OPPONENTS Swansea City
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 14th December 2014
VENUE Liberty Stadium






Without a goal in three and a half matches, Tottenham go to Swansea City, who had made a good start to the season, although they have levelled off a bit of late.  While the team had scored in almost every game up until then, it is a worrying statistic, which goes to answer why Tottenham have not clicked yet as a team this season.

We saw on Thursday night that few chances were created, despite having over 60% of possession, with the movement of the ball from midfield to the forwards far too slow.  For all the talk about Dembele having a good game, only once did he release the ball to get Chadli away on the left wing.  He is not alone in this, but the forwards need to maker the runs to make space or at least receive the ball.  The way that Southampton played last season saw them shifting the ball from back to front rapidly and it is a reason for concern that this is not happening at Spurs.  Some of our success in recent seasons has been a high tempo game with good use of breaking away from an opposition attack.

An opening day win over Manchester United started a good run, but in recent matches, the Swans have fallen from their early form.  But their last two home wins have been over London sides - QPR and Arsenal, so Tottenham need to be aware of the threats they can pose.  The strength in their game for a few seasons has been their passing, which keeps players moving and pulling the other side out of position.  It will need a performance of grit and determination to counter this tactic.

With Fabianski out suspended, Gerhard Tremell will be in goal, with Michel Vorm having joined Spurs in the summer.  Tremell is a decent keeper, but has had little time between the sticks and as in every game, Spurs need to test the keeper with shots on target.  More often than not, our players do not get their efforts to make the goalkeeper work.

The home defence will feature Neil Taylor, who has filled in at left back, where he was a regular before Ben Davies took over.  The transfer to Spurs has allowed Taylor a place in the side again, but he has struggled to regain the form he showed as a regular in previous seasons.  This has seen Ashley Richards drafted in in that position.  Quick, but sometimes positionally naive, Richards may be a player that Spurs can attack and make some ground.  On the other side, Angel Rangel has been turning in good performances for a few years, but he may be at the stage of his career where he can be exploited, but it will need plenty of energy to work the ball around the full back.  The centre-half pairing of Ashley Williams and Kyle Bartley can be an area to make chances.  Williams can be a strong tackler, although sometimes rash, while Bartley has been on loan at Glasgow Rangers before joining Swansea, not being a regular and having a lack of understanding with his partner.  Full back Federico Fernandez is a tough tackler, but can be got round, while Dwight Tiendalli has had good games against us, but is another player who Tottenham could play on.  Full back Jordi Amat has only been used four times and has been on the bench recently.

As the Welsh side have been feted for their passing game, it is a little surprising that neither Leon Britton not Spurs loan midfielder Tom Carroll have featured a great deal this season.  There are workers in the Swansea midfield, in the shape of Korean Ki-Sung-Yeung and Jonjo Shelvey, who get around the opposition and can both get forward.  In Shelvey's case that is not always necessary after his long range goal against Aston Villa showed. 

A familiar face will start for the home team.  Gylfi Sigurdsson went to the Liberty Stadium, while Ben Davies and Michel Vorm came the other way, but the Icelander has found that the familiar surroundings (he had been on loan there from Reading) suit him and his role allows him to make the best use of his assets.  Running with the ball and making a yard to shoot or play someone in hurt the opposition and in Tottenham's shape, he didn't often get the opportunity to show that.  Not only is he good on the moving ball, but he strikes a good free-kick, so the Spurs players must be alert enough not to give away fouls around the box.

The pace of their two wingers has been used to good effect with Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge getting into positions to score or assist, although their summer World Cup signing has put their places under pressure.  Ecudorian Jefferson Montero is a rapid winger and will be a problem that Spurs will have to deal with to stop him providing ammunition for the front men.  The height and strength of both Wilfried Bony and Bafetimbi Gomis could trouble the back four and concentration should be the key word for our defenders to stop them getting close to goal.  There is only Marvin Emnes, the former Middlesbrough striker, as an option in the forward line.

It is getting to the time when Tottenham need to step up their game.  Putting coherent performances together which show that there is a pattern there and that there will be some sign of understanding will keep the fans onside if not entirely happy.  The most disappointing factor of the games they have lost recently is having so much of the game and not being able to break down the other team.  It is a failing that has been there for a while, but opponents know that if they can frustrate Spurs we have an error in our locker to give them the chance to win.  That was the way Palace played it, but they didn't have the players to take advantage of the chances that came their way.  Swansea might just have those players.

