Eriksen strikes twice as Spurs come from behind to beat Sunderland
Christian Eriksen struck twice as Tottenham came from behind to beat Sunderland 4-1 in Saturday’s early kick-off at White Hart Lane and consolidate their place in the top four.
Patrick van Aanholt gave the visiting Black Cats an undeserved lead with their first notable chance five minutes before the break.
However, Eriksen immediately replied and Mousa Dembele, Eriksen and Harry Kane then struck in a 20-minute spell in the second half – the final goal being a penalty after Sunderland substitute Jan Kirchhoff brought down Danny Rose.
Fourth-placed Tottenham’s victory gave them a four-point cushion over London rivals West Ham and took them one point behind third-placed Manchester City ahead of Saturday’s 3pm fixtures.
There were three changes from the Spurs side that had started the midweek defeat to Leicester City. Mauricio Pochettino rotated his full-backs, picking Rose and Kieran Trippier, while Dembele replaced Tom Carroll in central midfield.
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Tottenham made a good start and Kane saw a low shot well saved by goalkeeeper Jordan Pickford, while Dele Alli blazed over inside the penalty box when Sunderland struggled to clear a corner.
However, the early barrage abated and Sam Allardyce’s side – who were camped 15 yards inside their own half – began to stifle their hosts.
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It took until the 36th minute for Spurs to really threaten again as Dembele broke from deep inside his half with support from Kane, Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Rose. He elected to pass to his left to Lamela, who sent a low shot across goal.
The good news for the Lilywhites was that Sunderland had offered very little with the ball themselves – yet the visitors took the lead out of nowhere five minutes before the break. Adam Johnson played the ball inside Alli to Van Aanholt, who fired past Hugo Lloris.
To say the opening goal had come against the run of play was an understatement and, perhaps fuelled by the injustice or the fear of Pochettino’s half-time team talk, Tottenham levelled 91 seconds later.
Eriksen freed Kane, who was denied by Pickford, but the ball fell to Eriksen and, although the Dane hit his shot into the ground, it bounced towards the net and Lee Cattermole, who was standing on the goalline, could only direct it into the roof of his own net.
The game had come to life and Jermain Defoe sent a low effort at Lloris from a free kick while Eriksen forced Pickford into a diving save with a powerful 30-yard strike.
Spurs looked dangerous again in the second half and Eriksen’s cross was just too far in front of Kane as the striker tried to get his head to it. And, although a terrible Tottenham free kick routine ended with Defoe shooting into the side netting at the other end, Alli sent a looping header wide from a Lamela chip before Spurs took the lead in the 59th minute.
Kane tested Pickford at his near post and, from the ensuing corner, Dembele cut inside from the right side of the box and sent a low shot into the bottom corner.
Eight minutes later it was 3-1 as Eriksen doubled his tally with another rather fortunate goal as his 30-yard strike deflected off Kirchhoff and flew into the top right corner.
Kirchhoff’s day did not improve because, 10 minutes later, he brought down Rose with a clumsy challenge, conceding a penalty that was confidently dispatched by Kane.
Tottenham: Lloris, Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Dembele, Lamela (Onomah 73) (Onomah 73), Alli, Eriksen, Kane (Son 88)
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs