OPPONENTS Swansea City
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 19th January 2014
VENUE Liberty Stadium






Swansea City have found it hard this season, juggling their duties in the Europa League with their Premier League responsibilities. It is always an issue, with games coming thick and fast, with the depth of the squad being tested to the limit.

It is a problem that has plagued Spurs, both in the past and currently, but at the moment, the European competition is in mothballs until February and with a defeat in the FA Cup, Tottenham can concentrate on the league. Swansea still have the complication of the FA Cup, after beating Manchester United, but their need to do well in the Premier League is just as pressing, but with concerns over the other end of the table.
Michael Laudrup has said that he has four “tie-breakers” coming up against Fulham, West ham, Cardiff and Stoke City, ignoring this match in the process. I wonder if he has given up on it before it begins ?

The Welsh side has many players who have attracted attention from elsewhere, but they have not functioned in the effective way that the team had in previous seasons. The ball retention is still there, but the finishing of Michu has not been as prolific and injuries have hit the side in crucial positions.

Ben Davies has been a bright spot at left back, with Nathan Dyer providing moments of attacking on the flank, but he will be missing as he is on the injured list, along with a number of other Swansea players. In Dyer's absence, former Spur Wayne Routledge has stepped in and put in some good performances, with Wilfried Bony stepping into Michu's boots and he has scored some important goals. The Ivorian is rangy and good in the air, as well as being decent with the ball at his feet, so he will be a threat as the Swans go looking for vital points.

Goalkeeper Michel Vorm is still ruled out, meaning another outing for Gerhard Tremmell, who is a good keeper, but his shot-stopping is due to be tested and Spurs will do well to make sure their efforts are on target and that they follow them in, as he has been known to spill shots.
With captain Ashley Williams returning to the side, the leader has given the side a boost, but there is a weakness in his game in that he tends to lose his bearings sometimes and the man he was supposed to be marking gets a chance to slip away from him. Soldado might be able to make the most of such opportunities if given the right supply.

Alongside him, Chico Flores may feature, with injuries hitting the Welsh side. Angel Rangel could take the right back role on the opposite side to Davies, with both full backs liking to get forward. As Spurs may have Townsend fit, Sherwood could play two quick men to start and push the Swansea wide players deeper, thus blunting their attacking options. Flores is a hot-head and can dive into tackles, get involved in confrontations and lose his positional sense, giving away free-kicks in dangerous situations. With the need to keep clean sheets, his involvement could put that at risk.

The Swansea midfield is likely to consist of Lamah, Wayne Routledge, Jonjo Shelvey and Leon Britton. Lamah and Routledge are likely to provide the attacking options, while Britton will sit in front of the back four and pass the ball all day, having Shelvey to shuttle back and forth, causing mayhem at both ends. Shelvey was shipped out of Liverpool and found a spiritual home at Swansea, but his decision making is not always what it should be with dodgy back-passes or trying a trick in the wrong place. Routledge has found a new lease of life at the Liberty Stadium, producing some form which he didn't have the chance to do when he was at Tottenham and Lamah will work the other line having returned from injury. It is a role that Tiendalli can fill if needed.

And up front, the impact that Michu made has waned and ended in injury, leaving new signing Wilfried Bony to carry the goal-scoring burden, which he has done well. His contribution has not been heavy, but he plays a lone role up front and there will be a flooding of the midfield (just like
the rain of the past few weeks) to try and stifle Tottenham's attacks.  Pozuelo came in from Real Betis and is a young player who likes to go forward, possibly playing in a three just behind Bony.

Spurs are finding some pattern to their play, with Eriksen featuring in a more involved role and the side looking more fluent going forward, which has resulted in more goals, but the speed that they move the ball could still be increased and this would heap more pressure on the opposition, as it did last season. This may come in time, but for Head Coach Tim Sherwood time is not on his side, as he is seeking immediate results to persuade Daniel Levy that he is the man for the job.
Recent league losses to the two Manchester clubs and a draw with Aston Villa has seen the clubs below them close the gap. They will be hoping for points in their upcoming games, but this one might just go against them.

