Sunderland 0-0 Tottenham: David Moyes' men hold on for vital point in stalemate
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 01/02/17 7:06am
Sunderland moved off the bottom of the Premier League table as they held Tottenham to a 0-0 draw on Tuesday evening.
David Moyes will ultimately be pleased with a point against a side who themselves moved into second following the stalemate at the Stadium of Light, but will rue his players not taking a handful of first-half chances.
Fabio Borini went closest for the hosts on the 25-minute mark and while Spurs had plenty of pressure in the second period, they also failed to convert with Victor Wanyama heading wide in the 65th minute the pick of their efforts.
But with Arsenal losing 2-1 to Watford, Mauricio Pochettino's men now sit second with a superior goal difference while Sunderland move up to 19th before Hull play Manchester United on Wednesday.
The game could have started with a goal for Tottenham after a defensive mistake from Jason Denayer in the seventh minute, who tried to clear from a corner but hit the back of Harry Kane. The Spurs captain then latched onto the ball and fired a cross into the box, but Lamine Kone was there to block.
But it was Sunderland who went the closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening period, with Jermain Defoe going close in the 10th minute as he latched onto a Jack Rodwell through-ball but saw his eventual effort go wide after holding off both Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose.
Defoe was involved again 12 minutes later as Rodwell was again the provider, keeping Alderweireld at bay before laying the ball off to the incoming Fabio Borini on his right but the Italian striker could not latch onto the cross and it ran wide.
But he did have the best chance of the half with 25 minutes on the clock as an Alderweireld header fell into his path, taking a nick off the arm of Walker before Borini struck, forcing a strong collection from Michel Vorm. Vito Mannone was also called into action at the other end two minutes later as Victor Wanyama tested his reflexes, forcing him to push a half volley around the post.
But Sunderland were arguably lucky to still have a full complement of players on the field with 11 minutes of the half to play as Rodwell flew into a tackle on Mousa Dembele - who was set to go on the break - in clear sight of referee Lee Mason. He only received a yellow card despite the protests of the Tottenham players, who surrounded the official to little effect.
The football cliché 'a game of two halves' was certainly applicable at the Stadium of Light with Spurs the better side after the break, and the away side could have nabbed an early opener as Eriksen fired a free-kick towards goal but Mannone got down low at the near post to collect the effort.
Tottenham continued to press for the opener as Kane saw a cross blocked by Denayer before Heung-ming Son tried to sneak home at the near post, but Mannone was again there to make a low save.
The visitors' best chance of the game came in the 65th minute as a cleared Spurs corner fell into the path of Son, who got away down the left of the box before whipping the ball across the face of goal. It found an unmarked Wanyama at the back post but slightly off balance, he could only head his effort agonisingly over the crossbar.
Five minutes later and Mannone was forced into another low saw as Spurs put together a storming break, and the goalkeeper getting down to keep a fizzing Kane cross from reaching the feet of Son for a tap-in.
The remaining 20 minutes of the game was a very tame affair with neither side able to snatch the three points they both desperately needed.
Sunderland: Mannone (8), Jones (6), Kone (7), O'Shea (7), Manquillo (6), Denayer (6), Rodwell (6), Ndong (7), Larsson (6), Defoe (7), Borini (6).
Subs used: Honeyman (6).
Tottenham: Vorm (5), Walker (7), Alderweireld (7), Dier (6), Rose (5), Dembele (7), Wanyama (6), Eriksen (6), Alli (6), Son (7), Kane (6).
Subs used: Janssen (n/a), Sissoko (6), Davies (6).
Man of the match: Vito Mannone.