|DATE||Sunday 4th October 2015|
From the wide open empty spaces of the Stade Louis II to the packed
Liberty Stadium, Spurs are on the road again and face a Swansea City
side who had a good start to the season, but since the last
international break, they have found life a bit harder. Four
games unbeaten up to that point, with a draw at Stamford Bridge and
a win at home to Manchester United, has been turned around with two
defeats and a draw in the three games coming into the match with
Spurs. We have a good record over Swansea and there is always
the old Spurs habit of ending runs like this, but I would imagine we
will continue unbeaten against the Swans, although without Son,
things will be a bit more difficult.
The Swansea style has been built up through the last four managers, starting with Roberto Martinez, going through Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup and carried on by Garry Monk. Each has added their own little stamp on the team and Monk's had been the defensive nous, but the 1-3 defeat at Southampton knocked a bit of a hole in that and Tottenham will have to hope that the home side are still a little lax there. Watford beat them 1-0 at Vicarage Road, Everton got a 0-0 at the Liberty and Hull beat the Swans in the League Cup 1-0, so the leaks at the back have been matched by the lack of goals up front.
That is a surprise, as they have a good choice of forward players. Bafetimbi Gomis had been scoring regularly at the start of the season, but his goals have dried up, while newcomer Andre Ayew had also been knocking them in before the side's form took a downturn. Both are strong on the bal and good in the air and will provide Vertonghen and Alderweireld their toughest task since Manchester City were poor last week. Marvin Emnes is not a regular, but he scored a few goals when at Middlesbrough and can operate wide if needed. The club bought Portuguese international striker Eder from Braga, but he's been used exclusively from the bench so far.
The goal drought is even more confusing when you see the array of attacking midfielders they possess. Wayne Routledge, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jefferson Montero, Jonjo Shelvey, Jack Cork, Leon Britton and Ki Sung-Yeung all like to get forward, but then that may leave their defence exposed on the break, which is how Spurs have been playing lately. Shelvey's work has been recognised by his return to the England squad, but maybe his club form has dipped following that call-up, while Sigurdsson is a player we know, even though we perhaps did not do him justice during his time at the Lane. A dynamic runner, who likes to give the ball and go for the return, Gylfi is a midfielder who chips in with more than his fair share of goals and is good from a dead ball situation too. Montero plays wide left and is quick, tricky and a good crosser, with Ayew and Gomis often benefitting from the precision of his crossing, but Ki gets himself into the box too to add to the numbers loading up on the oppo's defence. Britton is a tidy player who keeps the ball moving and Routledge is another ex-Spurs, who hugs the touchline, making good runs as he dribbles forward. Cork and Ki are the most defensively minded, so it will be interesting to see what sort of team Monk fields with results stuttering.
Goalkeeper Lukas Fabianski was brought in from Arsenal and did well last season, but the defence in front of him will need to be vigilant to stop Spurs getting goals after last week's performance against City will have given them confidence going into this one. Fabianski is a decent shot stopper, but his decision making can be a little dubious and the need to test him out means our accuracy from chances around the box must be good. The defence has the returning Neil Taylor at left back, former Spur Kyle Naughton at right back, with Ashley Williams and Federico Fernandez in the middle. Captain Williams has been a staple at the heart of the back four for years, using his strength to give him the upper hand over forwards he is up against, but he is prone to being turned and is not afraid to over-use his strength by wrestling players. Spurs might use their fleet of foot to exploit his weaknesses, while Fernandez is not the quickest either. The two full backs are fast and Naughton flies up and down the line, loving to get forward, but he might need to curb his enthusiasm there to deal with the threat from Nacer Chadli on his side of the pitch. Neil Taylor was out injured for a long while and when he came back his slot at left back had been vacated by Ben Davies, so he has stepped back into the team and has been doing well, which will have to continue if he is stem the flow down his wing, with Erik Lamela performing how he used to in Italy.
Defenders Kyle Bartley, Angel Rangel, Jordi Amat and Franck Tabarou have all been shunned by Monk, with just one sub appearance between them.
From Tottenham's point of view, they need to remember all the things that stood them in good stead against City last week. Closing down, good support for Harry Kane and good passing to stretch and pressure Swansea. They like to keep the ball too, but by pressing, it might harass them into turning the ball over, with the pressure on them after their last few results.
