Tottenham Hotspur entertain Sunderland on Sunday afternoon, with both teams looking to recover from recent disappointments.
The hosts, who were defeated at Wembley by Monaco in their opening Champions League fixture, will once again be without first-choice left-back Danny Rose, who sustained a hamstring injury whilst representing England in their victory over Slovakia.
However, Spurs’ ranks are boosted by the return to domestic action of Moussa Dembele, having now served the six-game suspension received towards the end of last season for violent conduct. The Belgian has become so important to his team, in terms of winning and retaining possession and the transition from defence to attack, offering a unique package of qualities that is lacking in his colleagues at the heart of Tottenham’s midfield.
In the Monaco match, Dembele came on at half-time for Son Heung-min, and it will be interesting to see whether the South Korean keeps his starting spot after following up a brace against Stoke City last weekend with a disappointing performance in midweek.
Another dilemma for Mauricio Pochettino is whether or not to select Harry Kane, who still appears to be feeling his way into the season. Given the impact that Vincent Janssen’s introduction had against the Ligue 1 side, he might consider an outwardly winnable game against Sunderland the opportune moment to give his star striker a moment out of the spotlight.
The Black Cats, who were particularly poor in their home loss to Everton on Monday, are looking for their first win of the Premier League campaign.
Lee Cattermole and Steven Pienaar are back from injury and could be involved, whilst Sunderland’s record signing, Didier N’dong, is in contention for his full debut having completed his first full week’s training on Weirside. Another new player, Victor Anichebe, remains sidelined with a thigh strain.
For this game, it is tough to predict anything other than a comfortable victory for Tottenham, who just have so much more quality than their opponents and will thrive on being back at their “real” home.