|DATE||Sunday 16th December 2012|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
With both teams losing last week, they suffered a bit of a setback
on their march up the table. The Welsh club had done very well
in games against Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and West Bromwich
Albion, before losing 3-4 at home to Norwich City last Saturday.
The passing game that the Swans are noted for has been retained under new manager Michael Laudrup and while Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair may have moved on, there are still enough players in the side with the technical ability to hold onto the ball. And having brought in Michu in the summer, his goals are proving that the team are not going to drop off, making him one of the buys of the season.
There are a couple of ex-Spurs in the Swansea squad, with Mark Gower becoming more peripheral, but Wayne Routledge is finding a new lease of life in the team, with goals as well as good performances coming his way. On the other flank Nathan Dyer has been winning good reports, with his direct running style, making this a game that it is a shame Bale will miss, with so many wide men on display.
With Michel Vorm's early season groin injury, Gerhard Tremmell has donned the gloves with varying degrees of success, with his defence being a major part of the Swans' rise up the table. The keeper is shaky and does nothing for his back fours' nerves, so Spurs need to make sure that they hit the target and make the deputy keeper work.
The return of the captain Ashley Williams will give the defence more confidence. A strong aerial presence, he also is solid in the tackle and powerful going out with the ball. Missing Steven Caulker from last season's line-up, Garry Monk has made a bit of a comeback, but has been knocked back down to the bench as the favoured other three are Angel Rangel, Chico and Ben Davies. Davies was a former rugby player and his physique shows that. A rugged central defender, he might give Defoe or Adebayor a hard time. Chico plays with a little style and a little brutality. Never sure which he will come out with. Angel Rangel was flavour of the month for the early part of last season, but now, he is picking up a little criticism and he does sometimes get caught too far upfield, leaving his defensive chores behind him.
The midfield area is one that had been hit by departures, but Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer (both mentioned above), Ki Sung-Yeung and Jonathan De Guzman are showing that they can create goals as well as take them. Ki tends to be the holding midfielder, but they have the ability to rotate, leaving the opposition midfielders wondering where they will pop up next. This fluidity allows them to get into dangerous positions and arrive in the box at the right time. Tracking back with them will be vital to stopping their free-scoring ways.
The forwards of Danny Graham and Michu are two of a kind, leaving one of them to start on the bench for the reason of similarity. Leroy Lita is in reserve, but he is coming to the veteran stage of his career now. The main two strikers have a good awareness of where people are around them, with an eye for goal too. All these forwards tend to get shots on target, so it will be an interesting match up between the two sides.
With a 1:30 p.m kick off, it is not ideal for football, but I hope this game will be an intriguing one to watch. Last season, Spurs got the early goal and went on to win 3-1 with the Swansea goal coming from Gylfi Sigurdsson. Let's hope his shooting boots are on the other foot on Saturday.
With both sides looking to kick on again after being beaten, I think Tottenham will have the slight advantage at the end of the match.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 1 Swansea City 0|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs could welcome back Scott Parker and Michael Dawson after spells out with Achilles and knee problems. Younes Kaboul's knee injury keeps him out until after Christmas and Gareth Bale's hamstring pull keeps him out, with Benoit Assou-Ekotto also missing with a knee injury.
SWANSEA CITY TEAM NEWS :
Goalkeeper Michael Vorm is missing with a groin injury, Leon Britton's knee injury rules him out of the game on Sunday and Pablo Hernandez is sidelined with a hamstring problem. Neil Taylor's broken ankle will keep him out for the rest of the season.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
1 (0) Swansea City 0 (0)
Sunday 16th December 2012 Kick off 13:30
White Hart Lane
Dembele (foul on Sung-Yueng) 53
Defoe (foul on Britton) 90+5
Livermore (entering field of play) 90+7
Dyer (foul on Naughton) 15
De Guzman (foul on Dembele) 56
Flores (foul on Townsend) 81
|Crowd : 35,783||Weather : Mild, dry|
|Referee : Mike Dean (Wirrall)||Assistant Referees : Mr. J. Collin - Red flag; Mr. S. Long - Yellow flag|
|Fourth Official : Martin Atkinson||-|
|Swansea City kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Swansea City :||kit|
Emmanuel ADEBAYOR (31
Andros TOWNSEND 72)
Danny GRAHAM 86)
|Manager : Andre Villas-Boas||Manager : Michael Laudrup|
|Sponsor : Aurasma||Shirt sponsor : 32 Red|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : adidas|
For all the hype about Swansea City's passing game, their performance left them without a point from their visit to White Hart Lane, as Jan Vertonghen's opportunist goal in the 75th minute won the match for Spurs.