With Dele Alli and Eric Dier
sitting securely in front of the back four, they need to ensure
there is not space for Swansea to play in outside our area, but also
not to pick up yellow cards, as Dier is on four already and one away
from a ban. The whole team are working hard, from front to
back and a little more sharpness to stop the ball getting into our
box could spell another bad day for the Swans.
|PREDICTION||Swansea City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
|Last season's corresponding fixture|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs will still be without the services of Nabil Bentaleb (ankle), Mousa Dembele (foot), Ryan Mason (knee) and Alex Pritchard (ankle). They have been joined on the injury list by Heung-Min Son, who picked up a foot injury during last week's game with Manchester City.
SWANSEA CITY TEAM NEWS :
Swansea have no injury problems.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Sunday 4th October 2015
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (1)
Kick off 16:00
Ayew 15m 19s
Kane (o.g.) 30m 51s
Eriksen 26m 41s
Eriksen 64m 21s
Fernandez (foul on Alli) 26
Davies (foul on Ayew) 52
Dier (foul on Ayew) 77
Vertonghen (simulation) 83
Walker (persistent fouling) 89
|Crowd : 20,845||Weather : -|
|Referee : Mike Dean (Wirral)||Assistant Referees : Mr. D. Bryan; Mr. D. Cann|
|Fourth Official : Iain Williamson||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 7 minutes.|
|Swansea City :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Andros TOWNSEND 57)
10 Harry KANE (o.g.) (19 Mousa DEMBELE 81)
|Manager : Garry Monk||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : 24k.hk GWFX||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
A game that see-sawed and saw four goals ended with the spoils shared and Spurs having to settle for one point, when they might have been more content with three. But that is the rapid progress this side is making that they are disappointed that they didn't win the game, with a young side, still really bedding in under the management of Mauricio Pochettino.
The Spurs team was unchanged, but Mousa Dembele returned to the bench after missing a few games with a foot injury.
The early stages were fairly cagey, but Kane pressured Fabianski when he mis-controlled a firm back-pass from Shelvey and got a kick for his trouble just outside the box handing Spurs a free-kick, but it came to nothing and they went closer from a corner when Alderweireld met it with his head, but got it off target. Hopefully last weeks effort won't be a one-off. Spurs went close through Chadli's shot from outside the area that was saved by Fabianski at the expense of a corner.
Fifteen minutes in, Swansea went ahead. Montero got away on their left wing and when Walker got over to him, he cut back and lofted a cross into the middle of the six yard box, where Andre Ayew got enough power on the ball, which was a little behind him, to plant it past Lloris and give the Swans the lead. Vertonghen got under the ball allowing the smaller Ayew to rise and have a free header.
Spurs attacked to get back into the game, with Chadli having a shot from a narrow angle on the left saved by Fabianski's legs.
There was a fair amount of physicality in Swansea's play, with Mike Dean allowing a lot of late challenges to go unpunished. Ironically, the home players seemed to go down easily under challenge. How does that work ? One that Dean couldn't fail to give came in the 24th minute, when Fernandez clattered through Alli on the edge of the box, earning a yellow card for the crude tackle. Two yards outside the area, Christian Eriksen lined up the ball and took the kick right footed. He curled it over the wall and with Fabianski taking a step to his right, the ball went past him on his other side to make the score 1-1.
The lead didn't last long, with Montero causing trouble down his wing and winning a corner. The ball was played into the near post, where the only player was Harry Kane, who shanked his clearance straight into his own net with Lloris stranded. We were all waiting for Harry to get back on the score-sheet, but not like this !! He got forward as Spurs broke soon after, firing in a low shot that the keeper gathered on the dive. Eriksen had another chance form a free-kick when Williams brought down Lamela, but this time Fabianski just got over to his left to dive and push the ball away.
Spurs worked the ball to Eriksen, who slowed the play down, but then took it inside to hit a shot from 22 yards that flicked off a Swansea defender's head as he dived at it to win a corner, but it was placed straight into the goalie's hands. Kane was still wanting the ball and played a delightful reverse pass to Eriksen, but the Dane wasn't expecting it and it was hacked away, as Spurs enjoyed the possession and territorial advantage.
The half petered out with the ground falling silent, which is odd considering the home side led the match.
