OPPONENTS Swansea City
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 25th August 2013
VENUE White Hart Lane






Following a Europa League match, there is usually a dip in form, but after the 5-0 win over Dinamo Tbilisi, the side are showing signs of gelling.  That run out against inferior opposition would have given the side confidence and their retention of the ball was a good sign that with this match against Swansea City coming up, they will hopefully be able to translate into an advantage.

Michael Laudrup is a good tactician and has been assembling a good side with his knowledge of the Spanish game coming in handy in brining in players to fit his system.  With players like Michu having an impact on the Premier League despite not being known before his arrival, Laudrup has brought in players that are technically very good and will also be able to play to a pattern that involves lots of possession and then quick passing around the box.

Wayne Routledge has found the way the Swans play to his liking and the pacy winger is also getting on the scoring act now.  With Nathan Dyer a similar figure on the other flank, there is pace to trouble defenders and they are able to produce good final balls.  Although Luke Moore has left the club, they still have new record signing Wilfried Bony, who has already shown a knack of being on the spot to finish Swansea's flowing moves.  There is a little too much of a reliance  goals from midfield, with Michu, Dyer, Routledge, Pozuelo and Pablo Hernandez are often on the mark, while Jonjo Shelvey, Ki Sung-Yueng and Jose Canas will be expected to chip in with their share.

At the back, the defence relies a lot on Ashley William.  Strong in the tackle and good in the air, the only drawback to his game is a lack of pace if the ball is played around him and that is where Spurs will need to concentrate their attacks.  With Neil Taylor fit again at left back, he might have a test being up against Lennon, if fit, or Townsend, with Angel Rangel on the other flank likely to find Nacer Chadli providing a stronger physical battle.  Chico Flores in the middle will no doubt try to get the better of Roberto Soldado, but I think that the striker's movement might cause the Swans defender a lot of problems and he is not cautious in the tackle.

With the players regaining fitness, AVB will have a tough job picking teams over the coming weeks, especially is more players are to arrive.  The depth of the squad is filling out and I feel that the midfield available to Spurs and the way we now intend to play will stretch Swansea.

While it might not be as comprehensive a defeat as they suffered at home to Manchester United last weekend, which has temporarily left them bottom of the table, I take Spurs to come out on top.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    2         Swansea City    0
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Jan Vertonghen (ankle) and Sandro (knee) could well return after missing the trip to Georgia in midweek, but Aaron Lennon (foot) remains a doubt.  Younes Kaboul came through the Tbilisi game without any problems and Lewis Holtby completed almost all of the Under-21 game on Friday night at West Ham United, so could be a consideration for a place on the bench.  Gareth Bale's impending transfer to Real Madrid keeps him out of squad.

Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - Monday 22.30 (highlights)  Also available online.

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Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)                                                                  Swansea City  0 (0)
Premier League
Sunday 25th  August 2013                                                                                                           Kick off 16:00
White Hart Lane
Soldado (p) 47 None
Soldado (foul on Puzuelo) 76  



Davies (foul on Townsend)  16
Vorm (kicking ball away)  30
Michu (kicking ball away)  40
Williams (foul on Soldado)  73 


Crowd :   36,005 Weather :  Warm, sunny
Referee :  Neil Swarbrick (Preston) Assistant Referees :  Mr. D. Cann & Mr. D. Perry
Fourth Official :  Mr. N. Davies -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Swansea City : kit
25  Hugo LLORIS

  2  Kyle WALKER
Michael DAWSON (c)
  3  Danny ROSE

15  Etienne CAPOUE 

17  Andros TOWNSEND  (30  SANDRO 88)
19  Mousa DEMBELE  (22  Gylfi SIGURDSSON 64)
21  Nacer CHADLI

  9  Roberto SOLDADO         (18  Jermain DEFOE 81)

Unused subs: 
  4  Younes KABOUL

    1  Michel VORM     

33  Ben DAVIES     
  4  Chico FLORES
  Ashley WILLIAMS (c)     
22  Angel RANGEL

21  Jose CANAS

15  Wayne ROUTLEDGE  (24  Alejandro PUZEULO 59)
  8  Jonjo SHELVEY  (10  Wilfried BONY 69)
20  Jonathan De GUZMAN

22  MICHU     

Unused subs: 
25  Gerhard TREMMEL
  2  Jordi AMAT
10  Leon BRITTON
14  Roland LAMAH
29  Ashley RICHARDS

Manager :  Andre Villas-Boas Manager :  Michael Laudrup
Sponsor :   Hewlett Packard Shirt sponsor :  GWFX
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   adidas
Match report

With all the Spurs news focused away from White Hart Lane, the team got on with their progress with their second 1-0 win of the season, this time over a cautious Swansea City side, to take them to third in the embryonic the Premier League table.

