Eriksen’s the inspiration as Spurs fight back to thrash Sunderland
22:00 07 April 2014
Premier League: Tottenham 5 Sunderland 1
Christian Eriksen inspired Tottenham to a home win over Sunderland tonight, while Harry Kane scored his first Premier League goal for Spurs in his first top-flight start.
With speculation rife over head coach Tim Sherwood’s future, Spurs initially went behind against Gus Poyet’s basement boys, but they struck back emphatically with five goals.
Eriksen crossed to set up Emmanuel Adebayor for a first-half equaliser, and the Dane delivered another deadly delivery in the second period to give 20-year-old striker Kane a landmark moment before adding the third goal himself.
Kane nearly doubled his tally late on, drawing a save which gifted Adebayor his second goal of the night instead, and substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson wrapped up the rout in injury-time.
Sherwood has made a habit of springing surprises in his line-ups, and there was another one tonight as the head coach opted to play Nacer Chadli in the middle of a four-man midfield, while leaving Nabil Bentaleb, Sandro and Sigurdsson – who have all played in that position recently – on the bench.
Meanwhile, Kane was given a rare start up front with Adebayor, who returned from injury, and Vlad Chiriches also came back into the starting XI after two months out.
Sunderland had the first real effort on goal as Wes Brown met Adam Johnson’s free-kick and headed narrowly wide of the far post.
The Black Cats then went on to score the opening goal in the 17th minute as, not for the first time this season, Spurs shot themselves in the foot with a comical defensive error.
Chiriches took a weak throw-in back to Hugo Lloris, who returned the ball to the centre-back under pressure. Chiriches then played a suicidal, loose ball across the pitch, straight to Sunderland’s Lee Cattermole and, as Lloris attempted to rush back into his goal, the midfielder slotted into the bottom right corner from 30 yards.
It was the latest in the series of embarrassing defensive mistakes, but Spurs rallied and began to test Vito Mannone in the Sunderland goal.
Eriksen teed up Kyle Naughton, who sent a low effort just wide, and Kane then saw a shot blocked in the box before Adebayor curled the ball over the bar.
At the other end, Fabio Borini forced Lloris into action with a low 20-yard strike – but Spurs then equalised nine minutes after going behind as Eriksen delivered an excellent low cross from the left flank, giving Adebayor an easy tap-in at the back post.
Spurs continued to push forward and Kane drew a low save from Mannone while Danny Rose sent a 25-yard strike whistling just over the angle of post and crossbar.
A golden opportunity then went begging as Eriksen sent in another deadly low cross – this time from the right wing – and Paulinho got a slight touch at the front post but Adebayor was somehow unable to apply the finish at the back stick.
Spurs started the second half slowly, giving their visitors plenty of space – but the hosts had a strong penalty turned down as Kane went down in the box amid a tangle of legs, sandwiched between Carlos Cuellar and Phil Bardsley.
Sherwood was unimpressed by referee Lee Mason’s decision, but less than 10 minutes later his side was ahead as Eriksen whipped in another devastating cross – an inswinging ball from the left – and Kane applied the finish at close range.
Kane’s joy was short-lived as he received a nasty cut to the head after an aerial challenge, but he was able to return to the fray, wearing a bandage on his head.
Spurs continued to threaten and they put the game out of reach 12 minutes from time as Eriksen picked the ball up 20 yards out and sent a low drive skidding into the bottom right corner.
Tottenham’s evening got even better in the 85th minute as Kane latched onto a loose ball outside the Sunderland box and turned cleverly to beat his man and go through on goal. The striker fired straight at Mannone but the ball crept through the goalkeeper and Adebayor ran in to finish into the empty net from two yards out.
Sherwood took the opportunity to introduce Milos Veljkovic for his debut in the final minutes – and there was still time for an injury-time strike as Mannone flapped at a corner and Adebayor and Younes Kaboul combined to set up Sigurdsson, who fired home from close range.
Tottenham: Lloris, Naughton, Kaboul, Chiriches, Rose, Lennon (Townsend 84), Paulinho (Veljkovic 88), Chadli (Sigurdsson 82), Eriksen, Kane, Adebayor
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