Spurs on song
Tottenham offered the perfect response to their defeat at Everton while Swansea will be kicking themselves at conceding late on.
Last Updated: December 17, 2012 6:53am
Tottenham offered the perfect response to their defeat at Everton last weekend while Swansea will reflect on what was so nearly a job well done at White Hart Lane.
Question marks were being asked of Andre Villas-Boas' men in the wake of conceding twice late on against Everton last Sunday, goals that ensured they departed Goodison Park on the back of a 2-1 defeat.
Seven days later and Spurs kept a clean sheet against Michael Laudrup's side on home soil and collected all three points against the Welsh club courtesy of Jan Vertonghen's 75th-minute winner.
The win was massive for the north Londoners as they leapfrogged Everton in the Premier League table and they are now level on points with Chelsea, who did not play as they competed in the Club World Cup.
For Swansea it is now back-to-back defeats in England's top flight after being on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller against in-form Norwich City last weekend.
Villas-Boas recalled left-back Kyle Naughton for the visit of the Swans. Naughton replaced Steven Caulker, who spent last season on loan at the Swans, in the only change to the Spurs side that lost to the Toffees.
Swansea welcomed captain Ashley Williams, who scooped the Man of the Match award, back from suspension. Garry Monk made way for Williams while boss Michael Laudrup also named Ki Sung-yueng in place of Itay Shechter following the midweek Capital One Cup win over Middlesbrough.
Tottenham opted for a 4-4-2 with Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor leading the line, Clint Dempsey, Sandro, Moussa Dembele and Aaron Lennon made up the midfield four with Kyle Walker, William Gallas, Vertonghen and Naughton protecting Hugo Lloris in Spurs' goal.
Swansea started the match without a recognised striker. In-form Michu, who has been a revelation this season, led the line with Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge providing support. Jonathan de Guzman, Leon Britton and Ki made up Laudrup's midfield. Chico and Williams were the centre-halves with Ben Davies and Dwight Tiendalli the full-backs in front from Gerhard Tremmel between the sticks.
Laudrup made the first change of the game, bringing on Kemy Agustien for De Guzman. Villas-Boas responded with two changes of his own. Ex-Swansea man Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andros Townsend were brought on in place of Dempsey and Adebayor, who had picked up an injury and hobbled straight down the tunnel for treatment.
Swansea made their second change with Luke Moore coming on for Ki, but the move had a negative effect as moments later Spurs had taken the lead through Vertonghen. Laudrup brought on another striker in Danny Graham in place of Dyer, but he was unable to influence the game while Scott Parker was introduced late on, although the measure was probably more to waste time as much as anything else.
Until the final few moments, Mike Dean had a quiet game, although for a referee to be inconspicuous generally means he had a good game. It is never a good sign when the referee is prominent. Dean booked Dyer early on for a lunging tackle and few could have argued with the decision.
The yellow cards were flashed about a bit in the second half, but by and large the game was played in good spirit. Tempers did flare in injury time when Tottenham played on following a head injury to Michu, although Dean managed to calm things down before blowing for the final whistle.
The match was always going to be about the club's in-form goalscorers. Michu came into the game with 12 goals in England's top flight this season while Spurs' Defoe was only three behind on nine.
However, the pair were well marshalled. Ashley Williams was imperious at the heart of the visitors' defence alongside the impressive Chico while Tremmel was able to deal with Defoe's attempts on target with relative ease.
Although Lennon added pace out wide it was the marauding runs of full-back Walker that caused more problems to Swansea's defence while Dyer and Routledge always looked dangerous when in possession for the visitors.
Tottenham will fancy their chances of picking up a maximum nine points from their three remaining fixtures in 2012, although there are no easy games in the Premier League. Next up for Spurs are Stoke, who are difficult to break down at the best of times.
However, with Villas-Boas' team being at home they will be the favourites to collect another three points before Spurs travel to Aston Villa on Boxing Day before going head-to-head with slumping Sunderland on December 29.
Swansea will be relishing their next fixture as table-topping Manchester United come to the Liberty Stadium. The Swans lost home and away to the Red Devils last season without scoring.
There could be joy for the Welsh team to finish the month as Laudrup's side take on Reading and Fulham on their travels before the New Year, games in which they will fancy their chances of garnering points.
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