While the Welsh side enjoyed a great deal of possession in spells, Spurs had 61% by the end and the number of shots from that possession were only kept out by some resolute and bizarre defending at times by Swansea. Perhaps one of the most notable things about City's play was the frequency they gave possession away. Not that Spurs were a lot better, but when Swansea did so, they quickly got eleven men back behind the ball in a defensive version of Barcelona's technique. In Tottenham's case, they were rarely threatened by Swansea, who had three defensive midfielders in the middle of their team, but the visiting side did have chances.
The first came in the first few minutes, with a low cross coming in from the right which was missed by Michu and then De Guzman's corner was missed at the near post and flew straight through to Flores at the far post, but the defender showed why he plays in the back four with a snatched shot that went way over the top. Spurs soon found that there would be little space to develop moves in, with Swansea's packed midfield and defence meaning there was little room down a congested middle and when the ball went wide, they doubled up on Lennon and Dempsey, leading to the two wide men switching places to see if there was any joy to be had on the opposite flanks.
After about ten minutes, Spurs had two good chances, with Defoe having them both. He firstly cut inside and hit a shot straight at Tremmel, while the second came about when Michu lost the ball to Dembele, who back-heeled it to Defoe, but the striker's touch allowed the Swansea forward to get back and throw a leg out to block his shot. A couple of minutes later, Tottenham worked a good bit of space down the right to play Kyle Walker in and his low ball back was met by Emmanuel Adebayor, who managed to get some contact on it to knock it goal-wards, but Flores was there to stick out a leg and stop the ball winding up in the net.
While Spurs were having trouble moving the ball at the speed they wanted, because of the number of bodies in front of them, they were racking up the shots on goal. A foul on Naughton left Kyle Walker with a 25 yard free kick to hammer at goal, which Adebayor ducked in the wall to void, but Leon Britton didn't have that luxury and the ball struck him full on the top of the head as he looked to stop it. Lennon put in a cross from the right wing that was just too high for Clint Dempsey to get a powerful header on the ball and it went gently into Tremmel's arms and the American was denied again just before the half hour, when Williams got in the way of his shot on goal.
On the half hour, Wayne Routledge could have come back to haunt Tottenham, with Dwayne Tredalli's cross just a little too far ahead of the former Spurs winger, with it being lucky it wasn't Michu bearing down on the cross. In the 39th minute, a ball into the box was cleared to five yards outside the area, where Kyle Walker raced into beat a defender to the ball. The Spurs full back got there first and hit a shot so fierce that keeper Tremmel could only throw up an arm and allow the ball to hit his shoulder, luckily seeing the ball bounce away off him.
Swansea's more traditional style came into play a minute later, when a ball down the right released De Guzman and he lashed a shot on goal that was rising, but went over the angle of post and bar, with Lloris diving across to cover just in case it had been on target. When Tottenham indulged in their habit of loose passing in their own half, Sandro played a ball that Dembele left and Gallas wasn't going to get, which left the ball there for Michu. The striker who is in a rich vein of form took the effort first time from 40 yards out and with Lloris back-pedalling, the ball arced towards goal, but landed a foot or so too far over the crossbar. Lloris looked to have got back anyway, but it was a worrying moment and the closest Swansea came to a goal.
The half-time appearance of Graham Roberts was a welcome sight. I can't remember the former defender/midfielder being at the ground in an official capacity for many a long year and his memories of the 1984 UEFA Cup final win over Anderlecht were stirring.
It was the Swans who came out the blocks quicker in the second half and Routledge got away from Gallas on their left and crossed at head height across goal, with Nathan Dyer getting to the near post to get his head to it, but then failed to get enough contact on it to take the ball at goal and it drifted harmlessly across the face of the goal and was cleared.
