Writer: Cider Spurs.
Date:Monday January 20 2014
WOW!...Anoher 3 points!
Having made the trip along the M4 corridor, it was once again time for Tottenham Hotspur to face Swansea. With the Winter sun licking the moisture laden turf at the Liberty stadium, both sets of fans were eagerly awaiting what might be. Both desperate for wins, but both for different reasons. A win for Spurs would see us level with a 4th placed Liverpool on points, a Swansea win would see them moving a little bit further away from the relegation scrap that is now happily looking for entrants. Swansea are perilously close. Players picked, talked the talk, formed the formations. The battle commences.
Now, let's not be fooled here, Swansea are a very smart passing side. They play possession football and are very comfortable on the ball and like to get it down and play. Spurs under Sherwood's tenure have played 4-4-2, although not a rigid formation. Against Swansea, Sherwood decided to show Swansea some respect and the fact that they are very adept at passing right through teams in Midfield. We lined up in a 4-5-1, 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3 take your pick. Soldado dropped, Chadli in, Bentaleb retained. Let's look at performances and the game.
I'll start with a little negativity if I may. With Tim adding a player in Midfield, I thought it was to help even things out. First 25 minutes we were not that great. We seemed lacklustre, and Midfield was far too easily by-passed. We seemed very lethargic and Swansea dominated us. That said, we did keep them to efforts from distance a fiercly struck shot from Bony that hit the bar, and a fizzer from Shelvey which was smartly saved. Add to this Lloris' awareness to dart from his line, save and release the ball all in one move, before his momentum carried him out of the area with ball still in hand, and apart from their goal that was about their lot.
Lloris pulled of some fine saves. Well played. Walker, again missing in action at times, but he had a decent enough game, and as usual, made himself available going forward. Got one great tackle in to prevent a scoring opportunity. Daws, still seems to get sucked in high up the pitch too often, if you're going in, you've got to win it. Chiriches, he too goes in, but he has a habit of winning the ball, he is looking better and better each match. His reading of the game is excellent and he often realises where the danger might just be about to come from and positions himself accordingly. Brave player also, Bony gave his face a right wallop, no fuss, quick wipe with the 'magic sponge' on we go. Not sure about the RW surge later in the game. Funny to watch, not sure if required. Well done Vlad. Rose, well I'm none to sure at the moment. His positioning at times made Walker look World class. He almost appeared petulant to me. He did burst forward and beat a couple of players once, only to ballon the ball into row Z with his shot. The ball in row Z i like, it shows consitency. No Paulinho or Townsend, someone's got to do it. He did also set up Ade for the 3rd goal after dembele minutes earlier had chose not to. Not his best game, however, he's been out a while.
Midfield leads us to Bentaleb, and the debate that goes with it. For me, apart from one weak tackle attempt, which he obviously lost, and a poor pass out Left, I thought he had a good game, did everything that was asked of him and did it well. He plays it simple, but keeps the ball moving. I'll admit that his inclusion made me worry about being overrun in Midfield, it could be argued that 1st 25 minutes we were. Would've Capoue done better? I don't know, but I am warming to him and can see why he is included. He keeps it simple, and retains possession. He did play one delicious ball through, but to whom has eluded me. Well played young man. Dembele, well I didn't see much of him 1st half, he was putting himself about, but only later did we see the surging runs forward, one was to beat a few and fluff his lines on a shot, the other was to race clear and shoot wide of the Left post when Ade was available to slot home.
Two goals up maybe, team game Moose, team game. Chadli, sorry mate, I can't really offer much. One shot at keeper, one poor cross. Never really got going. Lennon, does what he does, keeps running up and down. Put's the Left back on the back foot. Early doors, Ade could've played him in, and vice versa. I thought Lennon would have had the beating of Davies, but he still seems to pass the ball back all too often these days when faced up one vs one. Yes he'll run at a LB to get in behind, but when stood still one vs one he never entertains a race near the edge of the box. I'd like to see him do that more again as he used too. All in all a solid performance from Azza' with a nice little roll back for Eriksen to cross for the opener.
Well, like many, i've saved the best til' last. Eriksen and Adebayor. Eriksen, you beauty!. What a talent, I knew it a couple of years back, many coaches in Europe knew it. But he's our's. What intelligence for one so young, he knows exactly what he's going to do before he even recieves the ball. He never rushes, but considers his move, the ramifications of his pass, whether the short easy option is better or to risk the sublime. What a cross, what a turn on the edge of the box. What a performance. Really starting to find his feet in the prem. Excellent, and needs to be on the team sheet weekly. Ade, what a pleasure to witness yet, another outstanding performance. Passion, power, dare I say enjoyment. We have a match winner in Ade, we just need to keep the love affair going. It's been great to see him holding the ball up, involving others, scoring. Generally being a tough opponent to face. He's currently playing like he cares, we look so much better as a team with him in it when this is the case. Another MOTM performance, although this time I'm splitting it between Ade and Eriksen. Both were excellent.
Seemed a strange match, Swansea actually reminded me of AVB and the way we used to play, and all that went with it. Swansea were having most of the possession in first 25 minutes, but were only getting shots off from distance. 35 minutes elapse and BOOM!, we score. Kind of sounds familiar doesn't it?. Crossing again was poor (Eriksen aside) Walker so poor, he now looks to play it in off the opposing defence other than pull it back to the un-marked Ade on the penalty spot. Clever. Goals they say, change games. Our opener certainly helped, but even in the opening exchanges we were not totally out of it. I could see that actually it was the final 3rd and the final ball that was struggling. For Swansea's dominant opening half hour, with a little bit of a better pass by either Lennon or Ade, either would have been through on goal with only the goalie to beat. We were in a better position to breach the defence, just couldn't find the pass. Swansea were shooting from range.
All in all a very good performance, room for improvement of course, but a win to be enjoyed. Yet again I could be sat here writing about us scoring 5 goals. Couple of better crosses, Dembele pass to Ade, etc,etc. We played well, let's enjoy it. Elements are improving, and we have some very good players to return. 29th minute.. we actually had a throw in and found a team mate. now that's improvement at it's best.
Records were broken, first time since 1960/61 season I believe, that we have won 5 away games on the bounce. By all accounts, Sherwood now has the best league start points wise in the history of Tottenham. So there we have it, as the sun recedes and darkness now cascades across the Liberty stadium, supporters from near and far start the journey home. Some unhappy with all that they have bore witness to, and more so, where it may lead. Spurs fans head home, safe in the knowledge we have no date with relegation, more a design on top 4 and all that it brings. Well played Tim, good call. Well done team, 3 points. thoroughly entertaining match.
Written by Cider Spurs.
Date:Monday January 20 2014
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