Contrasting starts to the year
It's been a story of polar opposites for Sunderland and Spurs in the opening month of 2017. Sunderland have struggled massively in the past month, with four defeats in six games across league and cup. Three of these games have come against Burnley, who have beaten them twice at Turf Moor to leave them bottom of the Premier League and to knock them out of the FA Cup after a third round replay.
Further woeful performances have followed since, especially in the first halves of games against Stoke City at home, where they lost 3-1, and West Bromwich Albion away, who beat them 2-0. A real downer for the Mackem faithful has been the fact they've been out of these games before half-time and not competitive in them at all.
Meanwhile, Spurs have had an outstanding start to 2017 in winning all but one of their six games in league and cup. The biggest of these wins was undoubtedly the 2-0 victory over Chelsea at home to end their almost record breaking win streak. However, despite this win, Mauricio Pochettino's team are still nine points behind the leaders after drawing 2-2 at Manchester City last time out although, they were 2-0 down.
The other focus has been the FA Cup where Spurs have had two very different ties at home against lower league teams. They beat Championship side Aston Villa 2-0 in comfortable fashion in the third round, but found things a whole lot tougher this past Saturday against EFL League One outfit, Wycombe Wanderers.
Spurs found themselves 2-0 down at half time against the league one side before getting back on terms by the hour mark. However, Kieran Trippier's departure because of injury left Spurs a man down for the final 20 minutes. They then fell behind again only for two late goals from Delle Alli and a Wycombe own goal bailed them out and put them through to the last 16 of the competition.
Papy Djilobodji serves the first of his four-game ban in this one after the FA found the Sunderland defender guilty of violent conduct following the incident with Darren Fletcher at the Hawthorns last week.
David Moyes does have Didier N'Dong and Lamine Kone available again after their respective exits from the African Cup of Nations.
Spurs will be without Trippier after his knock in the cup match. However, Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld and former Sunderland loanee Danny Rose all return after slight niggles kept them out of the Wycombe game.
Sunderland are winless in their last 13 Premier league games against Spurs, they only have a longer run against Arsenal with 14 winless games. Sunderland have allowed thier opponents 77 more shots on target (141) than they have managed themselves this season (64) the biggest negative difference in the top flight.
Spurs have collected the fewest away points out of the current top six, with only 17 out of a possible 33.