Tottenham Hotspur vs Swansea City, Sunday 1st April 2012, White Hart Lane, 4pm kick off, SS1 &HD1
THFC1882 has Kenny Palmer give us his preview for the upcoming league visit of Swansea to the Lane
Boosted by Tuesdays win against Bolton in the FA Cup, booking a Semi Final date against Chelsea, Spurs go into Sundays game against newly promoted Swansea with renewed confidence.
Although not a stellar performance the team is slowly playing its way back into their early season form. The team created a catalogue of chances and the tie should have been done and dusted by half time but for some wayward finishing and an outstanding goalkeeping performance from Bolton’s Adam Bogdan.
The breakthrough came from an unlikely source the former Blackburn Rovers reserve Ryan Nelsen and just as surprisingly it was a headed goal from a corner! The win cannot disguise Spurs profligacy in front of goal which could prove costly as the season draws to a close, with the forwards missing countless chances, Rafael Van Der Vaart guilty of missing a sitter for the 2nd successive game. Which makes it all the more surprising the team’s most clinical striker Jermain Defoe was warming the bench.
Brendan Rodgers the Swansea manager comes into the game on the back of being installed as the new favourite to take over from Harry Redknapp in the Spurs hot seat when Redknapp departs to takes the England job.
If the reports are to be believed this would be an excellent appointment by the chairman Daniel Levy. Rodgers has guided Swansea to 10th place by playing some of the most attractive football in the Premier League. In the game at the Liberty Stadium earlier in the season Swansea were outstanding and outplayed Spurs for large parts of the game with the Lilywhites fortuitous to get a draw. Rodgers Swansea’s style of football fits in well with Tottenham’s philosophy. Rodgers also carries himself with professionalism, decorum and class diametrically opposed to the current incumbent managing Spurs! Tottenham’s next managerial appointment needs to be long term to build something with the club.
Swansea are in a good run of form winning 3 of their last 4 games, a notable scalp being the then league leaders Manchester City. They have also won 4 of their last 6 away games in the league so this will prove to be a tough game for Spurs.
The impressive Steven Caulker will sit out the game against his parent club. The experience he has gained this season will bode well for Spurs next season where it is hoped he will be integrated into the 1st team squad. Swansea will play a fluid 4-2-3-1. Their main danger men will be Leon Britton who will look to dictate the play from midfield, the tricky winger Nathan Dyer who returns from suspension and the goal scoring midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson who has been outstanding in his loan spell scoring 5 goals in 5 appearances. Michel Vorm is one to watch as well as he has been outstanding in goal for the Swans. With Friedel the wrong side of 40 and Cudicini in his late 30’s Vorm should be a summer target as a long term replacement in goal for Spurs.
Spurs have recovered from their dip and were unlucky not to get all 3 points at Stamford Bridge last Saturday. Sunday’s game gives the team an excellent opportunity to get the win which will help cement a top 4 position.
The big injury news is that Aaron Lennon is fit and is available for selection. The absence of the tricky winger has affected the team badly to the extent that Redknapp felt the need to play the teams 2 best and influential players Luka Modric and Gareth Bale out of position. Although not match fit as we enter the business end of the season he has to start.
The other main selection dilemma for Redknapp is who to partner Emmanuel Adebayor with in attack. The Togolese international is pivotal to the team with his all-round forward play. Rafael Van Der Vaart’s poor return of 3 goals in 20 games is not good enough and shouldn’t warrant a place in the starting line-up. When the Dutchman plays he plays far too deep picking the ball off the Centre Backs toes leaving Adebayor isolated in attack. Spurs two best performances this season the 4-0 win against Liverpool and the 5-0 demolition over Newcastle the Dutchman didn’t start, not a coincidence in my opinion. He flatters to deceive in too many games of late.
I’d expect Defoe to be restored to the starting line-up to partner Adebayor with the team going back to a 4-4-2 system. Despite starting mainly on the bench he is the team’s top scorer and is the only forward who is always a genuine goal threat.
With only 8 league games left sufficiently rotated all the strikers will make goals contribution now till end of season.
Spurs have an excellent home record undefeated in 30 of their last 32 home matches in Premier League. With the FA Cup Final to look forward they can concentrate on consolidating a top 4th spot. With Lennon back the manager can select the 1st choice starting 11. I expect a confident performance in front of the White Hart Lane faithful and back to winning ways 3-1
Kenny ( @KennyPalmer on Twitter )
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