OPPONENTS Swansea City 
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Tuesday 2ndth January 2018
VENUE Liberty Stadium
2.  Wilfried BONY
4.  KI Sung-Yueng
5.  Mike van der HOORN
6.  Alfie MAWSON
7.  Leon BRITTON
8.  Leroy FER
10.  Tammy ABRAHAM
11.  Luciano NARSINGH
12.  Nathan DYER
13.  Kristoffer NORDFELDT
14.  Tom CARROLL
15.  Wayne ROUTLEDGE
16.  Martin OLSSON
17.  Sam CLUCAS
18. Jordan AYEW
22.  Angel RANGEL
25.  Erwin MULDER
26.  Kyle NAUGHTON
27.  Kyle BARTLEY
33.  Federico FERNANDEZ
35.  Renato SANCHEZ
51.  Roque MESA
56.  Jay FULTON
62.  Oliver McBURNIE
PREVIEW Swansea City's new manager Carlos Carvalhal has had an immediate impact, only days after taking over form Paul Clement, with a win over Watford away form home.  It came late, but he seems to have instilled a belief in them to keep going until the end of the game.  That is what Spurs did last season at the Liberty, looking as though we would return home empty-handed, a three goal burst left the home side devastated and left Tottenham with the three points.

Sitting bottom of the table, Swansea made their change in the hot seat in an attempt to alter their fortunes and the trick worked.  How successful that will be in the long run remains to be seen.  Carvalhal looks to be a good manager, having relative success at Sheffield Wednesday, playing incisive attacking football to get them into the promotion play-offs twice, but now at the other end of the table, will his philosophy bring in points ? 

Much will depend on what he can get out of the players in the squad and anyone he is able to bring in during the January transfer window.  The existing squad was stripped bare by the sales of Jack Cork, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente.  There has been an off transfer policy over the last couple of years, which has led to successive managers being left not a lot to work with.  That has led to an unprecedented turnover of managers at the Liberty Stadium.  Stability is needed and that is just as important if the club go down.  Maybe appointing Carvalhal is a nod to that possibility, with his experience at Championship level.

Of the players they have available, Fabianski is another keeper who has a blinder or a stinker.  He has played well against us in the past, keeping the score down, but his performance at Wembley early in the season was instrumental in earning a point for his club.  In front of him, Kyle Naughton will be missing after being suspended for treading on a Watford player at the weekend, while Alfie Mawson was a rumoured target for Spurs a few months back, but now he will be a target for our players to take advantage of, as his form had dropped off.  Mike van der Hoorn is not up to Premier League standard, while Federico Fernandez is lacking pace and often concentrates on watching the player and not the ball.  Martin Olsson has been reasonably consistent at full back this season, but with Angel Rangel not having played much this season, it will be a decision for the new manager to make about who to bring into the side, with players out suspended and injured.

The midfield are reasonably sound players, with Tom Carroll most likely looking to impress his old side, with Wayne Routledge also keen to inflict damage on his ex.  Nathan Dyer is a busy wide midfielder, with Sam Clucas a hard-working midfielder and Leroy Fer as the enforcer in the middle.  I don't know much about Roque Mesa, but Luciano Narsingh is a wide man, but the problem Swansea have is that the mix very rarely clicks and with Spurs willing to hit on the break, the lack of speed means they might be left light in numbers at the back.  The ability to play around their players is also something that Tottenham might exploit to make sure they have possession and a lot of attacks.

Players brought in by Clement, such as Abraham and Sanchez have not worked out, while Wilfried Bony has been regaining match fitness by playing and Jordan Ayew has been struggling as much as anyone else in the team to hit the net regularly.  The lack of goals has made it difficult for the team to pick up many points this season and their bottom place is probably not a false position.  How they get out of that is something for the new boss to identify ... and quickly.

