OPPONENTS Swansea City 
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Sunday 28th February 2016
VENUE White Hart Lane
PREVIEW No preview produced.
PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    3         Swansea City    1

Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.25 (highlights)  Also available online.

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Tottenham Hotspur  2 (0)                                                                       
Premier League
Sunday 28th February 2016
White Hart Lane
Swansea City  1 (1)

Kick off 14:05
Chadli  69m 08s
Rose  76m 27s
Paloschi 18m 24s
Rose (foul on Ayew)  56
Walker (foul on Ayew)  90+4


Williams (foul on Alli)  28
Paloschi (foul on Walker)  42
Ayew (foul on Rose)  58  


Crowd :   35,992 Weather :  Bright, chilly
Referee :  Mike Jones (Cheshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. M. McDonagh; Mr. A. Garratt
Fourth Official :  Lee Mason  
Swansea City kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 7 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Swansea City : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER     
27  Kevin WIMMER
  3  Danny ROSE      

15  Eric DIER
20  Dele ALLI

11  Erik LAMELA  (22  Nacer CHADLI  63  )
23  Christian ERIKSEN
  7  Heung-Min SON  (
  8  Ryan MASON  75)

10  Harry KANE  (25  Josh ONOMAH  84)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

33  Ben DAVIES
16  Kieran TRIPPIER
  6  Nabil BENTALEB


    1  Lukasz FABIANSKI

22  Angel RANGEL
33  Federico FERNANDEZ
  Ashley WILLIAMS (c)     

24  Jack CORK
  7  Leon BRITTON  (  8  Leroy FER  75)
  4  KI Sung-Yeung  (18
 Bafetimbi GOMIS 83)


10  Andre AYEW
  9  Alberto PALOSCHI    (58  Modou BARROW  88)

Unused subs: 
13  Kristoffer NORDFELDT
  2  Jordi AMAT


Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Francesco Guidolin
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor : GWFX
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   adidas
Match report

For long periods of this match, it looked as though Swansea City's dogged defending and 'professional' time-wasting would see out an unexpected victory in their battle against the drop, but Tottenham are a very different animal these days and their belief in their system brought two goals in eight late second half minutes to secure a 2-1 win and retain second place in the Premier League.

It was a win that meant a lot with results elsewhere giving the three points an extra significance, as Leicester City's late winner on Saturday meant we had to keep on their coat-tails, while Arsenal losing to Manchester United earlier in the afternoon gave us the chance to open a little gap between us and them.   The goals from Chadli and Rose made a big difference and broke the resistance that Swansea had put up with a little luck and a lot of good saves from Lukasz Fabianski.  For many, the former Gooner goalie was the man of the match, but his blatant time-wasting and the lack of action taken by referee Mike Jones left him lower down the choices for that best player on the pitch.  That would have to go to Christian Eriksen in my opinion.  His constant probing around the Swansea penalty area helped build the pressure on the visitors' goal that eventually brought the cracks that led to goals.

The result could have been so different though.  Without two saves at either end of the match by Hugo Lloris, Tottenham might have ended the day five points behind Leicester.  The French keeper's stunning reflex save in the second minute to deny former Spurs midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, when Paloschi pulled the ball back form the dead ball line, was world class.  From less than five yards out, the Icelander struck the ball very well and not only did Hugo get a hand to the ball, but managed to have enough strength in his wrist to turn it over the bar.  From that moment until his flying stop to deny a Paloschi volley from the left of the Spurs goal in the 79th minute, Hugo had little to do, as Swansea were penned in their own half for long periods of time.  His reactions were vital in keeping the ball out just when Spurs were holding onto the lead in the match for the first time. 

After the first save, Spurs fashioned a similar move with Son, then Kane passing the ball on and Rose playing the ball into the near post area where Erik Lamela got onto the end of it, just a couple of yards out, but his shot rose over the bar, when it looked easier to score.   Swansea were sitting deep with two banks of four, with Sigurdsson breaking from one of them to support Ayew (Rock Steady Crew) and Paloschi up top.  This meant that Eriksen was having to come deep for the ball, but this allowed him to instigate moves from there and let Dele Alli free to move into forward positions, despite having suffered an ankle scare in the warm-up.  Dele was not at his best today, but was still influential in helping Tottenham go towards the Swans' goal.