At the start of the second half, Ben Davies' early ball in found Kane, who took a touch and was denied as Fabianski closed him quickly, with Swansea breaking form the second phase of the move to get Montero past Walker and cross onto Gomis' head, but the big man put a clear header over the top. A good run by Alli into the box, led to Chadli receiving the ball and he produced a neat drag-back to put Eriksen into the area, but he was faced up by two defenders and laid it back to Davies. His far post cross was aimed at Kane, who was adjudged to have pushed Fabianski, who went a long way back for the ball and dropped it as Harry was under him.
Swansea were getting more possession and were trying to work the bal wide, but Walker was having a little more success against Montero. On the other wing, Davies got booked for dragging down Ayew, who turned past him. They worked the free-kick short and moved the ball across the pitch before Ki got onto it around the D and his shot was blocked by Alderweireld for a corner. It was cleared, but a volley from 25 yards was going wide until it flew at Gomis, who put his header wide, when alone and onside. The striker turned Vertonghen easily 30 yards from goal and he shot when he got to the 18 yard line, but sliced it well wide.
Spurs were getting pinned down in their own last third, as the home team passed the ball around, creating angles to get the full backs up on the flanks. Good defending stopped crosses getting too far into the box, but they weathered the storm and won a free-kick 20 yards out when Shelvey brought down Alli. Eriksen again lined it up and smashed it past the keeper with a ferocious shot to pull Spurs level. It was stupid foul by Shelvey and even though the keeper had been beaten by a free-kick in the first half, he couldn't get near it, as Christian bettered that one with his second. Spurs looked re-energised, as they hunted the ball when Swansea had it.
Having worked the ball across the pitch from left to a central position, Dele Alli forced Fabianski to push a 25 yard shot away as it looked like flying past the keeper. Spurs were looking the sharpest they had been all afternoon and Alli lifted a pass over the back four to put N'Jie in on the right, but he couldn't pull the ball across to Kane in the middle. The French striker then had a chance to run at the defence, which he did, cutting inside from the left to hit a shot at goal that went off for a throw-in on the other side of the pitch. Tottenham were moving the ball well from left to right and then Townsend came in to a central positions and let fly, forcing the keeper to another block with his legs, as the ball swerved away from him at the last minute. When Spurs then broke away, Andros was away on the right, came inside and didn't find the power in his shot, as Fabianski took it low down with greater ease than his previous effort.
Swansea roused themselves and Barrow got away on their right, playing the ball all the way across the box for Montero, but he delayed his shot from 20 yards and it was blocked. A free-kick 30 yards out was floated into the Tottenham box and Gomis won it, but it went to Williams at the far post, who was off-side. Good possession in the Swansea half led to nothing, but Eriksen took the ball inside from the left and then hit the ball back the way he came from 20 yards out, seeing the ball go a yard wide with the keeper struggling to get there.
Dier had received his fifth yellow card of the season when he mindlessly tripped a Swansea player to concede a late free kick in the last minute, from which Lloris had to make a fine save, diving up to tip Fernandez's header away from the top corner. Losing the ball in midfield, Spurs were exposed, but sloppy passing saw the threat dissipate. Spurs then broke, with Alli taking the ball into the box and being baulked by Fernandez, but fairly according to the ref. That was the last meaningful action as the whistle blew on a 2-2 draw. Perhaps Spurs might see it as two points dropped, with a win there for the taking, but in the final analysis that was they weren't able to achieve.
We go into the international break not really having the ability to get much rest for the players, as most will be involved in games over the next ten days. The only one who will get a rest is Eric Dier whose booking means he will miss the home game with Liverpool, who might have a replacement manager by then, having sacked Brendan Rodgers today.
There will be ups and downs as the team mature together, but it looks like there might be more ups than downs.
Ashley Williams made his
500th career appearance in this match.
There was an almost casual
way that the club came about their nickname, when a passer-by was
overheard saying that the football club wasn't what he was there
for, but, being an ornithologist, he was there for the "Swans see".
One of the founders of the club J W Thorpe took this to be the name
that the locals had pinned to his newly created team.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||0||Stoke City||1||Saturday|
|Crystal Palace||1||West Bromwich Albion||0||Saturday|
|Manchester City||6||Newcastle United||1||Saturday|
|Norwich City||1||Leicester City||2||Saturday|
|Sunderland||2||West Ham United||2||Saturday|
|6||West Ham United||8||4||2||2||17||9||14||+8|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||8||2||2||4||6||12||8||-6|
Position before match : 5th
Position after match : 8th
Position after the weekend : 8th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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