PREDICTION Swansea City    1         Tottenham Hotspur    0
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spurs will be without Emmanuel Adebayor (on compassionate leave) and Kyle Naughton's heel injury makes him a doubt, but Eric Dier is back in training after injuring his toe.  The players who were left out of the trip to Besiktas will be available for selection in this game.
Spurs loanee Tom Carroll will not be able to play in this match and Swansea have Lukasz Fabianski suspended after getting sent off last time out.  Federico Fernandez will have a late fitness test on his calf injury.

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Swansea City  1 (0)                                                                    Tottenham Hotspur  2 (1)
Premier League
Sunday 14th December 2014                                                                                            Kick off 16:00
Liberty Stadium
Bony  48m 02s
Kane  4m 34s
Eriksen 89m 26s
Ki Sung-Yeung (foul on Mason) 51  
Taylor (foul on Walker) 82
Bartley (foul on Vertonghen) 90+4


Walker (handball) 15
Vertonghen (foul on Routledge) 35
Mason (foul on Britton) 41
Stambouli (handball) 83


Crowd :   20,6509 Weather :  Wet, chilly
Referee :  Robert Madley (West Riding) Assistant Referees :  - Mr. D. Cann; Mr. M. Scholes
Fourth Official :  Anthony Taylor -
Spurs kicked off and played towards the South Stand end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 5 minutes
Swansea City : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
25  Gerhard TREMELL

22  Angel RANGEL  (29  Ashley RICHARDS 70)
  Kyle BARTLEY     
  6  Ashley WILLIAMS (c)
  3  Neil TAYLOR     

20  Jefferson MONTERO
  7  Leon BRITTON  (  8  Jonjo SHELVEY 55)
  4  KI Sung-Yueng     

10  Wilfried BONY    (18  Bafetimbi GOMIS 85)

Unused subs: 
13  Richard CORNELL
  2  Jordi AMAT
12  Nathan DYER
11  Marvin EMNES


    1  Hugo LLORIS (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER     
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN     
21  Federico FAZIO
33  Ben DAVIES

38  Ryan MASON       (25  Benjamin STAMBOULI 70     )
42  Nabil BENTALEB

11  Erik LAMELA  (22  Nacer CHADLI 83)
18  Harry KANE 
23  Christian ERIKSEN 

  9  Roberto SOLDADO  (19  Mousa DEMBELE 56)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

  3  Danny ROSE

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

How times have changed. Spurs travelled to South Wales after a trip to Turkey and the usual fatigue that affects Tottenham appeared to hit during the middle of the match, but that could not detract from a good start and a winning ending to the game that takes them back up to seventh in the table.  The first team returned to action, with a number of players who missed Thursday’s game were reinstated, showing more a experienced eleven and obviously the rest must have done them good.

Swansea were entering the game having lost to West Ham with ten men and they had picked up some good results at home, but Eriksen’s early free-kick tried to pick out Soldado at the near post, it had to be headed behind for a corner. From it, the Dane swung a ball to the far post and Kane rose above Rangel to power a low header past Tremell from the edge of the six yard box inside four minutes. It was the result of an energetic start that saw Tottenham closing down and pressing Swansea high up the pitch.

The home team showed what they could do, with some good first time passing that saw a surface ball played beyond Fazio and Bony was in on the edge of the box, but Lloris did well to dive right to save the striker’s low shot that sped off the wet turf. Spurs might have had a foul wide right on the edge of the box when Williams pushed down Kane and then had a wild kick at him when the ball was stuck under the prone Spurs man, but referee Madley played on. The home side were getting two banks of four back behind the ball when Spurs were in possession in an attempt to try and squeeze the space that Spurs had to play in, but our passing was good and movement better than it had been lately. A good passing move moved the Swansea players around until Kane tried a low shot from 25 yards out that went wide of Tremell’s goal to his right.