Having been seen off by Liverpool by five goals, Tottenham should be able to gather the three points here easier than last season, but they need to be aware that Swansea may provide some threat, but we owe them for the draw at Wembley, so a win will keep us in touch with the top four.  With Kane in great form and despite a cold, he will be desperate to play and start his 2018 in the right manner.   However, the key to  the way Tottenham play will be Christian Eriksen, who has been so influential in our recent resurgence.  Dele will put in a good performance, which is likely to be criticised by the media unless he either scores a hat-trick or stamps on someone, the back four need to be tight with the full backs giving Dyer and Routledge no opportunity to attack them and with the possibility of Victor Wanyama returning, it should provide Spurs the foundation to launch attacks on the home team.

PREDICTION Swansea City    0        Tottenham Hotspur    2
LAST SEASON'S MEETING For a look back at the match report, click here.
RESULTS HISTORY Click here for results, match reports and facts on meetings with Swansea City
Kyle Bartley (knee), Leon Britton (calf), Kyle Naughton (suspension) and Ki Sung-Yueng (calf) will miss the game,  while Wilfried Bony (hamstring) and Tammy Abraham (stomach) are doubts. 
Toby Alderweireld (hamstring) is the only absentee for Spurs, although Harry Kane's cold has meant he will be tested late on to see if he is able to play.  Victor Wanyama could be ready to take par tin the game after a knee injury has kept him out since the start of the seaosn.

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Swansea City  0 (0)  

Premier League
Tuesday 2nd January 2018
Liberty Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur  2 (1)

Kick off 19:45
None Llorente  11m 16s
Dele  88m 16s
Olsson (foul on Trippier)  11 
van der Hoorn (foul on Dele)  80


Sanchez  (foul on Olsson)  32
Lamela  (foul on Carroll)  65


Crowd :   20,615 Weather :  Rainy, cold
Referee : Robert Madeley (West Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. M. Perry; Mr. S. Child
Fourth Official :  Lee Probert  
Swansea City kicked off and played towards the Croeso Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 4 minutes.
Swansea City : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Lukasz FABIANSKI

  5  Mike van der HOORN     
33  Federico FERNANDEZ
  Alfie MAWSON

22  Angel RANGEL (c)  (11  Luciano NARSINGH  53)
17  Sam CLUCAS
35  Renato SANCHEZ
  Tom CARROLL  (15  Wayne ROUTLEDGE  78)
16  Martin OLSSON     

12  Nathan DYER  (62  Oliver McBURNIE  70)
18  Jordan AYEW

Unused subs: 
13  Kristoffer NORDFELDT
51  Roque MESA
  8  Leroy FER

    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

 16  Kieran TRIPPIER
Davinson SANCHEZ       (12  Victor WANYAMA  59)
33  Ben DAVIES

15  Eric DIER
23  Christian ERIKSEN

11  Erik LAMELA       (17  Moussa SISSOKO  77)
20  DELE Alli 
  7  Heung-Min SON

 18  Fernando LLORENTE    (10  Harry KANE  68)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
29  Harry WINKS

Manager :  Carlos Carvalhal Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Letou Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Joma Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

With a busy six days, Mauricio decided not to take any risks with his team selection and while opposition boss Carlos Carvalhal did, it was Spurs who came out with the win on a filthy night,  that featured rain and wind, with a lot of huff and puff from Swansea, but their lack of quality condemned them to a return to the bottom of the Premier League table after this 0-2 defeat.

Carlos Carvalhal set up with a 3-5-2 formation, featuring Renato Sanches and no centre forward, with Spurs missing Dembele and Rose with knocks, while Llorente returned to the Liberty Stadium in the starting eleven.  The rain and cold saw steam rising off the players, with spray coming off the pitch as the ball ran along the turf. The slick pitch made passing difficult to judge and the ball seemed to be holding up in places because of the sodden turf. The first ten minutes was mainly Spurs looking to probe through a Swansea side sitting deep, while they tried to hit the ball forward quickly to try and use Dyer’s pace to catch our defence out.

Olsson rashly stamped down on Trippier’s foot to concede a free-kick, but it was defended well when Eriksen swung it in, but when Carroll brought down Son with a leg across his thigh on the other flank, Christian put it in to the near post area and Fernando Llorente beat Fernandez to the ball to glance it into the net. It was the sort of service that the striker thrives on it was good to see him doing what he does best. Even though TV replays showed him offside when the ball was played in.

