Tottenham vs Sunderland

Tottenham continued their pre-season against Premier league rivals Sunderland in the Asia Trophy for which teams have to qualify each last season, they are not selected on a random basis.

You may think of heat and sun in Hong Kong but the game was delayed by 30 minutes because of torrential rain and reduced to 40 minutes a half. The pitch was muddy with surface water to really give the players a fitness workout. It was like watching a game from the 70's, the ball getting stuck in the water, a heavy pitch, passing a problem, dribbling a problem, more long balls, not really the style we'll be playing this season.

Spurs lined up with Gomes Walker Dawson Caulker Walker Lennon Huddlestone Parker Sigurdsson Dawson Adebayor

Possible first XI players not playing or injured included Lloris, Kaboul, Paulinho (on holiday), Sandro, Dembele (sinus problem), Chadli (not registered in time), Holtby and Bale.

The game in the end was all about improving fitness, there was little that could be done to learn how we are going to play, positional training perhaps, players learning where they need to be on the field but with so many long balls having to be played to keep the ball off the floor, little could be gleaned.

Lennon was showing some good touches and looks to have added to his game, Dawson was like a warrior doing what Dawson does, Adebayor was involved a lot and Walker generally had a good game apart from one mistake.

Sunderland started off the brighter of the two sides with seemingly every attack stopped by Dawson sliding in here, blocking there, before Spurs managed to get into the game. A couple of free kicks came to nothing before Tottenham opened the scoring.

After 28 minutes Huddlestone played the ball wide to Walker who beat his man on the outside and got to the by-line. Sigurdsson was on the end of his pull back 12 yards from goal. He made a good connection, the ball was deflected and into the net past a stranded keeper. It was no more than Tottenham deserved, having control of the game at that point. Huddlestone was pinging passes and Spurs had looked  the side far more likely to score.

Huddlestone who was having a good game but a mistake undid us. His short pass backwards from 30 yards didn't make it to the defender, but instead found Sunderland's new signing Altidore. He pushed the ball square first time for Cabral to run at the vacant heart of our defence before sliding the ball past Gomes into the left hand corner of the net.

Questions to be asked of Rose for not recognising the danger and moving slightly central to cover. The positional side of his game is still the worrying area that he needs to work on. Shortly after a through ball got stuck in the mud otherwise he would have been beaten on the inside this time. Generally Sessengnon was too good for him, which is rather worrying. He doesn't look the answer at left-back and would be an area the opposition target.

On the other side Walker was solid and providing a threat going forward however.

Despite Spurs looking the better side and controlling for periods it was noticeable that Sunderland looked the fitter of the two teams.

The second half started with Spurs bringing on Friedel, Defoe and Vertonghen for Gomes, Caulker and Lennon.

Immediately a long through ball from Parker for a lonely Defoe saw him crowded out by three defenders before he could engineer a shot.

Altidore then missed a sitter from 6 yards after a weak Huddlestone flick to clear the ball. Sigurdsson then attempted a shot at the other end cutting in from the right, where he had replaced Lennon, but it was blocked.

After only 5 minutes Vertonghen was on the floor holding the back of his knee. He jumped in the air and came down heavily, immediately slumping to the ground. A 4 minute delay saw him carried off and Zeki Fryers replaced him in the centre-of defence.

"He might have sprained ligaments in his ankle so we obviously need the MRI to know the full extent of the injury," Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas said afterwards.

"He has some range of movement, which gives us some indication that probably it may not be too long.

"I think because of the range of the movement that he has I think we have the possibility he will be back for the start of the season.

"The choice of the venue is this one and the weather is unpredictable. The pitch is what it is and has always been like this in this trophy. It isn't great but nobody is going to change it for next time.

"Obviously the conditions are extremely poor and the players are vulnerable to this type of situation."

Kyle Walker then tried to be too clever on our own byline trying to play the ball off a Sunderland man but it bounced into play and Altidore's shot went just wide.

Dempsey worked himself a shot which was saved and a quick break saw him lay on a shot for Adebayor whose effort was palmed over for a corner. Adebayor had another blocked shot before a minute later it broke for him again for a left footed shot from outside the box which went well wide.

A long range Walker shot produced another corner from which Adebayor couldn't quite get a head to it. He had a lively game and changed positions for each half, in the first leading the line and in the second in the number 10 role.

Huddlestone was continuing to ping the ball about and a cross field ball to Rose saw the left-back put in a good cross which Defoe controlled before shooting on the turn quickly, only for the Sunderland keeper to save again.

Another quick break saw Adebayor put in Defoe who was offside by a good yard this time but the keeper got there first anyway.

Sunderland then worked themselves a corner from which Wes Brown exposed last seasons deficiency in the air. He had a free header which he made no mistake with planting it into the net, taking them 2-1 up. Poor marking from Zeki Fryers who let his man get in front of him. Had we had someone on the post it would have been cleared but we didn't.

Eight minutes later Carroll came on for Huddlestone and Townsend for Dempsey.

Friedel made a fine save from Altidore and An excellent save from Wickham. Townsend, from a Sunderland corner, made a mistake on the edge of the box thinking he could run it out only to present Sunderland with another shooting opportunity which Friedel again had to save.

Late on in the game an overhead flick by Sessegnon saw Danny Rose standing still to let Karlsson through inside him to put the ball past Friedel. 3-1 Sunderland and a scoreline that didn't reflect the game.

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