Tottenham 4-1 Sunderland: Christian Eriksen scores twice as Spurs thrash Black Cats
By Lyall Thomas at White Hart Lane
Last Updated: 16/01/16 5:10pm
Christian Eriksen scored twice as Tottenham retained their top-four place with a 4-1 thrashing of Sunderland at White Hart Lane.
The Dane's two strikes both found the net via sizeable deflections - his first going in off the leg of Lee Cattermole as Spurs were forced to come from behind in the first half of the Saturday lunchtime encounter.
Patrick van Aanholt fired the struggling Wearsiders into the lead, but Eriksen scored just two minutes later before the returning Mousa Dembele made it 2-1 to Spurs on the hour mark.
Eriksen's second went in off the leg of substitute Jan Kirchhoff, whose nightmare debut was confirmed when he gave away the penalty for Tottenham's fourth - converted by Harry Kane.
Dembele was one of three Spurs changes to the side beaten at home by Leicester on Wednesday, with right-back Kyle Walker dropped altogether and Danny Rose also returning.
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce started with two up front, with Danny Graham joining former Spurs favourite Jermain Defoe as one of two changes, and they capitalised on a period of uncertainty for Tottenham after their midweek loss to Leicester.
Walker had trouble in that game on Wednesday and was replaced by Kieran Trippier, as Dembele made his first start since December and Rose came in for Ben Davies.
The home side had a number of shots blocked and saved in the first half-hour through Dele Alli and Kane, while Erik Lamela should have done better after he was put through on the break by Dembele.
But an incisive pass from Adam Johnson split open the Spurs back four and allowed Van Aanholt to fire home the opener inside Hugo Lloris' near post on 40 minutes.
That proved the inspiration Tottenham needed and they went straight down the other end and equalised through Eriksen after Kane's initial shot had been saved by young 'keeper Jordan Pickford, who was making his first Premier League start.
Spurs maintained their dominance in the second half and made it count with three fine goals, the first from Dembele who shot low and hard into the near corner from distance on 59 minutes.
Eriksen played a major part in the hosts' improvement after the break and his long-range shot ricocheted over Pickford's head via Kirchhoff, who was brought on as Allardyce shifted to three centre-backs to no avail.
Rose was then brought down by Kirchhoff, who signed from Bayern Munich last week, inside the box on 79 minutes and Kane stepped up to coolly to slot home his 15th goal of the season in all competitions.
Tottenham; Lloris (7); Trippier (7), Alderweireld (7), Vertonghen (7), Rose (7); Dier (7), Dembele (8); Lamela (6), Alli (7), Eriksen (7); Kane (7)
Subs used: Onomah (7), Carroll (6), Son (6)
Sunderland: Pickford (7); Jones (6), Brown (6), O'Shea (6), Van Aanholt (7); Johnson (6), Cattermole (6), M'Vila (7), Lens (6); Defoe (6), Graham (6)
Subs used: Rodwell (6), Kirchhoff (4), Watmore (6)
Man of the match: Mousa Dembele