Premier League Preview: Sunderland v Tottenham
By Football News
Sunderland's porous defence may be eyeing a rare break when one of the Premier League's misfiring teams, Tottenham, visit on Saturday.
Spurs have been far from shot-shy this term, but a dreadful conversion rate leaves them with just 13 goals from 14 league games so far - although four of those have come in their previous two fixtures.
The London club may fancy their chances against a Sunderland side that have conceded two goals per game on average in the league, and shipped four in defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday.
However, Gus Poyet's arrival has made the Stadium of Light a tough proposition for opposing managers and the loss to Chelsea represented a first on home soil for Sunderland under the Uruguayan.
They were ultimately undone by a virtuoso display from Eden Hazard, the Belgian scoring two and assisting Frank Lampard's early equaliser after Jozy Altidore had given Sunderland a shock lead.
Captain John O'Shea was left to rue his side's inability to handle Chelsea's attack and is hoping Sunderland can learn from their disappointment when Spurs travel to Wearside.
"You can't score three goals against Chelsea and not come away with something – that's the frustrating part," the Irishman said.
"We always analyse the goals, and individually and collectively and we can always do better. That's what we're going to have to do.
"If you score three goals you generally think you'll get something from the game, so to not do so was disappointing."
Although Spurs' attack remains a concern, they come into the game with one of the league's strongest away records.
Only Arsenal have recorded more points on their travels than Andre Villas-Boas' side, who have racked up 13 of their 24 away from White Hart Lane.
Tottenham's latest triumph on the road came in Wednesday's hard-fought 2-1 win at Fulham.
Ashkan Dejagah looked to have given Rene Meulensteen a perfect start as Fulham boss, but an organised Spurs were rewarded by Vlad Chiriches' thunderbolt and Lewis Holtby's late winner.
Carlos Cuellar (hip) will be unavailable for Sunderland, who retain concerns over the fitness of goalkeeper Keiren Westwood and Mobido Diakite.
Spurs could enter the game without a recognised left-back as Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen (both ankle) are doubtful. A similar issue will keep Christian Eriksen out for the best part of December.