It looked like Fabianski was going to have one of those days where the opposition keeper pulls off save after save.  He got in the way of Kane's near post strike after Eriksen had driven the ball in low, then, when he was beaten, by Kane prodding Lamela's pass past the keeper, the Spurs man was denied by an offside flag.  Whenever Swansea had the ball, it seemed to end up with Ayew on the floor.  He could have thrown in some head spins or windmills !!   However, with 19 minutes gone, Swansea took the lead to a lot of the crowd's surprise.  A corner was worked by Sigurdsson to Rangel 25 yards out and he exchanged passes with Britton before unleashing a shot.  It was going nowhere, until it hit the back of Jack Cork and fell nicely for Paloschi to run onto and fire high past Lloris into the roof of the net from the six yard line.  It was a fortunate goal for Swansea and left Spurs chasing the game.  Cheers came up when the big screen showed Man U beating Arsenal 2-0, but that wasn't going to help us.  There was doubt about whether it had been a corner in the first place, but Swansea made the most of their luck.

Tottenham were then on attack mode and pressed relentlessly for a goal.  Son got a good ball in that flicked off a defender and ran to an area where there was no Spurs man, then Lamela's right wing free-kick picked out Eric Dier's head, but he put it over, when he might have done better.  Harry Kane, wearing a clear protective mask after breaking his nose last Sunday, almost latched onto a low driven cross from Kyle Walker on the right, then, in the 30th minute, a Christian Eriksen special free-kick from 25 yards forced Fabianski to a stretching save to his right as the ball looked like it might creep inside the post.   Immediately after, the referee ignored three kicks at Alli as he ran into the box (the first possibly outside) and the ball ran to Lamela, who hit a shot that the keeper dealt with routinely.  There were a couple of through balls and crosses to deal with before Son made a yard to shoot, but his effort went straight at the goalkeeper.

It was to be the battle of the two 23s from dead ball situations, but the first that came Gylfi's way saw him sky high into the Paxton Road end.  Paloschi had a sniff of an opening when Rangel pulled a low cross back to him, but Toby Alderweireld was there to block the ball. 

Into added time at the end of the first half, Spurs strung together the best move of the 45 minutes.  Danny Rose played a low ball into the box, after a series of passes opened Swansea up on our left, with his ball being met by Eric Dier.  Five yards out, he looked as though he must score.  Fabianski stuck out an arm and his hand stopped the ball going over the line, enjoying some luck as Kane got to the rebound, but close to the post, he could only hit the outside of the side-netting.

At half-time Alan Gilzean returned to the Lane and it was really good to see him again.  After so long away, his regular visits to WHL are entertaining and he urged the crowd to get behind the team in the second half.  And that was what happened.  Spurs were straight into attack after they re-started the game and Spurs looked to find a way over the Swansea defence, but the green and blue shirts got in the way.  Fabianski had to be alert as Dele Alli received the ball on the 18 yard line, flicked it around the corner and struck a low volley, but the keeper got his body behind it.  He got a hand behind Eriksen's 25 yard free-kick when Son was fouled, with Christian not quite getting enough on it to beat the keeper's dive.  Fabianski also had to have strong wrists as Kane unleashed a fierce drive that was heading into the top left corner of the Swansea goal and the goalie pushed it wide.

Another Eriksen free-kick missed by inches before the Danish midfielder strode forward and hit a low 25 yarder that forced the goalie to get down to the ball again.  Shot after shot was failing to find the net and perhaps it looked like being one of those afternoons.  Dele Alli hit a shot wide from a similar distance, then Walker's cross was knocked out and substitute Nacer Chadli shot at goal, but a body got in the way.  Alli had the same result, then Williams got enough on Danny Rose's shot to take the ball off target.  The corner saw Toby get to the ball first, but his header was blocked, then Eriksen shot wide before Fabianski was in action again, this time touching a 30 yard pearler from Rose over his bar. 

When Eriksen took the corner, it didn't look promising, as we had failed to beat the first  man too many times.  However, this time it went deeper.   Fabianksi flapped at it and it went just outside the right hand corner of the area to Kyle Walker, who drove it back at goal.  The ball would have gone well wide had Chadli not turned his foot to side-foot the ball past the man on the line to give Spurs the equaliser they had been searching for.  Twenty minutes left and an opportunistic goal had broken the defensive resolve and for all the saves and stops, they could do nothing about this one.

Swansea tried to hit back, with Ayew getting a shot on goal, but it was blocked for a corner.  From it, Eriksen led the break out and with three players to his right, he played it left to Kane, who could only turn into a defender inside the area.  A better option would have been to release Alli with a run on goal to his right a bit earlier.  However, Christian nearly made up for it a moment later, with a rocket of a shot that Fabianski beat out.  Fernandez also had a go when Dier fed Son, he played it on to Alli and his shot appeared to hit an arm a la Sterling at Manchester City, but this time it moved to the ball.  Perhaps referees are too afraid to give those now.

