It would be fair to say that both of these clubs have experienced contrasting campaigns, with Tottenham being hugely successful while Sunderland have struggled immensely. However, even though nobody can take anything away from Spurs’ season, the White Hart Lane outfit still have everything to do in the last game of the season as they require a victory to at least give themselves a chance of netting one of the elusive Champions League qualification positions.
There will be some individuals who will dispute Tottenham’s success this season, particularly when they don’t even look set to match last year’s 4th place finish. That happened to be insufficient to save Harry Redknapp’s job but his replacement Andre Villas-Boas was forced to offload star man Luka Modric last summer and find a new way to make the club tick. There is still a chance that Spurs will finish in the top four places but as well as needing a victory themselves, they also require Arsenal to drop points and surrender their one point advantage. Villa-Boas’ men at least appear to be giving themselves the best opportunity of a strong finish, as they approach the clash following a seven game unbeaten run.
Sunderland in contrast have experienced an absolutely dire campaign, where they have been in grave danger of being relegated throughout. Despite initial optimism ahead of Martin O’Neill’s first full campaign in charge, the Northern Irishman simply couldn’t get the Stadium of Light side going and it was left to the controversial Paulo Di Canio to restore order and save them from the drop. He has managed this successfully, but with the club just one place above the bottom three it certainly hasn’t been an easy ride. In fact, they may only avoid relegation by just the one point if they lose against Spurs and Wigan win in their fixture.
As for team news, Spurs have been handed a boost in relation to Benoit Assou-Ekotto as he prepares to start following a knee problem. However, it’s not all good news for Andre Villas-Boas, with Sandro, William Gallas and Younes Kaboul all ruled out through injury. Sunderland meanwhile will be able to select Connor Wickham following a fitness scare, but that is where the positives end for Paulo Di Canio. Suspensions mean that Stephane Sessegnon and Craig Gardner are both out, while Danny Rose cannot feature due to ineligibility.
With Sunderland officially safe and having nothing to play for, we think this game will be a comfortable affair for home side Tottenham. They have the stronger squad on paper and with the players knowing how important a victory could be for their Champions League qualification prospects, our tip will be a 2-0 win for Andre Villas-Boas’ men.