Tottenham Hotspur-Sunderland Preview
While Harry Kane has had little trouble scoring goals during international play this year, he's had a more difficult time converting for Tottenham Hotspur so far this season.
As Kane tries again to end his Premier League scoring drought, Spurs look to snap their longest winless stretch to open a top-flight campaign in seven seasons Sunday against a host Sunderland side that's been even worse.
Kane scored his third goal in as many Euro 2016 qualifiers for England this year during Tuesday's 2-0 victory over Switzerland. Though he's had the likes of national stars Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling on his side for those contests, Spurs fans would love to see "Prince Harry" provide that type of production in league play.
The Premier League's breakout star with 21 goals in 2014-15, Kane has yet to score for Tottenham (0-3-1) while recording only three shots on target in the first four matches. He has just two goals in his last 12 league contests dating to last season.
"We have to keep encouraging Harry as well," teammate Danny Rose told Tottenham's official website. "As long as we can keep doing that, the goals will come for him and the rest of the team."
Kane, though, shouldn't totally be blamed for Spurs' worst league start since going 0-2-6 in 2008-09. He's taken 23 of the 61 shots recorded by a club that's managed three goals this season and is coming off a disappointing scoreless draw to Everton at home in their last league match Aug. 29.
Though offence - and three points - have been hard to come by, Spurs continue to play hard despite some mounting frustration.
"I don't think our fight can ever be questioned, especially if you see what goes on in training with people putting challenges in," Rose said.
Kane did score against Sunderland in 2014-15, but into his own net during a 2-2 draw at the Stadium Of Light last September. Spurs bounced back with a 2-1 win at home in January to improve to 7-3-0 against the Black Cats (0-2-2) since a 3-1 road defeat April 3, 2010.
Sunderland enter this week's return from the international break at the bottom of the league table and trying to avoid going winless in their first five league matches for a third consecutive campaign. However, Sunderland might have a stitch of momentum after drawing Swansea City and Aston Villa in their last two games.
While the Black Cats have yielded 10 goals through four matches, they've scored six times and hope to be sparked by the return of Fabio Borini, who came over late last month after a difficult stint with Liverpool. The Italian striker had seven goals in 32 matches for Sunderland during the 2013-14 season.
"It is very nice to be back here because it is a place I called home," Borini told Sunderland's official website. "I remember I tweeted good things about Sunderland and my time here. Like I said a piece of my heart was always here ... so I'm back here to get that piece."
While Borini appears set to take the pitch in this contest, the Black Cats continue to be without injured midfielder Adam Johnson (shoulder) and defender Adam Matthews (ankle).