After Ryan Mason had come on for Son, Eriksen got possession on the right hand corner of the Swansea penalty box.  He shaped a cross into the box, which was headed up into the air and after a weak clearance, Christian was onto it again, getting a bounce off a defender's shins that took him into the six yard box, but Williams slid in to knock the ball away for a corner.  When it came in, Fernandez was taking a ride on Dier's back to head the ball clear, but it dropped to Danny Rose on the edge of the box.  he took a touch that took him into the area and then hit a shot that went along the ground past a defender and through Fabianski to find the bottom left hand corner of the keeper's net.  The goal brought a passive roar and great celebrations from the players, as Swansea's men were prone on the floor, perhaps now left to rue the time they wasted, but not seeming to be that keen to get on with the game.

Tottenham needed Lloris to make that second save from Paloschi, but from the corner, Spurs broke with five on three.  They worked it better this time, with Eriksen playing it wide to Kane on the left again.  This time, he dinked a cross to the far post, where Walker ran in to volley home at close range, but the lineman's flag ruled out the strike and once more, when they break on teams, they fail to make the most of it. 

Ayew hit a weak low shot at Lloris, before subs Josh Onomah and Ryan Mason linked up for the  latter to curl the ball a foot wide.  At the other end, Alli gave away a cheap free-kick as Ayew went over and Sigurdsson stepped up to take it, but it came off the wall for a corner.  Spurs were working the ball well as they tried to manage the game to the end, Alli and Chadli tried to run down time near the corner, while Josh Onomah fired an effort way wide.   When the final whistle went, Spurs had moved three points clear of Arsenal in second place.

It was a victory for the way the game should be played.  The thirty four shots Spurs had kept the Swansea side pinned back, but it was the way they kept plugging away at breaking down a side who were set up to frustrate.  We saw last week that Palace went away with a win in the FA Cup, but Swansea could not withstand the constant onslaught from the Tottenham attack.  But without being too biased, Swansea were lucky to be a goal ahead, but didn't try to add to that too much, happy to try and keep Spurs out.  But it wasn't to be.  The faith the side have and the players who come in, either at kickoff or as a sub, play their part to the full. Chadli is proving a player who can change games and with goals not necessarily being the province of Harry Kane, teams have to be alert to threats from many different angles.

Another couple of days and another game ... this time at West Ham.  Another result like this would be nice, but the side will need to be on their mettle, as the Irons will be looking for a  result in their big derby game.  For Spurs the game is not important for that reason, but it is as important as any other game this season. 

Stanford Rivers




Swansea City are thought to be the oldest club in Swansea, but this is not true.  Their predecessors Swansea Town cannot lay claim to the title either, with Swansea Hamlet being the original side in the South Wales city to start kicking around a pig bladder in the days of Shakespeare.


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What you thought
Sid E. Netting Easy there Stanford.  I reckon that it wasn't Eriksen, but either Rose or Lloris who should have been crowned as MotM.

Danny was everywhere and popped up with the winner, while Hugo saved us twice - once at either end of the game to keep the points at the Lane.

Eriksen was good, but I felt his final ball was lacking a little today.

- -.



Other scores during this week :
Leicester City 1 Norwich City 0 Saturday
Southampton 1 Chelsea 2 Saturday
Stoke City 2 Aston Villa 1 Saturday
Watford 0 Bournemouth 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 3 Crystal Palace 2 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Sunderland 0 Saturday
Manchester United 3 Arsenal 2 Sunday
League Cup Final
Manchester City (won 3-1 on pens a.e.t.; score 1-1 at 120 mins) 1 Liverpool 1 Sunday





League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Leicester City 27 17 8 3 49 28 56 +21
2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 27 15 9 3 49 21 54 +28
3 Arsenal 27 15 6 6 43 26 51 +17
4 Manchester City 26 15 5 7 48 28 47 +20
5 Manchester United 27 12 8 6 36 26 44 +10
6 West Ham United 27 11 10 6 41 31 43 +10
7 Southampton 27 11 7 9 35 26 40 +9
8 Stoke City 27 11 6 10 29 33 39 -4
9 Liverpool 26 10 8 8 37 34 38 +3
10 Watford 27 10 7 10 29 28 37 +1
11 Chelsea 27 9 9 9 40 37 36 +3
12 Everton 26 8 11 7 46 35 35 +11
14 West Bromwich Albion 27 9 8 10 26 34 35 -8
13 Crystal Palace 27 9 5 13 29 35 32 -6
15 Bournemouth 27 7 8 12 30 44 29 -14
16 Swansea City 27 6 9 12 25 36 27 -11
18 Norwich City 27 6 6 15 30 51 24 -21
17 Newcastle United 26 6 6 14 27 49 24 -22
19 Sunderland 27 6 5 16 32 51 23 -19
20 Aston Villa 27 3 7 17 21 48 16 -27


Position before match :   2nd
Position after match :  2nd
Position after the weekend :  2nd


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


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