On 20 minutes, Eriksen fizzed a low ball in to Llorente, who neatly laid it off for Dele to shoot wide from outside the box. Spurs were enjoying lots of possession and lots of passes, but it was tight around the edge of the home side’s area, but Swansea turned the ball over when they had it with little option to play and keep the ball in their forward areas. A couple of times, the ball hit Lamela’s heels when he looked to get away, but the Swansea side were so dug in 30 yards from their goal, it was surprising that they didn’t get trench foot with the rain that was falling heavily.

For all the possession, Spurs were not getting shots on goal and with the wet surface, they could have been testing Fabianski’s reflexes. Twice Trippier hit passes that gave his team-mates problems, firstly selling Davinson short and then hitting a difficult back-pass that hurried Lloris into giving the ball away. A free-kick for Davinson pulling Olsson over off the ball gave Sanches a chance to get something on target, but he put the dead ball over. It did seem to rattle Spurs a bit as they gave the ball away cheaply and Swansea got a little bit of belief, putting the ball into the Tottenham box. Ayew shrieked loudly when he got touched and Madeley fell for it, but the home team were rarely that dangerous that they needed tackling.  In the 40th minute, Olsson sliced a shot well wide from the left after Dyer’s low ball came right through the penalty area to him. As it was, a free kick at the other end saw Eriksen find Llorente again, with nobody with him and his poked volley went over the top with four minutes left until half time. Spurs carelessly gave the ball away in the centre circle and it ended up as a corner to Swansea, with Sanchez failing to shrug Sanches off the ball. A couple of punches from Hugo – one more convincing than the other - cleared the immediate danger, but the main pressure from the Swans was coming in them getting closer to the blue shirts of Spurs.

With only one shot on target in the first half, it was hardly the most thrilling 45 minutes of football, but with the early lead, Spurs had been comfortable without threatening to add to the Llorente goal. With it only being 1-0, in the poor conditions despite the rain easing, they really needed to start thinking about putting the game to bed. Fabianski had only one stop to make and that was a kick out when Trippier put a low ball across the six-yard box, so the side needed a bit more end product.

Having played the ball dangerously around at the back, Swansea sprung forward at the start of the second half, but Dyer’s final shot went harmlessly wide. The home team were getting even closer to the Spurs players at the start of the second half and the passes we made were getting picked off. Son managed to come in off the right to shoot way over and Dele fired in a shot from outside the box that took a deflection over the bar. Davinson got himself into a tangle at the back and ended up bringing Olsson down, with the player, the crowd and the manager all wanting him to be sent off after being booked in the first half. The free-kick came to nothing and despite a spell holding the ball, Spurs were not finding a way through to goal. Swansea were looking to use the long pass to Narsingh, using his pace, but van der Hoorn lost possession to Lamela and then brought him down on the left hand corner of the box with a jump tackle from behind. This time the referee left his cards in his pocket. Eriksen drilled the free-kick at goal inside the near post, but Fabianski punched it away and in the second phase, Sanches pushed over Erik on the edge of the box on the left wing. Drilled in again, looking for Dele’s head, the keeper pushed it away for a corner. When the corner was cleared Lamela got a booking for catching Carroll on the Swansea man’s follow-through. From the free-kick, Swansea did get Narsingh away, but his shot from the right was blocked by Lloris to preserve the lead. As Spurs worked the ball around, Eriksen picked out Son on the left with a diagonal ball, but the South Korean couldn’t gather the ball in and it ran off his foot for a goal-kick.

As the game was still close in terms of goals, Pochettino brought on Kane for Llorente, with the manager hoping to finish off the home team. It was Jan who nearly opened up the defence, with a long straight ball that Dele got a head on and it went wide, but van der Hoorn had hands on his back as he went for it. At the other end, Ayew stumbled through three challenges and he might have gone down when Hugo went out at his feet, but Davies made a good tackle on him and then Victor cleared it for a corner, which saw the ball come off Vertonghen’s back and onto the post before being smuggled away for another corner.  Lloris successfully punched the ball out wide on this one and the follow-up cross was cleared easily.

