The Belgian showed why Craig Gordon will be shown the door next month with a tidy display.
The Scotland international finally looks as though he has allied discipline to spikyness and he bolstered the attack as well.
The former Leeds defender made sure that John O'Shea was not too badly missed with an accomplished display.
He was a tower of strength in the back four and managed to keep Adebayor quiet.
He justified his manager's decision to give him the nod at left-back over Wayne Bridge and Kieran Richardson with a composed performance.
He has been linked with Arsenal and Paris St Germain and showed why Sunderland will do well to keep him because he was dangerous every time the ball went near him.
The only consolation for the Irish international after this frustrating shift is that he will not have to face Kyle Walker again this season.
The Swede worked his socks off to stifle Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, always using possession well and looking menacing at set-plays.
A trademark performance from the tigerish Black Cats skipper who repeatedly frustrated Spurs just in front of his back four before he limped off injured.
He must have driven his team-mates mad because of his habit of giving the ball away but made up for his shortcomings with the tackle of the day to stop Bale in his tracks late on.
The targetman seems to be going from strength to strength at Sunderland and looked useful every time he got the ball but did not see enough of it.
The American was hardly troubled but dealt with everything that came his way with customary assurance.
He turned down the chance to join Sunderland during Roy Keane's reign and showed the locals what they are missing with a powerful display.
The England full-back underlined his international credentials by subduing one of the best wingers in the Premier League in Irishman James McClean and pushing forward with plenty of purpose.
He is turning into the best left-back in England and almost gave his side the lead when his early daisy-cutter shaved a post.
He may have been around the block plenty of times but the way he blocked a James McClean effort showed he can smell trouble a mile off.
He was here, there and everywhere for Spurs but nothing came off for the mercurial Welshman.
Sunderland struggled to get near the Croatian playmaker who got better as the game wore on but was unable to unlock a packed defence and ended up playing too deeply.
He was denied the space to make a significant impact and was booked when his frustration boiled over for a foolish lunge on Matt Kilgallon before being substituted.
R. van der Vaart
The Dutchman will have better days than this because hardly anything went right for him and he surrendered possession far too often.
He kept things ticking over nicely for Spurs with a disciplined display but his team needed more punch from the skipper.
The lone striker had one of those days when he looked disinterested.
- 33 R. Nelsen
- 23 C. Cudicini
- 21 N. Kranjčar
- 29 J. Livermore
The Yorkshire speed-merchant was sent on to invigorate his team but failed to deliver a telling blow.
He did not see enough of the ball to grab a winner after replacing the ineffective Adebayor.
He should have been sent on far earlier.