Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale Score As Tottenham Win at Swansea


Tottenham scored two superb goals in the first twenty minutes against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium but were left holding on after the home side pulled a goal back twenty minutes from time. Tottenham move into third place two points ahead of Chelsea who lost at Southampton and maintain their 4 point lead over Arsenal. Both clubs have a match in hand.

 Swansea City 1  Tottenham Hotspur 2

Scorers: Michu        Vertonghen, Bale

Team: Friedel, Walker, Vertonghen, Dawson, Naughton, Dembele, Parker, Lennon, Sigurdsson (Holtby), Bale, Adebayor (Defoe)  Subs: (unused) Archer, Caulker, Assou-Ekotto, Huddlestone, Livermore

Jan Vertonghen Goal and ‘assist’ at Swansea [Photo: Jav The_Doc_66]

The announcement of the Tottenham team confirmed a rumour which has been circulating for the past twenty four hours, that Hugo Lloris would miss the game through injury. Brad Friedel was recalled for his first Premier League match since November and Jordan Archer who returned from a loan spell with Wycombe was on the bench. Kyle Naughton was at left back with Michael Dawson fit and able to partner Jan Vertonghen in central defence. Aaron Lennon had also recovered from injury to play on the right with Gylfi Sigurdsson retaining his place to play against his former team. Emanuel Adebayor started with Jermain Defoe among the substitutes.

Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale combined well in the first half to create and score two outstanding goals which put Spurs in control against a Swansea side who were constantly looking to have possession and play patient, passing football. Swansea had the early possession but in their first real attack after seven minutes, Vertonghen put Spurs ahead with a lovely goal. He 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 goal gave Spurs’ confidence a boost and three minutes later Sigurdsson tried to play Bale in but the pass was over hit and Vorm gathered, diving at Bale’s feet. An even better opportunity was spurned by Adebayor on 12 minutes. He played a one-two with Dembele who played the ball into space on the right. Adebayor had the pace to reach the ball ahead of the defender but his shot was weak and straight at the goalkeeper which Vorm held easily.

Swansea were looking to get behind the Tottenham defence but their moves came to nothing when they were caught off-side. Tottenham had much more possession now and were keeping Swansea back in defence, however, a quick break led to a corner which Michu headed wide. It was a warning for Spurs.

A minute on, Vertonghen and Bale combined again for Spurs’ second goal. It 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 and Bale shot with his left foot for his 17th League goal of the season.

Swansea picked up their game after the double setback but Spurs worked hard as the pressure built up. Dyer had a shot wide and then Friedel punched out a shot from Tiendalli who was causing Spurs most problems with crosses from the right. Bale worked a good position with close control on the edge of the area but shot wide.

Tottenham had a huge let-off after 30 minutes when Dyer rose to meet a cross from the right but only headed it onto the bar. The ball then rebounded against the Swansea player and out for a goal kick. Swansea maintained the pressure through to half-time but without troubling Friedel.

Both teams had an early chance to score after the interval. First Swansea, after 46 minutes, were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area which they took quickly. Friedel was alert to the danger and was out quickly to block Michu’s effort. Three minutes later, Lennon went on a run through midfield and played the ball to Sigurdsson on the left. Vorm pushed out Sigurdsson’s chipped curling shot from under his bar. It went to Bale who headed it back towards goal but the goalkeeper caught it as Adebayor closed in.

Swansea retained possession and pushed Tottenham deeper and looked dangerous whenever they played crosses into the area. Michu headed wide and Dyer shot over when others were well placed. On the hour Lennon had a run on the right which was cleared for a corner. Defoe replaced Adebayor who continues to have little influence the game. Swansea broke quickly from the corner but Parker cleared under pressure from Michu.

Tottenham were struggling to get forward which was inviting constant pressure on the defence. Walker got his head to a dangerous cross but from another situation the referee awarded Swansea a corner and this time Michu didn’t miss, heading in unopposed, the ball going in off the back post. The home side were invigorated and Spurs had to dig deep for the final twenty minutes.

Bale almost eased their difficulty when he gained possession deep in his own half. His run took him into the Swansea area but his shot clipped the outside of the near post. Lewis Holtby replaced Sigurdsson to bring more energy to the midfield with both teams totally committed. Challenges were flying in on both sides as the referee tried to keep the game flowing. Michu put an effort wide after another cross was flicked on in the area. Spurs were reduced to the occasional break from deep by Lennon or Bale but they held on and with five minutes remaining, Vorm saved well from Defoe when Dembele was blocked and the ball fell to the striker.

Everyone was getting worked up – players, coaching staff and spectators in those final minutes and Bale came to the rescue when he put in a vital challenge in the 90th minute to block an effort in the centre of the area. He also had a late chance to score a third in added time but shot straight at the goalkeeper after another powerful run.

It was an entertaining game with both teams committed and playing passing, possession football. Spurs had a perfect start and worked hard to take the points but made it difficult for themselves with poor defending from deep crosses into the area. A win was all that mattered to Tottenham as it brought to an end their three match losing run and sets them up for a busy fortnight with important matches in the League and Europa League.