PREDICTION Swansea City    1         Tottenham Hotspur    3
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Swansea City  1 (0)                                                                                Tottenham Hotspur  3 (1)
Premier League
Sunday 19th January 2014                                                                                                                    Kick off 13:30
Liberty Stadium
Bony 78
Adebayor 35
Flores (o.g.) 53
Adebayor 71
Amat (foul on Chiriches) 49
Bony (foul on Chiriches) 68


Rose (kicking ball away) 80


Crowd :   20,769 Weather :  -  Dry, sunny with a slight chill
Referee :  Martin Atkinson (South Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :   Mr. H. Lennard; Mr. M. McDonough
Fourth Official :  Mr. G. Scott -
Swansea City kicked off and played towards the North Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 8 mins.
Swansea City : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
25  Gerhard TREMMEL

22  Angel RANGEL
  4  Chico FLORES  (o.g.)
6  Ashley WILLIAMS (c)
33  Ben DAVIES

  2  Jordi AMAT     
  7  Leon BRITTON
8  Jonjo SHELVEY  (14  Roland LAMAH 51)

15  Wayne ROULEDGE
24  Adrian POZUELO

10  Wilfried BONY      

Unused subs: 
  3  Neil TAYLOR
19  Dwight TIENDALLI
26  ALVARO Vasquez

  25  Hugo LLORIS

  2  Kyle WALKER
20  Michael DAWSON (c)
  3  Danny ROSE     

19  Mousa DEMBELE
23  Christian ERIKSEN
42  Nabil BENTALEB

  7  Aaron LENNON (16 Kyle NAUGHTON)
Emmanuel ADEBAYOR   
21  Nacer CHADLI (22 Gylfi SIGURDSSON)

Unused subs:
15  Etienne CAPOUE
14  Lewis HOLTBY
18  Jermain DEFOE
  9  Roberto SOLDADO

Manager :  Michael Laudrup Manager :  Tim Sherwood
Sponsor :   GWFX Shirt sponsor :  Hewlett Packard
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

Tottenham's lunch-time trip to the Liberty Stadium brought a welcome three points, in what is becoming a happy habit away from home, but the 3-1 score-line was not reflective of the game, where Spurs could have had more goals and Swansea City were plunged into four important up-coming games against teams at the bottom end of the table.

Sherwood chose to start Tottenham with a 4-3-3 on paper, with Aaron Lennon and Christian Eriksen given responsibilities for tracking back in what became more of a 4-5-1. The introduction of Nacer Chadli was an odd one, but given a nomially central role, which the Belgian said he liked most, but was allowed to float left and he produced given an opportunity to shine.

The sun shone down in South Wales as the game kicked off, and the skiddy surface almost got Hugo Lloris in trouble as a through ball to Wilfried Bony saw the Spurs keeper come sliding out and then his quick thinking saw him push the ball out to Danny Rose, as it looked like he might slide out of his box.

Swansea were moving the ball well in the early stages, winning a corner, which they worked short and then played back to Shelvey, who fired it a long way wide. The former Charlton and Liverpool midfielder went closer with his next shot, but it still didn't require Hugo to be called into action. After a spell of Spurs pressure, Shelvey's third effort was on target and Lloris parried the ball, leaving Danny Rose to hack it away before a shot came in from Britton in the second phase of play and it flew wide.

While the Swans held on to the ball well at the start, they began getting lose with their passing and their touch being loose. Spurs tried to get to the line in wide positions and pick out someone in the middle, but the final ball let them down. When Swansea did work the ball through the Spurs midfield, Bony hit a 20 yard shot first time that had Lloris scrambling, but it went wide again.

Spurs were finding space behind the full backs and Bentaleb's pass inside Davies found Lennon, who hit a long cross to the far post, where Rose volleyed it back into the middle, but it was cleared away. As Swansea moved the ball forward, Bony once more let fly, from about 22 yards out in the 25th minute, but although it beat Lloris this time, it didn't beat the bar, as the ball bounced back out. From the corner, when the ball was kicked out after coming back off the woodwork, Bony was again involved, as Dawson gave him a shove as he jumped for it and the Ivory Coast striker went down looking for a penalty. Martin Atkinson was looking right at it, but didn't whistle, when he probably should have done. As the move broke down, Tottenham broke away with Walker's ball in from the right eventually just too far ahead of Chadli.

