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Swansea v Spurs, 19.01.14

(1.30 PM)

Swansea scorer:-
Bony, 78

Spurs scorers:-
Adebayor, 35, 71
Chico, 53 (own goal)

Attendance:- 20, 769

Referee:- Martin Atkinson
Assistants:- Mr. H. Lennard & Mr. M. McDonough
Fourth official:- Mr. G. Scott

Swansea (4-2-3-1):- Tremmel; Rangel, Chico, Williams (Capt.), Davies; Amat, Britton; Pozuelo, Shelvey (sub Lamah, 51), Routledge; Bony

Subs not used:- Cornell; Taylor, Tiendalli; Richards; Alavaro, Donnelly

Booked:- Amat (foul on Chiriches), Bony (foul on Chiriches)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt), Chiriches, Rose; Dembele, Bentaleb; Lennon (sub Naughton, 79), Eriksen, Chadli (sub Sigurdsson, 67); Adebayor

Subs not used:- Friedel; Capoue; Holtby; Soldado, Defoe

Booked:- Rose (Time wasting)

Swans plucked

Spurs won their fifth consecutive away game in the Premier League (a record for our club in the EPL), three of which have been under the leadership of “rookie” coach Tim Sherwood. Sherwood maintained his unbeaten run in 6 league matches, 5 of which have been won. In three of those games, Spurs have scored three goals – a feat not managed by Sherwood’s predecessor this season in league football. The player re-instated by Sherwood, Emmanuel Adebayor, scored another two goals to bring his league tally to 5 goals in just 6 starts. That takes Adebayor to the same number of league goals as Roberto Soldado, who has had three times as many league starts. The two strikers are now our equal top league goal-scorers this season.

In addition, Sherwood demonstrated that he can play formations other than 4-4-2, and had been mooted in various circles (including Spurs Odyssey), the Spurs coach matched Swansea’s 4-2-3-1 formation. Spurs did not match Swansea’s style though in the opening quarter of the game, as the Lilywhites’ midfield players did not get close enough to each other, nor to their opponents, who continually found the feet of their colleagues, attacking the Spurs goal with vigour. Eventually, Spurs found not only a foothold in the game, but took a first half lead against the run of play, but then dominated Swansea, especially when Sherwood got them to tighten up in the middle, and close down more effectively.

Ultimately, the “Swans” were well and truly plucked, and regrettably they find themselves without a league win in 9 games, and teetering dangerously near the bottom three, with just 21 points, three above the drop zone.

Sherwood had a very strong bench, with both Soldado and Defoe waiting in the wings, but ultimately un-used, as Spurs stuck to their 4-2-3-1, and making just two changes during the game. Bentaleb was once again entrusted to partner Dembele, and he performed quietly and efficiently, coming more and more to the fore in the second half. Dembele was also required to resist the temptation to get forward too often, but he did just that, and should have had a second half goal, just before Adebayor made it 3-0 to Spurs.

Chadli’s post was on the left of midfield, with Eriksen in the middle, and Lennon on the right. There was some variation on this routine during the game, with Lennon coming inside often in the first half, giving Kyle Walker priority down the right flank. In the second half, as the substitutions were made, there were also switches to the midfield trio.

For Swansea, Jonjo Shelvey was key, and when he succumbed to injury only five minutes into the second half, the “Swans” lost a good deal of their impact. That is not to detract from the efforts of Alejandro Pozuelo who was an attacking threat for Swansea.

Hugo Lloris was having to race out to the edge of his area to prevent Wilfried Bony from reaching a long ball. Bony was a threat all game, and was rewarded with a consolation goal in the 78th minute. After 4 minutes, and a Swansea corner taken by Pozuelo, Routledge came short for the ball, and fed it back to Shelvey, who sliced his shot well wide of the goal. A minute later and after some doubtful defending by Kyle Walker, Shelvey collected a deflected ball from Chiriches, but again fired wide.

