Fabio Capello has accused Sunderland of being a gaggle of long-ball hoodlums, pretty much. Time to prove him wrong, Black Cats, we're all hankering after a bit of entertainment here.
Steve Bruce, naturally, has a proper funk on about this, accusing the England boss of being "hugely disrespectful". But that isn't stopping the Sunderland manager spreading the love all the way across the country, as he's described Tottenham's brand of attacking football as "a breath of fresh air". There's nice.
A stultifying 0-0 draw awaits us, then. Especially as Spurs aren't quite the same without incapacitated duo Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart. And they'll have Tuesday's trip to San Siro for the Champions League match Milan on their minds to boot.
Kick off: 5.30pm.
And so to the team news: Sunderland leave out defender Anton Ferdinand and replace him with Steed Malbranque. Tottenham make four changes: the injured Rafael van der Vaart makes way, as does Wilson Palacios, Aaron Lennon and Peter Crouch. Niko Kranjcar, Steven Pienaar, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Sandro are drafted in.
Sunderland: Gordon, Bardsley, Mensah, Bramble, Onuoha, Malbranque, Henderson, Muntari, Richardson, Gyan, Sessegnon.
Subs: Mignolet, Zenden, Angeleri, Riveros, Colback, Elmohamady, Ferdinand.
Tottenham Hotspur: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Pienaar, Jenas, Sandro, Kranjcar, Defoe, Pavlyuchenko.
Subs: Cudicini, Lennon, Palacios, Crouch, Bassong, Khumalo, Woodgate.
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
The teams - Sunderland in their red and white, Spurs in powder blue - run out. And at the Stadium of Light, you know what that means.
Obviously it's no United Road by The World Red Army featuring Richie, but what can you do?
And we're off! "As a Spurs fan, these are the games we need to roll up the sleeves and dig out an ugly three points, and they're also the games we'd have lost in past seasons," writes Guy Hornsby. "But we've won in our last two games, and for some players it's a chance to convince the manager they've got a part to play. Pavlyuchenko and Sandro for starters, who've both been poor all year. After the Capello/Bruce axis this week I half expect Sunderland to dance around us." We'll see. Your lot get the ball rolling, Guy.
2 min: A bright start from Spurs. Pavlyuchenko bustles around up front, and nearly feeds Defoe down the inside-left channel. Mensah hacks clear before the striker can bomb into the box.
4 min: Defoe skins Onuoha down the left, checks back, and rolls the ball inside to the onrushing Jenas. The midfielder sidefoots a woeful shot miles over the bar from 15 yards. He really should have hit the target there. Sunderland have hardly touched the ball yet. "That clip," begins Gary Naylor, "it's Barcelona training for the midweek Champions League match with Arsenal isn't it?"
6 min: Sunderland finally get some time on the ball. Gyan nips into the box from the right, chasing a long free kick down the middle. He's nudged slightly by Kranjcar and goes down, claiming a penalty, but the contact was so slight you wonder how the big man fell over.
8 min: Another free kick for Sunderland, this time on the left, 25 yards out. Henderson whips it in. It's headed clear, but only to Malbranque, who swings his boot at the ball. The shot isn't great, heading wide left, but Sessegnon attempts to backflick it in, the ball only just going wide right.
11 min: GOAL!!! Sunderland 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur. William Gallas wanders off the pitch to change his boots. I don't think he's totally happy with the exact Pantone® Color Number of the yellow pair he's started the match with. While he's faffing around with a new pair that has a slightly different hue, there's huge gaps in the Spurs back line, and Gyan takes advantage by latching onto a low Richardson cross from the left, spinning round and hammering a low shot into the bottom-right corner. Lovely finish, but come on.
14 min: Harry Redknapp is standing on the touchline with a proper face on. Gallas's new boots look very nice.
17 min: Sandro cuts inside from the right and hammers a shot miles over the bar. That was a decent chance, because Sunderland were light at the back.
20 min: Spurs are pouring forward in an attempt to get back on terms quickly, but whenever they lose the ball they find themselves in all sorts of bother. This time Jenas nearly releases Defoe down the inside-right channel, but the ball's intercepted and Sunderland stream upfield. It's three on two, but Gyan shanks a dreadful crossfield pass out of touch and Spurs get off with it. "Are Spurs really this swashbuckling, all-attacking team that people make them out to be?" asks John McLauchlin. "They've only scored 35 goals in 25 EPL games and their two main strikers Crouch and Defoe have only two goals this season. I wonder if this perception comes from the two games against Inter Milan and a couple of other high profile games in which they've scored freely." In fairness, as we're seeing in this game, they do manage to entertain at both ends. And Gallas is one of the most amusing men in the entire history of English league football. I'm not sure I'd be typing any of that if I supported Spurs, mind you.
