Tottenham Hotspur versus SunderlandLocation: White Hart Lane (London)
Date: Tuesday, November 9
Time: 3:00 pm. Eastern
Records (W-D-L, +/-, Place):
Spurs, 4-3-4, -1, 7th
Sunderland, 3-6-2, -1, 8th
Five days after a startling UEFA Champions League triumph over the title holders, Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur came crashing back down to earth on Saturday with a 4-2 loss at Bolton that was not as close as the scoreline might indicate. Despite their standing atop their Champions League group, Tottenham supporters are undoubtedly concerned by their seventh place league standing after managing just 10 points from their last seven Premier League matches. With Sunderland and Blackburn at White Hart Lane in their next two matches before a trip to the Emirates for the always testy North London derby with Arsenal, it is vital that Spurs step forward with six points from their next two matches. They will have to do it without Aaron Lennon and Ledley King though and Rafael Van der Vaart and William Gallas are both in doubt.
On the other side of the field at White Hart Lane will be Sunderland, who bounced back from an embarrassing 5-1 loss to Newcastle with a 2-0 win over Stoke on Saturday, despite the absence of Darren Bent and a missed penalty by Steed Malbranque. Last time Sunderland took on Spurs they came away 3-1 winners back in April, but that was at the Stadium of Light. Like Spurs, Sunderland is sitting on 15 points and have put themselves in position for a top half finish. As was the case on Saturday, Sunderland will be without Bent, who has a hamstring injury, and John Mensah, who is carrying a shoulder injury.
Projected Lineup, Tottenham: Gomes, Hutton, Kaboul, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Bentley, Huddlestone, Modric, Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Crouch
Projected Lineup, Sunderland: Mignolet, Onuoha, Turner, Ferdinand, Bardsley, Elmohamady, Henderson, Cattermole, Malbranque, Welbeck, Gyan
Key Matchup: Welbeck and Gyan versus Spurs' defense. The last time Tottenham held anyone to a clean sheet in the English Premier League was in the opening match of the season. Since then it has been a goal feast for Spurs opponents and just three days ago Tottenham allowed four. Welbeck is speedy and will challenge Tottenham's back line, likely forcing a couple dangerous free kicks. Gyan is finally healthy and is a good finisher who takes the chances presented to him, chances he should get on Tuesday.
Battle Within the Battle: Sunderland versus the road. Away from home this season, the Black Cats are still without a win and have given up nine goals to just four scored. Two draws from their five away contests is all Sunderland has to show and they haven't been exactly played at the most intimidating stadiums in all of England. A year ago Sunderland managed just two wins away from the Stadium of Light all season long. The Black Cats have hardly fared well on the road, but they're going to have to give it a go on Tuesday.
Pick: Once again, Spurs will not keep a clean sheet, but they will get goals from Pavlyuchenko and Bale to win 2-1.