On 20 minutes, Monetero ran at the Spurs defence and slipped a pass past Vertonghen for Bony to close in on goal, but Ben Davies appeared from nowhere to take the ball with a well-timed tackle and the ball was cleared for a corner. A minute later, a 30 yard free-kick was played in by Sigurdsson, but was well defended, although the home side were not using their possession to the best effect. Routledge crossed a ball in and Fazio managed to get a touch, although Bony was lurking behind him and then the Argentine defender made contact with Sigurdsson after the ball came back in, but the ball had hit him and been cleared by then. Bony thought he had a good chance to score when Rangel played a low ball in and the forward got ahead of Walker, but the flag was raised before Lloris saved with his feet and then kicked it away.

A cross to nobody in particular by Kane was put out for a corner by Rangel and from the Spurs left wing Lamela swung the ball in and although it was cleared, it was a foot and studs up challenge that won it against Mason on the edge of the Swans box. Switching to the other end, Bony almost got in when Fazio got under Sigurdsson’s cross, but just got enough on it as the striker’s touch took it away from him. There was a scrappy period of play after Swansea kept the ball from a throw, after Mason had put it out for Eriksen to get treatment and neither side were holding on to it that well.

Lamela put Montero on the floor when he raised an arm trying to shield the ball, but Montero had been after Erik from the start, taking him late after the ball had gone in the opening moments. Then the home crowd got on the ref’s back as Vertonghen slid in on Wayne Routledge to win the ball, but the winger went down and the ref got out the yellow card after a protracted consideration of the matter.

When Spurs did eventually break, Soldado’s low ball in from the right saw two players going forward into the area, but Angel cleared. With five minutes to go to half-time, the ground was almost silent and Swansea got nervy when Spurs closed them down in their own area and Tremell was forced into a hurried clearance. From the throw in that was conceded Kane got into the box past two players and Montero was trying to get hands all over Harry’s back and he went down, but didn’t get a penalty or a booking.

Swansea worked a good move on their right wing and Angel pulled the ball back low to Bony, who was ten yards out, but his shot hit |Fazio and went off for a corner. In their next attack, Routledge got in behind Fazio to meet a high looping cross ball, but his volley squirted off his foot and went way, way wide. While Erik Lamela wasn’t getting too much joy on the ball, he was working hard off it and quite often was the first to close defenders down when they received the ball. Swansea’s players were starting to lose their composure with Taylor fronting up to Lamela after one coming together, but somehow, all the cards had gone Tottenham’s way.

The teams trudged off to the sound of the PA and little else, as the rain thrashed down. Swansea had been getting back into the game and the break probably came at the right time for Tottenham.

It didn’t stop Swansea equalising within three minutes of the half. Routledge got beyond Davies, Vertonghen didn’t go to the winger and the lifted ball into the box saw Bony hit a shot against Fazio and then guide the second effort into the corner of the net with Lloris helpless. There was a lack of cover on our left that saw Davies stranded and that has been a failing over a number of games now. It was a soft goal to let in.

A late tackle on Mason earned KISY a yellow card, but the free-kick came to nothing, with the ball eventually finding its way all the way back to Lloris. Sigurdsson almost got in when Fazio slipped when it looked as though the ball had got away from Gylfi, but the defender blocked the effort when it did fall for Siggi. Spurs looked to have lost a bit of their zip and Swansea were pushing forward, but with Dembele coming on for Soldado, it was an odd move that pushed Kane up front, but he had already put in a lot of work.

The referee was interpreting the laws in a unique way with Dembele having a handball given against him after Shelvey had shoved him in the back and couldn’t control his limbs. The Belgian played the ball on and Mason had a 25 yard shot at goal, which was deflected with the keeper committed to where it was going to go, with it luckily going past his post. Then Bentaleb stuck on Routledge to keep the ball in and Kane picked it up, bending a shot a few feet wide of Tremell’s far post.

Tottenham began to hit high hopeful balls forward, which is not the tactic to use when they need to keep the ball away from our back four. One came straight back and gave Sigurdsson a shooting opportunity from the edge of the box, but he put it three yards wide. When it was played on the floor, Kane had a cross put out for a corner. Rangel headed it out for a corner. From that one Tremell went to punch it and the ball went straight up in the air, but Bentaleb was held off by Gylfi and the keeper could come and claim it at the second time of asking.

Shelvey was played in by Sigurdsson, but as he looked to shoot, Vertonghen slid in to block him. From the corner, Montero had a low effort deflected past the post and Bony then blocked Shelvey’s volley. It was backs to the wall stuff and Spurs needed to get the ball down and keep possession. Spurs were not thinking clearly as a free-kick 40 yards from goal was taken quickly to Dembele, who had a man standing on him and possession was conceded.