24 min: Both sides are big on creativity today, attempting all manner of first-time flicks and extravagant reverse passes. A cynic would argue that the teams seem totally incapable of retaining possession, but you'll find none of that whining on my watch.
26 min: A determined run by Corluka down the right. He can't find space to cross, but the ball breaks to Corluka, who does get the ball into the box. Bramble heads clear under pressure from Pavlyuchenko. But that's a bit better from Spurs, who haven't given Gordon anything to do yet.
29 min: Bardsley spins on a sixpence in the centre circle, and tears straight down the middle of the pitch. He reaches the edge of the D and sends a rising shot over the bar. Not a single Spurs challenge, and nobody bothering to close Bardsley down until he was getting near the box. The tape of this game so far will be bongo to AC Milan.
32 min: A free kick for Spurs, 35 yards out in the middle. Jenas takes a two-step run-up and hoicks a hilariously piss-poor effort miles wide and high. If you're going to try to beat an international goalkeeper from a stupid distance, you'd better at least get the ball within a few yards of the target. That was embarrassing.
33 min: Muntari cynically clips Pavlyuchenko's heels. It's a simple decision for the referee, a yellow card. Muntari has the brass neck to look highly affronted at the award.
36 min: Hoof, hoof, miscontrol, pass, hoof, flay, hoof, miscontrol, flay, flay, hoof, miscontrol, pass, hoof, flay, hoof, hoof, miscontrol, pass, hoof, flay, hoof, hoof, miscontrol, pass, hoof, flay, hoof, hoof, hoofity, hoof.
37 min: And suddenly some football! Pavlyuchenko picks the ball up on the right, near the centre circle. He powers infield and eventually lays the ball off to Kranjcar, who returns it to the striker with a lovely backheel. Pavlyuchenko makes his way to the left-hand edge of the D before sending a powerful effort just over the bar. Tottenham's best move of the match by some distance.
41 min: Spurs seeing a lot of the ball now, though they're not doing too much with it. The pace of the match has dropped, Sunderland sitting back instead of pressing high up the pitch.
42 min: On the touchline, Steve Bruce is rubbing his face like Roy Hodgson. What on earth's wrong with him? His team are playing pretty well.
44 min: GOAL!!! Sunderland 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur. Pavluychenko, who has been Tottenham's best player, though that's not saying much, sprays a lovely pass out left for Assou-Ekotto, who slides one back into the box, nearly finding Defoe. Sunderland hack clear for a corner on the left. Spurs win a second corner, this time on the right, and from it, they score! Dawson meets Kranjcar's outswinger on the penalty spot, heading straight at Gordon. Gallas runs in front of Gordon just as the ball's about to go past, and the keeper lets the ball go through his legs and into the net. Very sloppy, though with the caveat that I can't see whether Gallas got a faint touch or not.
45 min +1: The scorer Dawson is booked for bodychecking Gyan on the edge of the area. The free kick is a total nonsense.
HALF TIME: Sunderland 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur. In terms of play, Sunderland weren't miles ahead, but they did deserve their lead. Spurs, who barely performed, will be extremely pleased to go in level. The home side will have the full radge on.
Half-time advertisement break:
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The players are back, and we're off again. No changes. Sunderland get the ball rolling and set off down the pitch with determination, no doubt still smarting at going in level. It's possible Steve Bruce discussed the scoreline in trenchant terms during the break.
47 min: Sessegnon twists, turns, shimmies and shakes down the left, winning a corner. The set piece is wasted. It's about time Fifa changed the rules and gave the ball straight to the keeper when it goes out of play behind the goal, no matter who touches it last. Life's finite, after all.
49 min: A bit shapeless, this half, so far.
51 min: Kranjcar, Jenas and Pavlyuchenko shuttle the ball left to right, Pienaar's eventual shot from a tight angle worked away for a corner. From it, there's a terrible scramble at the far post, Defoe poking the ball under Gordon. But the keeper gets something on the ball, slowing it down and allowing Bardsley to hack clear from the line. So close for Spurs.
