BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 4TH OCTOBER, 2015
SWANSEA CITY 2 (2) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1)
Kane (o.g.), 31
Referee:- Mike Dean
Assistants:- D Bryan & D Cann
Fourth official:- I Williamson
Swansea (4-2-3-1):- Fabianski; Rangel, Fernandez, Williams (Capt.), Taylor; Ki Sung Yeung, Shelvey (sub Cork, 86); Ayew, Sigurdsson (sub Barrow, 75), Montero; Gomis
Subs not used:- Nordfelt; Bartley; Routledge, Tabanou; Eder
Booked:- Fernandez (foul on Alli)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Alli; Lamela (sub Townsend, 57), Eriksen, Chadli (sub N’Jie, 64); Kane (sub Dembele, 81)
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Wimmer; Carroll
Booked:- Davies (foul on Ayew), Dier (foul on Ayew), Vertonghen (simulation), Walker (foul on Montero)
Danish back on target for Spurs
Spurs’ Danish International playmaker Christian Eriksen was back on target for his club for the first time in six months with two excellent free kick goals to equalise twice after Andre Ayew and Harry Kane (own goal) had twice given the home side the lead. Whilst Spurs remain unbeaten in their last seven league games, and in 9 Premier League games against “The Swans”, they did today fail to extend their run of seven consecutive wins over a fellow Premier League side. Eight such wins would have been a record for Spurs, who have also previously beaten Manchester City in seven consecutive Premier League games.
Three points, and not a record number of wins was the target, but the draw was a fair result in what was an entertaining end to end game. In the last half-hour, both teams were going all out for the win, and either side might have grabbed the decisive goal. Both had to be satisfied with a solitary point.
Mauricio Pochettino started with the expected line-up, with Kyle Walker and Ben Davies replacing Kieran Trippier and the injured Danny Rose. Son is also injured, so Nacer Chadli started, playing to the left of midfield, with Lamela on the right. Former Spur Kyle Naughton was apparently withdrawn from the team at a late stage for “personal reasons”. Gylfi Sigurdsson started behind Gomis, but was often playing an advanced role, making Swansea’s formation almost a 4-4-2 at times.
Erik Lamela was fouled early on the left side, but Eriksen’s free kick came to nought on this occasion. Lamela fed the ball to the advancing Walker who got well forward and won a corner, taken by Lamela, and headed over from in front of the near post by Toby Alderweireld. Chadli also had a chance from the right of goal, but Fabianski comfortably held the shot. Spurs had been on top and had all the proper chances, but they fell behind as Sigurdsson fed the ball out to the dangerous Montero, too often afforded loads of space on Walker’s side. Montero crossed and Ayew rose to head home to Lloris’s left.
Chadli tried to get Spurs back on terms with a cross/shot from the left, which Fabianski could only parry, but his defence cleared. Kyle Walker was subject to “words” from referee Mike Dean after a foul on Montero. Fernandez was shown yellow for a foul on Alli outside the area on the left-hand side. Eriksen stepped up and hit a glorious free kick across the goalkeeper inside the far post. Soon after that, Eriksen had another chance, hitting another shot just outside Fabianski’s right post.
Swansea won a corner taken by Shelvey, and Harry Kane was in front of the near post. He attempted to clear the corner, but instead screwed the ball into his own net past the helpless Lloris. Kane scored an own goal at Sunderland in September last year, and that game also finished 2-2. He has now so far scored as many for the opposition as for his own side this season. Why an attacker should be placed in this position, I do not know, and I also do not know why Spurs (other teams are the same) get everyone back for corners, rather than leave one or two players in the middle to give the opposition more to think about.
Spurs tried to break back with Dele Alli passing to Lamela, who fed the ball onto Kane. Kane’s shot was easily held by the keeper. Walker did well to win the ball and pass it to Lamela, who was fouled . Eriksen’s free kick was saved by Fabianski diving to his left. After 40 minutes, Lamela was in a central position and passed to Eriksen on the right. His shot was put out for a corner, taken by Eriksen and held by Fabianski.
After the break, Kane got on the end of Davies cross, but had his shot blocked. Montero crossed at the other end and Gomis headed over. Walker had been left on his own to deal with Montero, with Dele Alli slow to assist. Swansea fans were unhappy with a quickly taken fee kick after Lamela had been fouled. Davies again crossed from the left, but Kane was called offside. Spurs made an important block of Ki Sung Yeung’s shot conceding a corner, from which Gomis headed wide of the left post.
Lamela was replaced quite early (57 minutes) by Andros Townsend, who tried his heart out, with little return. Gomis had another shot on goal which passed wide, before Eriksen and Townsend combined well on the right. Townsend fed the ball to Walker, who hit a pass for Chadli to chase, but Fabianski was first to the ball. Chadli was shortly replaced by N’Jie. Spurs equalised with 25 minutes to go following another foul on Alli in a similar position to that which led to Eriksen’s first goal. Shelvey didn’t like the decision, but he was as helpless as Fabianski and the rest of the Swansea team as Eriksen repeated his first half trick. Once again firing across the keeper inside his left post.
I felt that Spurs looked the more likely team to win the game now, and they kept coming at the Swansea goal in waves. Davies, Eriksen and Townsend combined in a move down the left side, but Townsend’s cross was held by Fabianski. Kane could now be seen to be playing behind N’Jie. Townsend had another chance, with Eriksen again the provider, but the goalkeeper saved easily. Townsend intercepted a ball in midfield and led a Spurs attack, involving N’Jie, Kane and Eriksen finally winning a corner. After a throw on the left Dele Alli had a right foot shot on goal, parried by the keeper.
Dier got a booking for a foul on Ayew, and as this was his fifth booking already, he will have to sit out the Liverpool game in two weeks’ time. Townsend had a great chance to score, with most of the goal beckoning. Fabianski dived to his left and managed to save with his trailing leg – fortunately, in my opinion. Another chance fell to Townsend who ran at goal from the right side, but hit a weak shot. Vertonghen was booked for simulation, seeking a free kick in the final third. Walker finally also saw yellow for a tug on Montero.
With a minute of normal time remaining, Eriksen had a chance for his hat-trick, picking up a cross from Davies, before moving inside hitting a right footed shot which passed wide. In added time, Swansea might have snatched a win after Ki’s free kick and Fernandez’s header, brilliantly saved by Hugo diving to his left and stretching up his left hand to push the ball onto the bar and over.
Spurs go into the International break in eighth place and remain two points ahead of Swansea. When Liverpool come to town on October 17th, it will be with either a new or caretaker manager, as Brendan Rodgers was today sacked. Another Premier League manager – Sunderland Dick Advocaat – also left, but that was a resignation.
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