched an impressive 28 goals in their last 9 games in all competitions, whilst conceding a mere 8 goals. It clearly goes without saying that Moyes and the lads will have to be a the top of their game in order to take anything from the match.
This will certainly be a game that Tottenham fans will be expecting to win especially when you consider our last win against Spurs dates back to April of 2010 when Darren Bent (2) and Bolo Zenden struck to give us a brilliant 3-1 at the Stadium of Light. But can Moyes’ boys give the SoL faithful something to cheer about this weekend?
Not much needs to be said about Tottenham’s current situation: 3rd place and still challenging for the title. How fantastic must that feel? However, despite Spurs’ imposing form of late, there are several reasons for Sunderland fans to be a little more confident going into this one.
Thanks to Patrick Van Aanholt’s £14 million move to Crystal Palace, David Moyes has been able to reinvest some of the proceeds on acquiring much needed reinforcements. Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo have signed for the club for a combined reported to be around £7.5 million - now it’s over to them to prove their worth.
Unfortunately, neither player will be available for tonight’s game due to their registrations not being completed in time, but they could be in contention to face old boys Sam Allardyce and PVA this upcoming weekend. Finally, progress on the transfer front!
It is with great pleasure that we can bring positive news on the availability of several players this week. With Sunderland’s AFCON contingent back after failing to progress in the competition, Moyes can look to reintroduce several first-team players who have been missing for several weeks.
David Moyes was certainly more upbeat in yesterday’s press conference when announcing that he had several players back, and ready to play.
Ndong and Kone are back from AFCON. Gooch played a bit of the reserve game so we are starting to get one or two back.
Ndong and Gooch will certainly be welcomed back into the squad with open arms, but Lamine Kone’s potential return will be even more welcome. With Papy Djilibodji picking up a hefty four match ban, Moyes will surely look to reintroduce Kone as quickly as possible - even if he hasn’t played since New Year’s Eve. Joleon Lescott is another name who could make the team sheet, though one wouldn’t imagine he would be anywhere near the starting line-up.
Wahbi Khazri wasn’t given even a polite mention by the gaffer, who still clearly has no time for the Tunisian; Pickford and Anichebe are still several weeks away from fitness.
We all know it’s going to be difficult to take points from Tottenham - especially considering the form they’re in as of right now. However, there is certainly a hint of optimism with new players eager to make the line-up and players returning from the AFCON; hopefully there is a shift in momentum to follow.
Predicted XI: Mannone, Manquillo, Kone, O’Shea, Jones, Denayer, Rodwell, Ndong, Borini, Januzaj, Defoe
Score Prediction: I’m going to go for an optimistic 1-1 draw with Defoe sneaking an equaliser from a rampant Spurs who just couldn’t put away their chances. Fingers crossed this is the start of a resurgence.