June 20 2013 Latest news:
By Daniel Grigg
Monday, April 2, 2012
London24’s Tottenham blogger Daniel Grigg looks back on yesterday’s 3-1 win over the Swans at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham’s victory over Swansea yesterday was sorely needed, given that they had failed to win any of their previous five Premier League games.
It was also only Spurs’ third win in 13 matches against newly-promoted clubs in the top flight, so the 3-1 win over Brendan Rodgers’ side was certainly not a given.
The Lilywhites have consistently struggled to put away the less expensively-assembled sides in the past - particularly during the latter half of last season - and Spurs’ push for Champions League football virtually fell apart as a result.
However, Tottenham have done a far better job in that respect this campaign, picking up 55 points from 25 games against the 16 sides who are currently below them.
It was a tense, tight but ultimately very deserved triumph as two decisive Emmanuel Adebayor headers followed Rafael van der Vaart’s opener, thanks to some fine wing play from Gareth Bale and latterly Aaron Lennon.
That has put Harry Redknapp’s side virtually level with Arsenal, who slipped up at QPR on Saturday thanks to the ex-Spurs midfielder Adel Taarabt, and Spurs have also retained their five-point cushion over Chelsea and Newcastle.
Tottenham fans who have been disappointed with the team’s recent lack of width had their prayers answered yesterday as Bale, the obvious man the match, finally got back to doing what he does so well.
Wide on the left in his natural position, the Welshman made Swansea right-back Angel Rangel’s job an absolute nightmare, showing off his stunning pace, purpose and energy, and combining those qualities with deadly-accurate crosses towards Adebayor and Van der Vaart.
Often the simplest plans prove to be the best ones, and so it was for the opening goal. Swansea defender Ashley Williams, who was missing his usual centre-back partner Steven Caulker – who is on loan from Tottenham - failed to clear one of Bale’s deliveries from the flank.
The ball fell beautifully for Van der Vaart, whose emphatic finish was his second in three league games following his late equaliser against Stoke, despite his frustrations against Chelsea’s Petr Cech and Bolton’s Adam Bogdan in between.
Fine performances from all of Spurs’ big-name players showed the confidence they have not just in themselves and each other, but also in the manager and the general direction the club is heading in.
That was especially pleasing to see after the poor recent results, and more off-putting speculation suggesting that one or two players might be the targets of significant transfer gossip in the summer.
Luka Modric supported his team-mates well in midfield with plenty of calming touches and involvement early on.
Spurs had not had nearly enough possession in the reverse fixture at the Liberty Stadium, despite the final 1-1 score-line, but they grabbed control of the game right from the start this time, and Modric’s early influence was a key factor.
Scott Parker and Sandro did well to break up Swansea’s own passing game, keeping Joe Allen a lot quieter than most sides have in the final third – and Younes Kaboul, who seems to have recovered from his recent blip, had Danny Graham under control throughout.
Parker had looked slightly weary against Bolton on Tuesday, but he showed impressive powers of recovery and steeliness at the age of 31 to keep snapping into the tackles all across the pitch.
Swansea still managed over 50 per cent of the possession and 11 efforts on Brad Friedel’s goal though, despite Spurs’ impressive pressure and harrying – a testament to the Welsh’s creativity.
Friedel certainly needed to be at his best to tip a stunning 25-yard effort from Gylfi Sigurdsson around the post in the second half.
Comfortably Swansea’s best player since his arrival on loan in January, 22-year-old Sigurdsson would be a great back-up for Van der Vaart should Spurs wish to sign one in the summer – and he was not to be denied as he struck the equaliser a few minutes later.
But Swansea just couldn’t hang on against the sheer weight of Tottenham’s pressure which bore down on them after the equaliser.
Spurs threw Lennon on with 20 minutes to play, and the little winger added another threat right across the pitch as the home side desperately searched for their first league win since early February.
With Bale in full turbo mode, Adebayor finally managed to outjump the Swansea defence and direct his header beyond goalkeeper Michel Vorm, before adding his 13th goal of the season with less than five minutes left from Lennon’s floated cross.
Next up for Tottenham is a visit to the Stadium of Light to face an inconsistent Sunderland side who, despite nearly beating a shaken Manchester City on Saturday, looked very poor in both the home and away legs of their recent FA Cup failure against Everton.
This is Spurs’ toughest remaining league fixture - but one that suddenly looks winnable if Redknapp’s side can replicate the form they have showed against Chelsea, Bolton and Swansea over the last 10 days.