Tottenham Hotspur had to settle for a point in a cagey stalemate at the Stadium of Light.
David Moyes made four changes for Sunderland following their 2-0 defeat to West Brom, with Ndong and Kone returning from the African Cup of Nations. For Spurs, Pochettino reverted to a back four with Heung Min Son and Michel Vorm coming into the side for Kevin Wimmer and the ill Hugo Lloris.
A cagey affair
The first real chance of the game perhaps surprisingly fell to Sunderland. Borini found himself in space after a few deflections but could only shoot straight at Vorm from 15 yards out. A big chance for Sunderland in a game in which they were few and far between.
Moments later, it was Spurs’ chance to test Mannone as Wanyama struck a pile driver from 25 yards out forcing the keeper into a decent save.
Despite the lack of goals, the game was not without controversy as Rodwell was lucky not to see a straight red card in the 33rd minute for a late challenge on Dembele. It seemed the luck really was not on Spurs’ side as moments later Danny Rose was forced off with an ankle injury, to be replaced by Ben Davies. As the half ended, bar Mousa Dembele who was running the show in midfield, Spurs had struggled to break down a resolute Sunderland side, buoyed by the return of the impressive Ndong.
Spurs showed an immediate response from their lacklustre first half display, with Kane almost getting on the end of a Davies cross from the left. Moments later, Eriksen forced Mannone into a good save down to his left with a free kick from 25 yards out. Wanyama probably had the best chance of the game as his header just cleared the bar. From a Spurs perspective the fact that Wanyama had their best chance of the game speaks volumes with a poor all round display.
With 20 minutes to go, Moyes brought on Honeyman for the ineffective Borini, who managed to cause Spurs some issues on the counter attack. Truth be told, neither team especially offered much in an attacking sense, which was to be expected from Sunderland however not so much from Spurs.
It seems without playing a three at the back formation, much like earlier in the season, Spurs struggle to create many chances, with Rose’s injury cause to concern for Pochettino who is already streched in the defensive department following Vertonghen’s ankle ligament damage.
Meanwhile, David Moyes will be pleased in the way Sunderland managed to restrict Spurs to a limited number of chances, with Ndong’s return from Gabon proving decisive.