While it was only 1-0, there was always the chance that Swansea could throw the ball in and get a break. The game got a little ragged, although Spurs tried to hang onto the ball, they managed to lose possession and allow Swansea forward, but when their breaks broke down, Spurs moved it forward swiftly. When Ben Davies ran across from left to right, he found Trippier and his long cross found Dele going for it with his head, but he left it for Son behind him to volley back across goal inches wide.

Ayew and Narsingh had shots blocked as the game entered the last seven minutes and then Narsingh nut-megged Davies but Ben got back to concede corner. Son was on the break when he was baulked in the box, but there was nothing doing and then Spurs kept mis-placing passes to hand the ball back to Swansea. When they did get the ball, Dele played the ball left to Harry Kane, who held off Fernadez and played a great pass to Dele just right of centre in the penalty area, having continued his run. His first touch was a little heavy, but he got a shot away, with Fabianski blocking it. However, Dele was alert and threw himself at the loose ball to guide it into the roof of the net to make it 2-0 with a minute of normal time left. It was an instinctive finish, but it was made by a fantastic ball from Kane, who is so much more than just a goal-scorer.

The wind and rain didn’t make it an easy task, with Swansea being more active in the second period, but a goal in the dying minutes of the game put the result beyond doubt. It wasn’t the best performance, but with West Ham waiting on Thursday, hopefully there will be something left in the tank for that game.

Spurs did more than enough to take the three points and with pantomime villain Dele Alli scoring the clincher, it couldn’t have been much sweeter, but 1-0 is a narrow tightrope to walk and while Swansea weren’t good enough to level things up, there were a couple of moments that could have led to an equaliser.

So, Spurs win away and need to take the confidence of that result into Thursday’s game.

The Heathrow Spur




With falling attendances, Swansea City tried to encourage people to come to the matches at the old Vetch Field, with free entry for those who brought a pet with them.  But back in the post-war austerity years, times were hard and not everyone could afford to keep a pet and therefore, fans sought to gain free entry by purloining one of the swans from the nearby Tawe river and the number of the birds inside the stadium gave the club their nickname, as they roosted in the club's groundsman's shed to populate the river for years to come.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Bournemouth 2 Monday
Burnley 1 Liverpool 2 Monday
Everton 0 Manchester United 2 Monday
Leicester City 3 Huddersfield Town 0 Monday
Stoke City 0 Newcastle United 1 Monday
Southampton 1 Crystal Palace 2 Tuesday
Manchester City 3 Watford 1 Tuesday
West Ham United London 2 West Bromwich Albion 1 Tuesday
Arsenal - - - -day
Chelsea - - - -day



League Table  2017-18
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 22 20 2 0 64 13 63 +51
2 Manchester United 22 14 5 3 45 16 47 +29
3 Chelsea 21 14 3 4 39 14 47 +29
4 Liverpool 22 12 8 2 50 25 44 +25
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 21 12 4 5 41 20 40 +21
6 Arsenal 21 11 5 5 38 26 38 +12
7 Burnley 22 9 7 6 19 19 34 0
8 Leicester City 22 8 6 8 34 32 30 +2
9 Everton 22 7 6 9 25 34 27 -9
10 Watford 22 7 4 11 31 40 25 -9
11 Huddersfield Town 22 6 6 10 18 35 24 -17
12 Brighton & Hove Albion 22 5 8 9 17 27 23 -10
13 Newcastle United 22 6 4 12 20 30 22 -10
14 Crystal Palace 22 5 7 10 20 33 22 -13
15 AFC Bournemouth 22 5 6 11 22 34 21 -12
16 West Ham United London 21 5 6 10 24 39 21 -15
17 Southampton 22 4 8 10 21 32 20 -11
18 Stoke City 22 5 5 12 23 47 20 -24
19 West Bromwich Albion 22 2 10 10 16 30 16 -14
20 Swansea City 22 4 4 14 13 33 19 -21


Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the mid-week matches :


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone might think so.


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