Tottenham return to Wales for the second time this season for their Premier League game against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium. They will be hoping for a repeat of the results on their last two games in the Principality, when they recorded wins against Cardiff in September and over Swansea last March.
Team: Lloris, Walker, Chiriches, Dawson, Rose, Eriksen, Bentaleb, Dembele, Chadli, Lennon, Adebayor Subs: Friedel, Naughton, Holtby, Soldado, Capoue, Defoe, Sigurdsson.
Date: Sunday, 19th January, 2014
Kick-off Time: 1.30pm (UK time)
TV Channel: Sky Sports
It was the Gareth Bale/Jan Vertonghen show at the Liberty Stadium as Spurs came away with a 2 – 1 win. Brad Friedel was in goal in place of the injured Hugo Lloris but a quick opening by Spurs had them two ahead after 20 minutes. Vertonghen and Bale combined in the 7th minute to create and score the first goal. Vertonghen started the move when he took possession inside the Spurs half. He played the ball forward to Bale and kept on running. Bale lifted the ball over the defence and found the central defender on the edge of the area. Vertonghen took one touch to control the ball and then placed it past a helpless Vorm.
The build up to the second goal started with Lennon putting the goalkeeper under pressure at a clearance which he had lifted out to a defender. The defensive header was poor and Swansea had lost control of the situation in their own half allowing Vertonghen to step in and claim the ball. He took it forward and looked as if he was going to shoot from 40 yards but instead found Bale, on the edge of the area, who shot with his left foot for his 17th League goal of the season.
Swansea increased the pressure in the second half and Michu scored with a header from a corner with 20 minutes remaining forcing Spurs to battle to hold onto their lead.
At White Hart Lane
Swansea were Spurs first opponents at White Hart Lane in the second match of the season. The match revolved around two penalty decisions. Andros Townsend was clearly fouled inside the area in the first half but the officials decided on a free-kick on the edge of the box. In the second half he was again brought down as he forced his way into the area. The referee decided on a penalty although Michael Laudrup was of the opinion that it was a harsh decison. Roberto Soldado scored his second Premier League goal of the season from the penalty spot.
Swansea are currently 14th in the League on 21 points but are only three points away from the relegation zone. They lost at Old Trafford (0 -2) in the League last weekend which was their 7th league game without a victory. Their recent results have included three draws, at Aston Villa and Norwich with a home draw against Hull City, all games ending 1 – 1. Their defeats have been at home to Everton (2 – 1), at Chelsea (1 – 0) and at home to Manchester City (3 – 2) in their last match at the Liberty Stadium. Their last victory was in early December when they had a convincing 3 – 0 home win over Newcastle United.
Swansea have been hit by injuries and have had a difficult sequences of matches in recent weeks, just as they had in August when they faced, United, Spurs, Liverpool and Arsenal in their opening six games. Their involvement in the Europa League is also stretching their playing resources as like Spurs they have reached the knock-out stages.
Swansea’s season started with a 4 – 1 home defeatto Manchester United in David Moyes’ first game as manager. Having then lost at Tottenham they recorded their first win at WBA and held Liverpool to a 2 – 2 draw when Shelvy, the former Liverpool player, was involved in all four goals including putting his new team ahead after 87 seconds. They won at Palace but lost at home to Arsenal (1 – 2) and at Southampton (0 – 2) before finally achieving their first home win in the league, a 4 – 0 success over Sunderland in mid-October. They had a scoreless draw at home to West Ham and then a 3 – 3 draw with Stoke City before their second home win over Newcastle.
Swansea have taken only 10 points from their 10 home games, but have scored 18 while conceding 17. In the Europa League they had convincing wins in the early games and won 3 – 0 in Valencia in the first Group stage match.
Wilfried Bony is their leading goal scorer in all competitions with 10 goals, Nathan Dyer and Michu have 4 each.
Spurs are needing the three points to keep apace with the clubs above them. Arsenal and Manchester City won yesterday while Liverpool’s draw at home to Villa gives Spurs the chance to move level with them and ahead of Everton who play at West Brom tomorrow evening. Chelsea and Manchester United meet at Stamford Bridge later this afternoon.
Spurs have played a very open game under Tim Sherwood but even against a Swansea team who are struggling for form, they will need to avoid being so generous in their own penalty area. Swansea play a passing game and they will look to exploit any gaps in the Spurs defence and they showed against United in the Cup that they can take advantage of any uncertainty in their opponents back line.
Another must win game for Spurs at a time when they can’t afford any mistakes against teams below them in the league table as the teams in the top-4 are showing remarkable consistency in churning out the results week after week. Spurs have to avoid any slip ups and hope that they’ll be in a position to take advantage should any occur and when they meet the teams around them in the coming weeks.
Both teams have been badly hit by injuries over the past weeks although the situation at Tottenham appears to be improving with news that Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul have returned to training and should be available soon while Andros Townsend and Sandro are ready to return. There is a doubt over Kyle Walker who went off early in the second half last weekend.
Swansea have a lengthy injury list with Michu, Canas, Jonathan de Guzman and Monk missing but it is thought that goalkeeper Michel Vorm could return along with Roland Lamah and defender Dwight Tiendalli. Dyer and Hernandez could also be available.
This will be a game between two footballing teams and could be very open. Spurs will want to start much quicker than they did against Crystal Palace last weekend when they conceded the early advantage and were fortunate to still be in a position to make their superiority count in the second half.