BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 25TH AUGUST, 2013
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0) SWANSEA CITY 0 (0)
Soldado (pen), 58
Referee:- Mr. N. Swarbrick
Assistants:- Mr. L Betts & Mr. A Holmes
Fourth Official:- Mr. G Scott
Spurs (4-1-4-1):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Vertonghen, Rose;
Capoue; Townsend (sub Sandro, 87), Paulinho, Dembele (sub
Sigurdsson, 64), Chadli; Soldado ( sub Defoe, 80)
Subs not used:- Friedel; Kaboul, Naughton; Carroll
Booked:- Soldado (foul on Pozuelo)
Swansea (4-1-4-1):-Vorm; Rangel, Chico Flores, Williams (Capt.), Davies; Canas; de Guzman, Hernandez, Shelvey (sub Bony, 69), Routledge (sub Pozuelo, 59); Michu
Subs not used:- Tremmel; Amat, Britton, Lamah, Richards
Booked:- Davies (foul on Townsend), Vorm (Dissent), Michu (foul on Dembele), Williams (foul on Soldado)
Iíll take a penalty win every week, if you like!
Once again it was tight against Swansea. Once again it was tight for Spurs in the second Premier League game of the season. Once again, it was a Soldado penalty that sealed the points, and once again it could have been more. Iíll take a 1-0 penalty win every week, if you like though, especially next Sunday at The Emirates!
Whilst the Bale move to Real Madrid moves ever closer to finalisation, our new Spurs move on, and look like playing a major part in this yearís league campaign. All four of the new boys started today, with Andre Villas-Boas once again shaking up the shape of the midfield. This time, I felt that we matched Swanseaís 4-1-4-1 formation, with Capoue playing just in front of the defence, and both Dembele and Paulinho playing in front of him in a 4 man midfield, flanked by Andros Townsend and Nacer Chadli.
Townsend had kept his place from Thursday nightís Europa League exploits, and had a lot to do with the final result, especially since he won the penalty, which was more than justified, and could have had another at the end of the first half. Overall, Townsend didnít have the impact he had against the weak Dinamo Tbilisi team, and he isnít as fast as Lennon, but his delivery is generally more accurate and more powerful. It was an excellent Premier League first start for him.
Paulinho is simply a lovely total footballer, and we are blessed to have him. Capoue is a monster of a player and has already claimed the full attention of Spurs fans.
Swansea left their record signing Wilfried Bony on the bench, but when he and their other substitute Alejandro Pozuelo were introduced in favour of Routledge and Shelvey, Swansea took on a more adventurous and threatening style. By then of course they had gone a goal down, and were desperately seeking their first point of the new season. Swansea fans wonít be pleased that Cardiff stole the thunder this week-end with a surprise win over Man City.
Spursí first chance came after 7 minutes, when Capoue won the ball behind Paulinho; fed the Brazilian, who side-stepped and hit a low shot to the left of Vorm, who saved. Routledge and Michu threatened the Spurs goal, but the offside flag was raised. Capoue took a run forward and tried a shot, which again was held by Vorm, moving to his left.
After Townsend picked up a poor Swansea clearance and advanced on goal he was fouled just outside the box. Chadli took the kick, but hit it over the bar. After 20 minutes, an arrowed cross by Walker caused consternation in the Swansea defence. Williams hit the ball onto the post. The ball rebounded and then Paulinho had a great shot, which brought a similarly great reflex save by Vorm.
Shelvey was getting forward a lot in support of Michu, and won a corner after 25 minutes, but Spurs defended with ease. At the other end, after Vorm had been booked regarding dissent about a foul on Soldado, Paulinho took another pop at goal, which passed wide. Michael Dawson sent a piercing pass down the right channel, collected by Townsend, and cut back to Dembele, whose shot was pushed out by Vorm for a corner. Townsend and Walker combined down the right, and it was Walker who got the cross/shot into the goal area. The ball was half cleared and returned to the fray by Chadli, when Paulinho hit a shot into the ground that bounced over the bar.
De Guzman crossed from the right and after a corner, Michu fired wide. Michuís next piece of action was to get booked for unfairly stopping a break by Soldado. Just before the break, Spurs had some good approach play with Townsend to the fore, and ultimately, he was brought down on the edge of the area. From my position, it did look just outside the box, but I am told this should have been a penalty.
Townsend, Paulinho and Walker were involved in a good move down the right early in the second half, with Walker feeding the ball into Dembele, whose shot went for a corner, taken by Townsend instead of Chadli. Townsend himself had a good left foot effort, after Dembele and Paulinho had done the donkey work with the ball.
Capoue did miss a defensive header in the middle, and this gave Swansea an opening, with Hernandez putting the ball through to Michu, Michael Dawson rescued the situation with a great sliding tackle.
Spurs responded well, deservedly winning a penalty when Jonjo Shelvey stopped Townsend in his tracks just inside the right side of the box. Shelvey had been the offender in the first half, and clearly hadnít learnt his lesson, or improved his timing! Up stepped Soldado, and I am assuming that Swansea and Vorm had studied his previous two penalties this season (one was in a pre-season friendly against Espanyol). Vorm was all shaped up for a dive to his right, but Soldado switched his penalty and plonked the ball firmly to Vormís left with the keeper going the wrong way. Soldado is a cool customer from the spot!
Swansea made their changes, became more attacking, and now Spurs reverted to their conventional 4-2-3-1 with Paulinho dropping back more. Sigurdsson replaced Dembele. A shot by De Guzman passed wide, after a move which resulted from a failed Dawson pass. Bony became the more advanced striker, whilst Michu dropped back. Swansea won a free kick for a foul on Bony by Paulinho, and took it quickly. This led to a powerful volley by Chico Flores, and a stupendous save from Hugo Lloris.
Townsend and Soldado eased some pressure, with Andros sending Soldado clear. Roberto took the ball all the way to the corner flag, and held it up against the challenge of three defenders, winning great cheers from the home crowd. De Guzman gave Kyle Walker the clip, and with Dawson closing, he did get in a shot which tested Lloris.
Jermain Defoe and Sandro made late appearances, winning cheers, but there was little in the way of threat from Spurs who had to see out 4 minutes of added time, despite the absence of any physio on the pitch at any stage of proceedings. Paulinho was onto a ball by Defoe and Chadli, but hit his shot wide.
Spurs have made their best start since 2009, and hit the ground running, whereas last season we only had one point after two games. That record haul of 72 points last season is already under threat! Now we can rest key players next Thursday, before facing Arsenal in a crunch Derby game next Sunday. That will be our earliest meeting with Arsenal since 1997, and I canít wait!
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