On the next break, Spurs saw Adebayor take the ball forward, with Defoe to his left, but the Togo striker went alone and struck a low shot that looked harmless enough, but Tremmel had to dive to his right to palm the ball wide, when it didn't particularly look like it was going in. Then in the 55th minute, it looked like Tremmel had Dembele's shot covered, but it hit Adebayor and flew a yard wide with the goalkeeper going the other way.
A fine tackle by Sandro, when Routledge had got through two challenges, took the ball forward to the halfway line and Spurs broke with Defoe putting Walker in on the right, but the shot that resulted was got all wrong by the England defender and it went way wide, with players waiting for a ball back across goal. The next attack came after Dempsey and Adebayor had left the field and been replaced by Sigurdsson and Townsend. and it was the youngster who got down the right and was brought down by Routledge 20 yards out. Kyle Walker took it and put the bal into the box, where Ben Davies won the header as the first man. Tottenham got their one bit of luck and the ball carried beyond the red shirts in the goalmouth and Jan Vertonghen hit the ball with his right foot as he fell and put it past Tremmel's left hand to put it into the bottom corner of the net.
It was not the way that you thought the goal might come but it was welcome and not undeserved, as Swansea had offered little. Jan had another chance to score a few minutes later with a header from Sigurdsson's corner, but put it wide, then he had a free kick blocked by Britton.
When Swansea looked like they might got in on goal, an interception by Naughton stopped Dyer putting Routledge through on Lloris. but Tottenham could have wrapped it up when Sigurdsson slid a pass inside a defender for Defoe to go one-on-one with Tremmel and the keeper did well to throw an arm up to save it.
Into injury time, a long lumped ball into the Spurs box saw Hugo come for it and punch clear very convincingly, but he also caught Michu in the process and laid him out. The ball was cleared up to Townsend, who ran in on goal and was only denied by the keeper, but Flores took exception and went after Townsend. With Kyle Naughton and then Kyle Walker went to defend their man, Flores threw arms up in their faces. As he had already been booked, Mike Dean bottled it and did nothing to censor the Spaniard. but Jake Livermore got booked for coming onto the field from the subs bench to get involved. The referee had already cocked up by not stopping the game for a head injury and that caused come of the frustration among the players.
At the final whistle, there were cheers as Tottenham went fourth, but they will rarely have a quieter match to deal with, Swansea not having a shot on target the whole game. Spurs will be happy with the clean sheet and the win, with Stoke coming to the Lane next week and a hectic Christmas programme ahead.
Tougher games to come, but then tougher performances will need to be put in.
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|What you thought|
|The Funky Phantom||
Since when have the BBC been the appointed judge and jury on
al things football related ?
To say that I am livid at Match of the Day 2's one-sided portrayal of Jake Livermore as some sort of pitch-invading hot-head throws their reputation of even-handed reporting out of the window. Without showing any part of the reason he was on the pitch and not censuring Flores for grabbing Townsend by the scruff of the neck before throwing his hands up at both Kyles, was nothing less than outrageous. It seems that they were more focused on making sure they gave equal air time ot the nominees for the Sports Personality of the Year award.
Having already had two inquests on the Fellaini/Shawcross incidents, they obviously had the taste of blood and went for Jake, when a more deserved candidate for punishment would have been the Spanish Swansea defender.
A good win, a clean sheet and a confident punch from Lloris, showing he is not worried about the physical stuff, all add up to a good afternoon's work. With Stoke next up, we can expect more of packed defences and trying to hit Spurs on the break, but maybe we will be more prepared for such tactics now and hopefully, AVB will have ideas about how to break it down.
|Other scores during this week :|
|Newcastle United||1||Manchester City||3||Saturday|
|Norwich City||2||Wigan Athletic||1||Saturday|
|Queens Park Rangers||2||Fulham||1||Saturday|
|West Bromwich Albion||0||West Ham United||0||Sunday|
|7||West Bromwich Albion||17||8||3||6||24||21||27||+3|
|11||West Ham United||17||6||5||6||21||20||23||+1|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||17||1||7||9||15||30||10||-15|
Position before match : 5th
Position after match : 4th
Position after the weekend : 4th
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