While the result may indicate a narrow victory, it was as sound a win as the previous week's win over Crystal Palace. There was little intent in Swansea's approach, other than to waste time from early on in the first half; a tactic that earned them the same result last season at the Lane. Teams are looking to set themselves up as hard to beat at the Lane, but it shows a lack of belief in their own ability to be able to play their game and challenge for the points. For all the talk we hear about Michael Laudrup's team and how they play good possession football, their hold on the ball failed to trouble the Tottenham defence until they went behind.

Spurs, for their own part, are still a work in progress. New players coming in mean that they are still adjusting to the new surroundings and new style of play. Some have adapted quicker than others. While Nacer Chadli was working the left wing, with the occasional foray across the line, his strength showed that defenders will not be able to shrug him off the ball and as the game went on, his involvement in the game became greater. He showed a good degree of skill on the ball and went close with a free-kick.
As for Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Roberto Soldado, they have made the transition into the team a bit more seamlessly. Paulinho and Capoue proved to be the rocks that Swansea possession foundered on. Their quick closing down and snapping into tackles prevented any progress the Swans tried to make into the last third of the pitch. And they were both happy to get forward to try their luck on goal.

Spurs began at a sprightly pace, winning a couple of corners in the first two minutes, but nothing came of them and it was seven minutes into the match that the first effort on goal was recorded, as Paulinho moved forward to hit a low grass-cutter from outside the area that saw Vorm dive to make a routine stop. Within a few minutes, Swansea had fashioned a chance at the other end, which former Spurs winger Wayne Routledge struck a couple of feet off the floor, with Lloris diving to his right to palm the ball out. Although this lead to shot from De Guzman, he was flagged offside and missed anyway.

The response from Tottenham was a shot from Capoue from fully 30 yards as he moved towards the Swansea goal, but it was straight at Vorm and caused him little trouble in saving it. Defender Ben Davies rashly dived in on Andros Townsend as he moved across the box from left to right and not only got a free kick given against him, but also received a yellow card from the referee. From the dead ball situation, being sited centrally, Chadli struck it well, but a couple of feet too high as it went over Vorm's crossbar.
With twenty minutes gone, Tottenham almost took the lead courtesy of Swans skipper Ashley Williams. A neat move on the right wing saw Walker played in by Paulinho and Williams attempted to try to cut out the full-back's dangerous cross, being relieved to see the ball cannon off the near post and bounce out. However, Paulinho was alert to it and smacked the ball back at goal, but Vorm got down to it at his near post and kept the ball out. Just two minutes later, central defender Flores almost diverted Danny Rose's low cross into his own goal, but his keeper was behind it.

The visitors made one of their few attacks, with Routledge playing the ball to Shelvey on the left of the box and his low drive was beaten out by Hugo at his near post.
Roberto Soldado was leading the line on his own and lacked support when he was holding the ball, but he was worrying the Welsh team's defence enough for another rash tackle to concede a free-kick out on the right. Michel Vorm took it into his head that this was so unfair that he kicked the ball high into the West Stand. Again, out came the yellow card. It was from this point that the away team started blatant time-wasting and again, it under-mined their reputation for the style of football they have been noted for in recent seasons.
Ten minutes before the break, Spurs opened Swansea up on the right wing, with Michael Dawson playing the ball inside the full back to Walker, whose low pull back was into the path of Mousa Dembele. The Belgian midfielder struck the ball well and first time, but the shot was straight at Vorm and although he acrobatically tipped the ball over the top, a yard either side or two yards lower and the ball would have probably ended up in the net. Dawson was involved again from the corner, winning a far post header, but it looped harmlessly onto the top of the net.

Paulinho had another shot on goal on goal in the 37th minute, with a volley to Chadli's cross that he dug into the ground, but the bounce took the ball too high. This was followed by shots from distance by Townsend and De Guzman, separated by a booking for the whingeing Michu, who fouled Dembele with a crude tackle.

The last effort of any note in the first half was a long range shot from Flores, which dipped just as it reached Lloris, but he made the save look straight-forward. But that wasn't to say that the action was over. Townsend was active on the right all game and his pace troubled the Swansea defence, especially when he burst between Routledge and Shelvey as he reached the box. Shelvey brought him down and the linesman gave the decision, with the referee going over to place the ball right on the edge of the area. Being at the other end of the pitch, it was not possible to see where the foul took place, but after the game reports said that the foul was easily inside the penalty box. The free kick came to nothing and the half time whistle brought a frustrating 45 minutes to an end.