Things got a bit ragged, with neither side holding onto the ball. A ball through the middle from Bony, when Dawson had dived in and sold himself, looked for Routledge, but Chiriches read it well and intercepted to deny a good chance for Swansea.

Then, against the run of play, Spurs scored in the 35th minute. Eriksen played Lennon away on the right wing, then took a return pass from the wide man. Our Danish midfielder swung in a cross with some pace on it and while Nacer Chadli went in for it and missed, Emmanuel Adebayor was right behind him to head the ball into the net.

A minute later, Adebayor nicked the ball and went off down the left, played inside to Eriksen, who fed Lennon and then the ball moved on to Chadli, who fired over from 15 yards out. Chadli then got to the dead-ball line on the left, but his cross picked out a white shirt, instead of a blue one. Adebayor stung Tremmel's hands when Spurs moved the ball from left to right and Rose stung the hands of the fans in Row Z when he strode forward and fired high and handsomely wide. It was a good period of football for Spurs.

The way the formation was playing allowed Tottenham to get the full backs pushing on to over-load their opposite numbers, while the numbers in midfield won the ball or picked off loose passes to start counter-attacks. One such move saw Lennon play in Eriksen on the edge of the box, with the Dane producing a fine turn to give him a shooting opportunity, but a defender got back to half-block his effort and the ball went gently through to Tremmel.

Swansea wanted to try and get something back before the break, with Routledge almost played in on their left, but Walker made a fine tackle that won the ball in a challenge which might have given a penalty away if had been slightly mis-timed.

The break came and the recent history of the two teams went to form. Swansea having lots of possession, with Spurs converting their chances better than the opposition. No changes were made, so the teams that kicked off the second half were given the chance to show what they could do again.

For Swansea, they needed to improve their final pass and for Spurs, it was a case of finishing off the chances they were making. In the end, it was a bit of both. Dawson's pas inside Davies saw Walker clear and his fierce ball across the six yard box, knee high, was turned in by Chico Flores in the 54th minute. It came from Tottenham picking up a loose ball and breaking on the home team. And they continued to do so, with players going past the man with the ball to give him passing options.

Walker was nearly too nonchalant in trying to let a through ball run out (in a Corluka stylee), but Davies managed to keep it in and Chirches had to come over to bail him out. On the hour, Swansea got an effort on target, when Pozuelo tried to play the ball through and it was half blocked but fell to Bony, who struck it first time and Hugo beat it out and grabbed it at the second attempt.

Tottenham's breaking was hitting Swansea hard and Bentaleb played a little 1-2-3 with Adebayor who went past two men and then played it to Lennon, but his shot was blocked by Williams.

Flores almost made amends for his own goal, when he got a free header from a corner in the 66th minute, but from eight yards out, he put his header over the bar. Spurs brought on Gylfi Sigurdsson for Nacer Chadli and then Chiriches took another knock in the face (following last week) when Bony went for it and was given a yellow card for the foul.

When Chiriches came back on, he broke up a move, played it through to Sigurdsson, who put Dembele through. With Adebayor to his left, the Belgian took the ball on himself and shot across the keeper from the right but it went past the foot of the post with Ade furious.

Not that it mattered, as Dembele got the ball when another Swansea move broke down and played it through Sigurdsson to Eriksen to Rose and his square ball across the edge of the box to Emmanuel, who steadied himself 12 yards out and calmly stroked the ball to Tremmel's left to make it 3-0 with 71 minutes on the clock.

Swansea got on the score-sheet more by luck than judgement. A ball in to Davies, running into the box, saw the defender run straight into Chiriches, with the ball going wide and the ball was sliced into the goalmouth, where it dropped for Bony to shot low past Lloris' left hand to pull a goal back.