53 min: And this was so close for Sunderland, Gyan tearing clear down the left, his low ball inside eventually finding its way via Richardson to Malbranque, ten yards out. The midfielder sidefoots straight at Gomes; what a wasted opportunity.
54 min: The ball comes straight back at Spurs, Henderson dragging a shot wide left.
55 min: And another! Sessegnon, coming in from the right, wallops a rising shot straight at Gomes.
57 min: GOAL!!! Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur. Sandro swings one into the area from the right. Defoe leaps to head, but the ball doesn't get to him, Mensah heading out to the edge of the area. The dropping clearance doesn't get to hit the ground, Kranjcar running in down the inside-left channel and guiding a special volley into the bottom-left corner. A magical finish.
59 min: Corluka brilliantly keeps a ball bouncing close to the right touchline in play. His efforts allow Pienaar to pick the ball up, cut inside, drop a shoulder, and unleash a rising shot towards the top-left corner that only just clears the bar. Spurs are beginning to swagger here, having not turned up until 6.14pm.
62 min: Defoe screams down the right after a clever Pienaar pass. He checks back to the edge of the area, slides the ball into the centre for Corluka, who falls over but manages to get the ball out wide left to Pavlyuchenko. The big striker welts a low, hard cross into the six-yard area, Gordon claiming well. Sunderland are all over the shop.
64 min: Gallas tussles with Gyan just outside his area, slightly behind and to the left of the D. A free kick in a dangerous position.
65 min: Gyan idiotically blasts the free kick straight into the wall. What a business.
67 min: Richardson claims a penalty after slamming the ball into Corluka's armpit from one yard. The referee is, quite rightly, not having a bar of it, causing Richardson to fly into a stupendous hissy fit, barging Corluka and screaming in his face. That, young master Richardson, is a yellow card for you.
70 min: It's all a bit scrappy. Nothing much going on at present. So here's observational comic Gary Naylor with another zinger: "The still from the half-time clip: that's Sammy Lee and Sam Allardyce from their time at Bolton Wanderers isn't it?"
72 min: Now it's Gomes's turn to throw a tantrum, the toys coming out of the pram in a perfect parabola after Gyan's arm lightly brushes the keeper's torso as the two challenge for a high ball. Gomes screams in the striker's face for a bit, then crouches down for a bit while pretending to cry. Grown men, playing this game.
74 min: Richardson is allowed to advance on the Spurs area with the ball at his feet. He lashes a hopeless shot miles wide left from 25 yards. Gomes issues his defenders with a massive bollocking.
75 min: A busy few minutes for Gomes ends in a booking for timewasting, as he faffs around taking a free kick after Gyan is caught offside. He then shanks the set piece straight out of play, much to the crowd's amusement.
78 min: Sunderland replace Malbranque with Elmohamady. Spurs respond by swapping Pienaar for Lennon.
79 min: Gyan, with his back to goal on the edge of the Spurs D, lays the ball off to Richardson, who shoots first time. The ball deflects off the boot of Sandro, and balloons up onto the crossbar and out of play. Adding insult to injury, Sunderland don't even get the corner. Perhaps Fifa have passed that law I suggested earlier in the half.
81 min: Pavlyuchenko is booked for kicking the ball away after it rolls out for a throw-in to Sunderland.
83 min: Spurs are playing keepball here, and doing it quite well.
84 min: Sunderland can't get anything going at the moment.
86 min: Zenden comes on for Onuoha.
87 min: Jenas is booked for going up for a header alongside Muntari just outside the Spurs box. It was barely a free kick, never mind a booking. I suppose he did knock the Sunderland midfielder over, though you could argue Muntari simply lost the challenge. No damage done for Spurs, though, as Zenden witlessly hoicks the free kick straight into the wall.
88 min: Palacios, who was playing football in Honduras two days ago, comes on for Defoe.
90 min: There will be four more minutes of this.
90 min +1: Sunderland just can't get the ball upfield at all.
90 min +2: And now they can't even get the ball, Pavlyuchenko holding it up in the corner by the Sunderland box.
90 min +3: Still nothing from the hosts. They've got a minimum of 60 seconds to save themselves.
FULL TIME: Sunderland 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur. But they can't manage it. Dawson and Palacios go on an unlikely romp upfield in an attempt to make it 3-1. They cock it up, but no matter for Spurs, as the referee blows for full time soon after. That's three defeats on the spin for Sunderland, but Spurs move up to fourth place. Enjoy your Saturday night.