Spurs had looked comfortable going forward, with a solid midfield, while the defence were not being given the toughest work-out in the first half, with Swansea content to get two rows of four behind the ball and an extra man sitting between them.

The second half was a different affair. Mainly because this time, when Townsend ran at Shelvey and was brought down, it was clearly in the box and Roberto Soldado strode up to stroke the ball to the keeper's left as he dived to the right. As last week, it had been a long time since we had a home penalty, but one comes along in the first home game of the season.

That was in the 56th minute, but prior to that Spurs had upped the tempo a bit and won early corners, with Demeble having a shot blocked and Townsend firing one at goal and missing by inches going over the top.

Laudrup made an immediate change, bringing on Pozuelo, a more attacking player, for Routledge. Swansea had to come out and play a bit more, with Pablo Hernandez shooting a yard wide with a curling shot when he was well placed in the D and with a clear sight of goal. With twenty minutes remaining, Swansea fashioned their best chance with a long cross in from the left from Hernandez, which was met at the far side of the penalty area by a volley from Chico Flores from an acute angle. It looked to be on target until Lloris arched his back and tipped the ball over the crossbar to deny the fiery central defender.

Soldado's role was a thankless one for much of the time, being out-numbered by purple and yellow shirts, but it was his white shirt that got pulled out of shape down in the corner in front of the East Stand and the Paxton Road stand before Williams hauled him down again. Yellow card to go with the yellow shirt.

The Spurs goal lived a slightly charmed life when Dawson cleared a ball into the box in the 75th minute. But his clearance went into Hernandez, who stood in front of him, looping the ball up into the air and causing Hugo to stretch upwards to grab the ball as it threatened to go over his head.

Soldado got a yellow card for a kick at Pozuelo as he ran away from him, before Walker was played into the box by a Townsend pass and his shot was blocked and then Flores got back to doing what he does best by getting involved in a bust-up with substitute Jermain Defoe, picking on the shortest man on the pitch. Defoe was a threat to the Swansea defence and when he passed to Chadli and he fed it on to Paulinho, who shot at goal only for Vorm to save. The ball ran loose and the Brazilian got to the ball first, but could not control the follow-up shot which went high into the crowd.

By this time, the game had entered stoppage time and Spurs played a possession game to keep Swansea away from the Tottenham goal.

The final whistle saw Spurs leave the field with two wins and two clean sheets behind them. The players left the field to the cheers of the crowd and Roberto Soldado made us feel like it was the end of the season as he came over to the East Stand to get his two daughters who went onto the pitch with him. With one in the home kit and one in the away kit, both with daddy's name and number on the back, he had all angles covered. And while he netted the penalty expertly, it was Hugo Lloris who preserved the points with a fine stop.

All the players in the team have their roles to carry out and that contributes to a whole that has seen the team win three games without conceding a goal. The next game might tell us more about the character of the team, but by then the team may be different to the one that took the field against Crystal Palace a week ago.

Trevor Peverill


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




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 3 2 1 0 4 1 7 +3
2 Liverpool 2 2 0 0 2 0 6 +2
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 2 0 0 2 0 6 +2
4 Manchester United 2 1 1 0 4 1 4 +3
5 West Ham United 2 1 1 0 2 0 4 +2
6 Southampton 2 1 1 0 2 1 4 +1
7 Manchester City 2 1 0 1 6 3 3 +3
8 Arsenal 2 1 0 1 4 4 3 0
9 Aston Villa 3 1 0 2 4 4 3 0
10 Stoke City 2 1 0 1 2 2 3 0
11 Cardiff City 2 1 0 1 3 4 3 -1
12 Fulham 2 1 0 1 2 3 3 -1
13 Hull City 2 1 0 1 1 2 3 -1
14 Everton 2 0 2 0 2 2 2 0
15 Norwich City 2 0 1 1 2 3 1 -1
16 Sunderland 2 0 1 1 1 2 1 -1
17 West Bromwich Albion 2 0 1 1 0 1 1 -1
18 Newcastle United 2 0 1 1 0 4 1 -4
19 Crystal Palace 2 0 0 2 1 3 0 -2
20 Swansea City 2 0 0 2 1 5 0 -4


Position before match :  7th
Position after match :  3rd
Position after the weekend :  3rd


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