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Sunderland AFC v tottenham (A)...
LINES FROM LONDON: EXILES BLOG

Monday night’s second-half performance sent shivers through all of us as we looked wide open at the back and it could’ve been a lot worse. We haven’t got much out of Spurs away for a few seasons and unless we can shore it up at the back, we may get another stuffing this afternoon. I hear it’s possible that Catts may be back in the squad and we need some steel. I wouldn’t be surprised if O’Shea starts because an old campaigner like him would help to steady things. Danny Rose is definitely out today and I’m glad about that as he’s always a threat but Dembele returns after suspension. It’s still very early days but we’re in the bottom three and are already a win away from even a slightly comfortable position. A point today would suit me fine and with QPR coming up on Wednesday we’ll have the chance to string a couple of good results together. I’ll be at the game with a couple of friends and will be off in an hour or so to have a couple of pre-match libations. Match prediction: 2-1 to Spurs.

One of my mates summed this up rather well when he said, “It’s all very well, stalwart defending and then counter-attacking but you’ve got to have a counter-attack.” We were pummelled by Spurs in this match and I’m amazed it was only 1-0 as they had endless chances, with Son in particular lamming it in from all angles, and at least twelve corners, including four in a row just before the break. I don’t know what it is about Djilobodji and the sixtieth minute but he seems to go to pieces as it approaches and today he failed to connect his foot with a very basic clearance in our box and Kane gratefully accepted the chance to score from close range.

There were four changes from the side that collapsed against Everton with Denayer, Pienaar, N’Dong and Catts starting. We did defend stoutly for most of the game and even managed a few attacks as time went on in each half but there were far too many hopeful lobs from the back to...usually a large Spurs defender. Pickford was my man of the match as he made a series of great saves but he too was guilty of booting it hopefully to nobody in particular. I liked the look of N’Dong and when he settles in, I think he’ll be a real asset as he got stuck into the tackle and could hold the ball well as he turned and looked for someone to pass to. After they took the lead we brought on Watmore for Pienaar, who’d done all right too and had a good chance that went begging, and he managed to add a bit of threat at times. There were three occasions when it looked like we might equalize but on each of them the final ball, one from Watmore and two from Januzaj, was too far ahead of the onrunning Defoe. Jermain didn’t look too pleased about the service he was getting. We got three bookings for Manquillo (I think), Denayer and, of course, Catts while Januzaj went one better when he got a red in the dying stages of normal time for a juicy tackle. There were six minutes of stoppage-time but it felt like twelve and my fantasies of a late equalizer were never really going to happen. Anyway, see you at Loftus Road on Wednesday.

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