Date:Sunday December 18 2011
THE MARTIN O'NEILL reign gets it's first serious test this Sunday as Sunderland head to the capital to face Tottenham Hotspur.
The North London outfit saw their 12-match unbeaten run end in a cloud of controversy at Stoke City last Sunday. However that defeat was quickly put to one side with a 4-0 triumph in the Europa League against Shamrock Rovers.
That victory was not enough to see Spurs progress in Europe and whilst some argue the continental experience would be beneficial for young players, others argue it will be a key factor in returning to the Champions League.
Harry Redknapp's side had suffered an inauspicious start to the campaign, however a 5-1 humbling at home to Manchester City proved something of an turning point for Spurs who promptly went on that impressive unbeaten streak.
Recent press clamouring suggests that Spurs could be in the title shake-up. Talk of that ilk may be a little premature, but there is no doubting the side's credentials as a top-draw Premier League outfit.
Absolutely central to that turnaround were the signings of Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor, and if the pair can keep up the early form they have shown during their Tottenham careers to date one will surely be a banker for 'signing of the season'.
At just Ł5m Parker has proved an absolute snip having moved from East London and relegated West Ham. The 31 year-old has started all 12 of the games he has been at the club for and has quickly become a key man at the lane. Having stalled earlier in his career with Chelsea, the England international is a man who has re-invented himself having started his career as a more advanced midfielder. Now in a deep-lying playmaker role, exercising brilliant defensive capabilities, Parker is key for country as well as club. It's just a shame no England manager took a chance on him a few seasons ago.
Arriving on-loan from Manchester City, Adebayor has quickly proven he still has the knack for scoring goals. The Togo cap has also been an ever-present since signing, bagging eight league goals in the process. Despite his affiliation with the red and white half of North London the powerful forward has quickly made himself a favourite for Redknapp's side. The sticking point for the former Real Madrid and Monaco man will come when his loan contract expires at the end of the season, will he take a huge pay cut to guarantee regular football or not, that is the question.
Another crucial summer signing was veteran goalkeeper, Brad Friedel. The American stopper move to White Hart Lane on a bosman after a handful of successful years in the Midlands with Aston Villa. Now the wrong side of 40, Friedel shows no signs of letting up and has marginalized club No.1, Heruelho Gomes. With 508 league starts to his name there are few more experienced than the Ohio-born custodian.
Redknapp has continued problems at centre-half on Sunday with Younes Kaboul and Michael Dawson both out. Ledley King could be in line to feature.
For Sunderland, Lee Cattermole and Nicklas Bendtner are both back leaving Martin O'Neill with a selection headache in the centre of midfield. Will Cattermole return in place of goal-hero David Vaughan. Bendtner would only return if O'Neill was to pick two conventional forwards up front instead of playing Stephane Sessegnon off of Connor Wickham.
Tottenham Hotspur: Fridel; Walker, Gallas, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Parker, Modric, Bale; Van Der Vaart; Adebayor.
Sunderland: Westwood; O'Shea (c), Brown, Turner, Bardsley; Larsson, Vaughan, Colback, Richarson; Sessegnon; Wickham.
Date:Sunday December 18 2011
Pardew In Confident Mood (Sunday December 21 2014)
Kevin Phillips Backs Sunderland For A Win. (Sunday December 21 2014)
Newcastle vs Sunderland... Draw Likely? (Sunday December 21 2014)
Germans Looking At Jozy (Monday December 15 2014)
Poyet Defends His Players After West Ham Clash (Monday December 15 2014)
Its a Dive, says Allardyce. (Monday December 15 2014)
Stats: Sunderland v West Ham United (Saturday December 13 2014)
Sunderland vs West Ham Utd: Team News (Saturday December 13 2014)
FA Cup Details Released (Friday December 12 2014)
Sunderland In Race To Sign Albentosa? (Friday December 12 2014)
|17. Crystal Palace||17||3||6||8||-8||15|
|19. Hull City||17||2||7||8||-9||13|
|Pardew In Confident Mood
» Sunderland : 21/12/2014 08:04:00
|Kevin Phillips Backs Sunderland For A Win.
» Sunderland : 21/12/2014 07:48:00
|Newcastle vs Sunderland... Draw Likely?
» Sunderland : 21/12/2014 07:13:00
|Harry Hails Hatrick Hero
» Q.P.R. : 20/12/2014 23:12:00
» Swansea : 20/12/2014 21:40:00