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Jan 16, 2016 at 12.45pm UK at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Eriksen (42', 67'), Dembele (60'), Kane (79' pen.)
FT(HT: 1-1)

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Sunderland

Sports Mole looks ahead to the Premier League clash at White Hart Lane between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland.

Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland will meet on Saturday lunchtime having experienced differing fortunes during the midweek round of Premier League matches.

Champions League-hunting Spurs fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Leicester City, while on the flip side the travelling Black Cats did their chances of securing Premier League survival no harm by winning 4-2 away at fellow strugglers Swansea City.


Mauricio Pochettino, manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at White Hart Lane on December 13, 2015 in London, England.© Getty Images

In the sort of fashion that only Tottenham seem to be capable of, the loss against Leicester saw them snatch disappointment from the clutches of optimism.

Indeed, had Mauricio Pochettino's men been able to beat their counterparts from the East Midlands, it would have moved them to within just four points of rivals and league leaders Arsenal.

Yet, while the White Hart Lane faithful were in despondent mood following Leicester's triumph, it is important that everyone connected with the club remains realistic.

At the start of the season finishing in the Champions League places - and not the title - was Tottenham's main target and right now they find themselves in fourth position, having been beaten just three times this term. By chance, the only side that has tasted defeat less is Leicester.

However, Pochettino may well be slightly concerned by his team's home record of late. While only Manchester City and Arsenal have collected more points in front of their own supporters than the Lilywhites, they have won just one of their last four Premier League outings in N17.

To improve upon that they will need to be more clinical than they were against Leicester. In total Harry Kane and co had 21 shots on Kasper Schmeichel's goal, but the visiting goalkeeper was called into action just five times.

Recent form: LWWWDL
Recent form (all competitions): WWWDDL


Sam Allardyce, manager of Sunderland looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Newcastle United at Stadium of Light on October 25, 2015 in Sunderland, England.© Getty Images

On Wednesday, Tottenham could have done with their former striker Jermain Defoe, who would no doubt have backed himself to score at least one of those chances that were spurned. After all, only four players have scored more goals for Spurs in their history than the ex-England international.

Thankfully from Sunderland's point of view, the 33-year-old now wears their colours and right now he seems to be in clinical mood.

Defoe netted a hat-trick against the Swans, taking his tally to five goals in his last two outings - as many as he managed in his previous 22 appearances.

Such form has certainly boosted Sunderland's hopes of retaining their Premier League status for another campaign, with just one point now separating them from safety.

But, ahead of the trip to North London, it is worth noting that Sunderland's record on the road is rotten. Prior to the victory over Swansea, they had picked up fewer points away from home than any other club, including bottom-placed Aston Villa.

One aspect that Sam Allardyce will be keen to change is the number of penalties that his side are conceding at present. A Premier League-high five have been awarded against Sunderland this season and with Kane clinical from 12 yards, it will be crucial that they time their tackles well on Saturday.

Recent form: LLLLWW
Recent form (all competitions): LLLWLW

Team News

Mousa Dembele of Tottenham in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and and Tottingham Hotspur at Old Trafford, Manchester.© Getty Images

Following a recent layoff with a groin problem, Mousa Dembele was back in the Spurs squad for the clash with Leicester.

The Belgian came on as a second-half substitute in that game and could now be reinstated in the starting lineup, potentially at the expense of Tom Carroll.

Son Heung-min may also replace Erik Lamela, but aside from that, Pochettino is unlikely to make any more changes.

Allardyce is also unlikely to make many alterations, although Sebastian Coates may come in at the back if the injury-prone Wes Brown is unable to play two games in such a short period of time.

Under the terms of the loan agreement between the two clubs, DeAndre Yedlin will not be able to feature for the visitors.

Spurs possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Son, Eriksen, Alli; Kane

Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Mannone; Jones, O'Shea, Coates, Van Aanholt; Cattermole, M'Vila, Rodwell; Johnson, Borini; Defoe

Head To Head

Tottenham have won eight and lost none of their last 11 Premier League games against Sunderland.

You have to go back even further to find Sunderland's last win at White Hart Lane, which was in August 2008 thanks to goals from Kieran Richardson and Djibril Cisse.

When the two sides met at the Stadium of Light earlier in the season, Spurs won 1-0 courtesy of Ryan Mason's 82nd-minute strike.

Spurs also lead the overall head to head record between the two sides, having won 48 matches to Sunderland's 37.

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We say: Spurs 1-1 Sunderland

With Allardyce in charge, there have been signs of late that things are starting to click at Sunderland. Of course Spurs will be the favourites, but there is a chance that the Black Cats could claim a share of the spoils, particularly with Defoe in good form.

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Sunderland's English manager Sam Allardyce arrives for the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Sunderland at Selhurst Park in south London on November 23, 2015
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