MF’s Preview: Sunderland vs Tottenham Hotspur

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It’s the latest in a long line of ‘massive’ games for Spurs this Saturday afternoon at the Stadium of Quiet as Sunderland are the latest team to have a go at stopping Tottenham’s charge towards the Champions League.

Five league wins on the spin means that we are now favourites with the bookies for fourth spot and obviously if we can keep that sort of form going then we’ll all be kicking back with the brandies and cigars well before the visit to Turf Moor on May 9. However we all know that it’s not going to be like that.

Despite experiencing long periods of indifferent form this season Sunderland have been pretty solid at home losing only to Chelsea and Aston Villa, so a win – and wouldn’t that be fantastic? – is going to have to earned. The huge number of players through the revolving doors at White Hart Lane during the last few years mean that The Rokerites are yet another club with a larger than expected number of former players in their ranks.  Darren Bent, Steed Malbranque and Fraizer Campbell can all be expected to turn out against us but not loanee Alan Hutton which is a shame as personally I’d like to see Gareth Bale taking him on down the left. Andy Reid and Marton Fulop haven’t featured lately and Teemu Tainio is on loan.

Injury news from our camp seems largely positive. Michael Dawson would be the biggest loss if he doesn’t make it; Younes Kaboul’s distracted cameo against Portsmouth was strongly reminiscent of his first spell at the club, which is not something we want to see more of.  Jermain Defoe must be close to getting his place back and obviously Bentley and Pavlyuchenko have a bit more ‘game time’, as the modern parlance goes, behind them. Corluka may not make it in which case Kyle Walker will get another shot. His debut last week was comfortable and he made the most of it, this game would test him further but the signs are there that he can cope.

In midfield Harry will think for a while about keeping Palacios on the bench (though he’s already missed two games) as the threat of an immediate two game suspension that hangs over him should he get another booking is still there until the amnesty kicks in after the semi-final. With Bentley and Huddlestone available, Redknapp has options.

We need as many points as we can before the fortnight from hell begins on Wednesday week. As usual we should have enough about us to create chances to score and given the form and confidence of the defence we should feel optimistic of getting a win despite the home team’s good record.

By MF

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