Lamela, looking like Oswald Cobblepot out of ‘Gotham’ as the rain flattened his hair, was almost the villain of the piece, when he slid in and gave away a free-kick, but the referee gave a talking to him rather than anything else the Welsh crowd wanted. When Spurs won a corner shortly after, Kane was unlucky, diving in to head the ball across goal and just wide of the far post with the keeper stranded.

Taylor took Walker out when he dummied the ball to let it go past him and from it, Tremell made a better punch on it this time. When Swansea brought on Gomis for Bony, you knew it was going to be an aerial bombardment from now on.

However, when a Spurs move broke down, it was won back and Eriksen pulled a save out of Tremell, but he couldn’t hold it and Richards’ weak clearance went straight to Davies. His first time ball went to Eriksen, who took a touch and drilled a low shot past Tremell’s left hand through Bartley’s legs. It was a fine finish and outlined his growing importance to the team.

The pressing didn’t stop there. Shelvey had the ball taken off him by Kane, who took the ball past the former Liverpool man as he tried to slid in and his shot was pushed wide by the keeper in what could have been a third goal against the odds. He could have gone down to get a penalty, but having been denied one in the first half, he probably thought it would be better to have a shot.

A couple of balls lumped into our area were the closest Swansea came to threatening Spurs, but the team held strong and the three points were heading to Tottenham instead of the ball heading into our net.

It was another match we won with less possession than the other side, with the defence putting in a better performance after the Swansea goal, with Davies doing very well on his return to the Liberty. Fazio and Vertonghen stuck at it and Walker did well over 90 minutes just returning to the side.  Hardly anyone had a poor game, with Soldado and Lamela not that effective on the ball, but working hard off it. The midfield did well and both Dembele and Stambouli were effective when they came on.  Mason and Bentaleb had worked to close down the Swansea midfield men and used the ball pretty well, while Eriksen was the star.

It was another partial adoption of the Pochettino style, but there is still work to be done.  Too often the full backs are left isolated with two men facing them and this does leave us vulnerable at the back, as for Bony's goal.  But at least there is a respite from the travel involved in the Europa League for a couple of months, but the games will start to come thick and fast, with the League Cup this week and the FA Cup in January.  It is a time to get to work and for the players to get on board, while some will be disembarking in the transfer window.

With games against Burnley and Leicester City and then Manchester United and Chelsea, it is a strange mix of matches over the Christmas and New Year period, but they are games we have to give the opposition a game in.  There are points on offer and it is necessary to bring home them home to take us on from the seventh place we find ourselves in.

Sparky Marky



Swansea City were founded on the principles of Swansea Town, a club which was smashed under the jackboot of progress.

The team's nickname the Swans comes from the very first players at the club who were (in the words of the first annual report of the club) "embraced into a club to play association to prevent these ne'r do wells swanning around the area of the Vetch FIeld".


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




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 16 12 3 1 36 13 39 +23
2 Manchester City 16 11 3 2 33 14 36 +19
3 Manchester United 16 9 4 3 29 17 31 +12
4 West Ham United 16 8 4 4 26 19 28 +7
5 Southampton 16 8 2 6 25 13 26 +12
6 Arsenal 16 7 5 4 28 19 26 +9
7 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 16 7 3 6 20 22 24 -2
8 Newcastle United 16 6 5 5 18 22 23 -4
9 Swansea City 16 6 4 6 21 19 22 +2
10 Everton 16 5 6 5 27 24 21 +3
11 Liverpool 16 6 3 7 19 22 21 -3
12 Stoke City 16 5 4 7 18 22 19 -3
13 Aston Villa 16 5 4 7 10 20 19 -10
14 West Bromwich Albion 16 4 5 7 15 20 17 -5
15 Sunderland 16 2 10 4 14 24 16 -10
16 Crystal Palace 16 3 6 7 19 24 15 -5
17 Burnley 16 3 6 7 11 24 15 -13
18 QPR 16 4 2 10 17 30 14 -14
19 Hull City 16 2 7 7 15 24 13 -9
20 Leicester City 16 2 4 10 15 27 10 -12


Position before match :  10th
Position after match :  7th
Position after the weekend :  7th


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


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