Martin O’Neill set up for challenging second Sunderland game

Spurs were officially eliminated from the Europa League this week, closing their participation in the competition with a 4-0 win away from home. Despite only managing a goalless draw over in PAOK – Tottenham’s fate was sealed by Harry Redknapp’s underestimation of the Greek side – the eventual group winners who also finished above Rubin Kazan, thanks largely to their 2-1 victory at White Hart Lane a fortnight ago. The only highlight of the group stage for Spurs was their 1-0 win against the Russians in London at the end of October. However, that scoreline was reversed in the return meeting a couple of weeks later, while the manager recovered at home following minor heart surgery.

Now with a Champions League finish their target Spurs must return to winning ways in the Premier League after their triffic league form since the start of September ended at Stoke City last weekend. Perhaps tomorrow is a perfect time to be hosting a team which has only taken 14 points from their first 15 games of the season? Although maybe it isn’t so ideal given that they have recently changed managers, and after one game under Martin O’Neill arrive in London with a 100% record – Sunderland were 1-0 behind at home against fellow strugglers Blackburn Rovers with eight minutes remaining last Sunday - but they managed to turn the result on its head before the end to create a bit of Christmas time confidence. However, let’s wait to see how the Black Cats are fairing after the round of Boxing Day fixtures, because points are more likely to come from games which follow the first of their two visits to the capital in the coming days.

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