At last Spurs saw some meaningful ball in the Swansea half, when Adebayor tried to put in Aaron Lennon, who was unable to get power on a shot, with the ball running to keeper Tremmel. Shelvey was a little fortunate to come out with the ball, after another Chiriches challenge, but Hugo Lloris parried the powerfully hit shot with both hands, and then collected.

Spurs were very much relying upon counter attacking breaks at this stage, and Eriksen made a good ground-swallowing run down the right, hitting a cross just too close to the keeper. Bony and Pozuelo combined just outside the Spurs area, where they were out-numbered by the Spurs sky blue shirts, but Bony still hit a shot, which passed wide. Then Shelvey teed Bony up for a shot which beat Lloris, but rebounded off the bar. A Pozuelo shot was blocked following a Swansea corner.

Eriksen, Adebayor and Walker countered for Spurs, with the keeper again equal to the Spurs cross from the right. Dawson was beaten by Bony, who hit another powerful shot. Lloris got a hand to it, and was then able to retrieve the ball as it ran towards the goal-line.

Any observer would have expected Swansea to hit the net first, but that’s not how it panned out. Lennon received a good ball down the right, and passed inside to Eriksen, who delivered an inch-perfect cross to the back post, where Adebayor gleefully headed home. Within a minute, Spurs were on the attack again. Adebayor started on the left, and the ball was fed via Eriksen and Danny Rose (in a central position) to Kyle Walker who fired over. In another move, Adebayor had a powerful shot saved at the expense of a corner, after which Danny Rose had a chance from the middle, but badly skewed his effort. In first half added time, and after some nice football from Spurs, Lennon fed Eriksen, who made progress across the area with a good piece of trickery, hitting a shot which Tremmel was able to pick up.

Spurs started the second half with Eriksen on the right; Chadli in the middle and Lennon on the left. The injured Shelvey was replaced by Lamah, who took over a defensive midfield role with Amat moving forward. Spurs continued to play with the skill and confidence they had shown towards the end of the first half, and after some good possession play, Adebayor passed to Eriksen who found Walker advancing to the bye-line. Walker effectively played a cannon-like ball low and hard into the centre of the 6 yard box, which beat Tremmel, and when Chico Flores met it, he could not but help the ball into the net.

Bony had a snap shot at the other end, well saved by Lloris, before Adebayor went on a great run down the middle and tried to tee up Aaron Lennon, who was slow to shoot, and allowed Swansea to clear. Chadli was replaced by Sigurdsson who took on the central role, with Lennon returning to the right, and Eriksen to the left. Dembele really should have made it 3-0 as he received a Lennon pass over the top, racing to the area, where he was one-on-one with Tremmel. Dembele virtually had the goal at his mercy but ended up pushing his shot wide of the far post. Not to worry, because within a minute it WAS 3-0, after a good move with Eriksen sending Danny Rose away. Rose crossed, and Adebayor played a trick or two before picking his spot low beyond Tremmel.

Inevitably, Spurs eased up somewhat, and Swansea did get a goal back through Bony, when he volleyed home a ball by Ben Davies. The tiring Lennon was replaced by Naughton who took over at right back, with Walker taking on attacking duties down the right wing. Walker beat Davies in the position, delivering to Gylfi Sigurdsson, whose shot went straight to the keeper. Adebayor nearly made it to a long ball, but Tremmel just got the better of him. Spurs negotiated the 5 minutes added time comfortably, and climbed to fifth in the table overnight, level on points with Liverpool. We needed to win by another 23 goals to overtake Liverpool!

As I write, and after receiving over 100 votes in the post match survey already, Adebayor is heading for his fourth man of the match vote in his 8 matches under Tim Sherwood’s leadership. Adebayor’s impact is perhaps the greatest judgement upon Andre Villas-Boas’s management this season.

P.S:- There was a nice tribute by Spurs fans for Spurs fan Roger Lloyd Pack (aka Trigger of Only Fools and Horses fame) towards the end of the game, with several chants such as "Sing up for Trigger, he's one of our own", and "One broom, he only had one broom!" The result was a nice tribute for him too.

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