5-1! Before this win, Spurs hadn’t even managed four goals at home in the league, let alone five. A great victory, although it must be noted that Sunderland are bottom of the table; on this showing they deserve to be there.
The day and the game, both started badly for our much maligned manager. First came reports that Sherwood would be picking up his P45 come the summer; hardly earth shattering news. The scoop was broken by Sky Sports – later Gary Neville would call it an act of “media terrorism” on that very network. While I’ll be happy to see Tim go and Tottenham employ a manager who has got in some practice beforehand, I do feel sorry for him. He’s been put in an impossible position. No preseason, no choice of players, no time – a convenient scapegoat for the men upstairs.
The team news had some surprises, most notably the inclusion of Harry Kane. The season’s pretty much over for us, so it makes sense to give some of our younger players some game time. All the more annoying that Rose is still being picked ahead of Fryers. The left back is clearly our weak link in defence.
Another experiment that has had way more than the time it deserved, is Nacer Chadli playing behind the strikers. It makes some sense when Soldado is alone up front because the Belgian provides height and a physical presence, but this doesn’t wash with Adebayor and Kane up top.
I was very pleased to see Chiriches return from injury, although I was a little less happy with him 17 minutes into the game. The Romanian centre back played a woeful pass across his own penalty area, gratefully received by Lee Catermole to set up a smart shot for his first ever Sunderland goal (is it me or do opponents constantly seem to break some sort of personal record against Spurs?). Deja-vu, another bad start, another defensive error leading to a goal.
Despite the goal Tottenham looked lively, or perhaps more accurately Sunderland looked vulnerable. Kane almost equalised within a minute but his shot was saved by Manone. When the equaliser came it was from an unsurprising source.
Christian Eriksen has been the stand-out player of Tottenham’s disappointing season. The only one of Spurs much heralded summer signings to have been an unqualified success. Head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch, the Dane whipped a wonderful low cross between the Sunderland defence and goalkeeper. Adebayor, another rare example of a Tottenham player having a good year, was on hand to apply the finish.
On the negative side, Danny Rose was having another bad game. Defensively, his positioning is dreadful and he’s too lightweight. Going forward nothing was working for him either. One cross was so over-hit, it sailed directly out of play for a throw. Lennon was quiet, against a defence that was there for the taking. After a couple of good performances earlier in the season – notably against Manchester United – he’s been anonymous. He never seems to take people on any more.
The teams went in level at the break. At the start of the second period, an increasingly involved Harry Kane should have had a penalty. The young forward ran at the Sunderland defence and was sent sprawling. Replays suggested his foot had been trodden on. Kane was getting in some good positions, if not always looking that comfortable when chances came his way. It didn’t take long for him to get his reward. As Eriksen sent in another dangerous low cross, Kane got ahead of the defender to poke home.
Kane, Eriksen and Adebayor were to combine for the next two goals, as Sunderland capitulated. Eriksen scored from a long range shot, a slight deflection helping to take it past the despairing dive of the Sunderland keeper. An increasingly confident Kane showed skill to beat Vergini in the Sunderland penalty area, his shot squirmed under Manone, and Adebayor made sure from close range.
Sigurdsson came on as a substitute and demonstrated why it’s worth keeping him in the summer. Another smartly taken goal, another late one too, this time not quite as significant as his winner against Southampton.
So what did this result tell us – that we’re considerably better than the worst team in the league? Despite the moaning about Sherwood and the state of the club, even the most pessimistic Tottenham fan already knew that. It’s difficult to make any conclusions, Sunderland were so bad. So let’s just enjoy a fantastic 5-1 victory at the Lane.
Do you agree with my analysis? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.