The inside track on Sunderland
17 September 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Our feature 'inside track' continues as Richard Mennear, Sunderland reporter for the Sunderland Echo, gives us the lowdown on the men from Wearside ahead of Sunday's Premier League encounter at the Lane.
Richard Mennear, Sunderland Echo
What have you made of the transition from Big Sam to David Moyes?
Richard: "It has been a whirlwind start to David Moyes' time in charge of Sunderland, with the need to quickly reshape and improve the squad - plus the start of the season to contend with. Moyes was the popular choice to succeed Sam Allardyce as Sunderland boss and there are hopes he will be able to replicate his success during his 11 years in charge at Everton. Several players were either released or sold in the summer, with 10 new signings added to the squad. It will take time to gel and for the new players to bed in but the Premier League is an unforgiving division and they need to start picking up wins soon."
Below: The familar face of Jermain Defoe scores for Sunderland at City
Sunderland signed a number of players before the window shut, who has caught the eye at this early stage?
Richard: "Adnan Januzaj has shown what he is capable of in spells this season. He scored a stunning goal in the EFL Cup win over Shrewsbury Town. Sunderland lack goals and creativity so a lot of responsibility is on the shoulders of the Manchester United loanee as Sunderland rely too heavily on the goals of Jermain Defoe. Steven Pienaar may be coming to the end of his playing career but he has also impressed in the games he has played."
Below: Another ex-Spur, Steven Pienaar
What have you made of Sunderland’s start to the season? We’ve seen the results, but how is the team actually playing?
Richard: "They were unlucky in the end not to get a point away at Manchester City, while they came within five minutes of a win at Southampton. Sunderland have performed better on their travels so far this season, with disappointing home defeats to Middlesbrough and then Everton. Against Everton, they were well in the game at half-time but crumbled after the break defensively. A big improvement is required at Spurs."
Below: Adnan Januzaj
Do Sunderland have any players injured or suspended and therefore missing for Sunday and how do you expect them to line-up?
Richard: "Moyes has played a back four but he has spoken about possibly switching to a back three at times and I wouldn't be surprised to see him play three at the back with wing-backs against Spurs. Lee Cattermole (hernia) is out injured along with Vito Mannone (elbow) and Fabio Borini (thigh). Possible team (5-4-1): Pickford, Manquillo, Denayer, Kone, Djilobodji, Van Aanholt, Kirchhoff, Ndong, Gooch, Januzaj, Defoe.
Below: Highlights of last season's 4-1 win against Sunderland at the Lane - all in 90 seconds
Finally, what do you make of Spurs and how do you see it going on Sunday?
Richard: "Sunderland will do well to get anything out of the game at White Hart Lane, especially after the morale-sapping defeat to Everton on Monday night.Defoe will be key for Sunderland and will need to take any chances that come his way if Moyes' side are to come away with a result. Tottenham's win over Stoke City last weekend caught the eye. Defensively strong, this is one of Sunderland's toughest away games of the season."