There were 12 minutes left when the goal went in and there was a hilarious moment a minute later when Atkinson was at his laughable best, booking Rose for kicking the ball away, when Flores was doing the same thing in the fifth minute. Funny how the Swansea crowd were so incensed when their team are past masters at it (see the match earlier this season at White Hart Lane).

Walker made a chance out of nothing on the right hand side, pulling the ball back for Sigurdsson, but his low shot was straight at Tremmel. There was a move with five minutes to go when Spurs players were queuing up to score, but the defence blocked it out and tried to build, before Spurs picked the ball off again.

Swansea were keeping the ball well in the middle third, but this allowed Tottenham to get men back behind the ball. Waiting to get possession ,they almost made the home team pay again, when Chiriches played a long straight ball through to Adebayor, but it was just a little to hard to collect and the striker could only poke it at Tremmel as he came out and the keeper grabbed it. The next move forward saw Walker fizz a cross across the face of goal, with Ade too tired to get on the end of it.

The majority of added time saw Tottenham playing possession football, without trying to go for a fourth too hard, but they had killed off the game already. The only bit of passion came from Wayne Routledge, who showed a bit of short man syndrome, when he wanted to have a go at Dembele, having earlier tried it on with someone his own size – Rose.
Tottenham's bright and energetic approach saw them first to most of the loose balls and their closing down forced Swansea to make passes they didn't want to. Once in possession, Spurs used the ball well and hurt the home side with their attacks. Swansea were looking like a team three points off the relegation zone and without a win in eight matches, lacking confidence in their usual passing game and lacking resilience at the back, Spurs pressed and that pressure was too much for Swansea to cope with.

Tottenham are now level with Liverpool on points and the Merseyside team are touted as title challengers. Not bad for a team having a bad season !!

Sherwood team was set up to allow the team to prey on Swansea's weaknesses and the Spurs players are obviously buying into the Head Coach's thinking, as they are putting in a huge amount of work and then learning to take a rest when we have possession. However, we play such a high tempo game when on fire, that there is little time to get your breath back.

Five straight away wins for the first time since the Double team does not a successful team make, but the confidence gained from the run of results will boost the team, so it is disappointing that the week of next weekend when it is FA Cup weekend comes when we would want to continue our good form. However, it should allow the players to rest and others to regain fitness to be available for the coming matches.

The Heathrow Spur



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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 2 Fulham 0 Saturday
Crystal Palace 1 Stoke City 0 Saturday
Liverpool 2 Aston Villa 2 Saturday
Manchester City 4 Cardiff City 2 Saturday
Norwich City 1 Hull City 0 Saturday
Sunderland 2 Southampton 2 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Newcastle United 3 Saturday
Chelsea 3 Manchester United 1 Sunday
West Bromwich Albion 1 Everton 1 Monday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 22 16 3 3 43 19 51 +24
2 Manchester City 22 16 2 4 63 25 50 +38
3 Chelsea 22 15 4 3 43 20 49 +23
4 Liverpool 22 13 4 5 53 28 43 +25
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 22 13 4 5 29 26 43 +3
6 Everton 22 11 9 2 35 20 42 +15
7 Manchester United 22 11 4 7 36 27 37 +9
8 Newcastle United 22 11 3 8 32 28 36 +4
9 Southampton 22 8 7 7 29 24 31 +3
10 Hull City 22 6 5 11 22 28 23 -4
11 Norwich City 22 6 5 11 18 35 23 -17
12 Aston Villa 22 6 6 10 22 29 24 -7
13 West Bromwich Albion 22 4 10 8 24 29 22 -5
14 Stoke City 22 5 6 11 21 33 22 -12
15 Swansea City 22 5 6 11 27 33 21 -6
16 Crystal Palace 22 6 2 14 14 33 20 -17
17 Fulham 22 6 1 15 22 48 19 -26
18 West Ham United 22 4 6 12 22 33 18 -11
19 Sunderland 22 4 6 12 21 36 18 -15
20 Cardiff City 22 4 6 12 17 38 18 -21


Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  5th


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