Kenny Palmer gives THFC1882 his match report on Tottenham Hotspur’s great display yesterday.
A headed brace by Emmanuel Adebayor and an excellent side footed opener by Rafael Van Der Vaart helped Spurs back to winning ways with a victory against Brendan Rodgers impressive Swansea.
The win takes the Lilywhites onto the same points as Arsenal and crucially maintained the 5 point lead over Chelsea and Newcastle in the race for the coveted top 4 places.
In a compliment to Swansea Harry Redknapp setup the team in a 4-3-2-1 formation which he has used successfully in away games this season but rarely at home. With Sandro, the excellent Scott Parker and Modric in the midfield and Bale and Van Der Vaart nominally on the left and right respectively behind Adebayor.
As auditions for jobs go Brendan Rodgers put himself on top of the list of candidates to replace Redknapp when he takes up the England job if Levy decides to go down the British route.
Swansea opened the game playing some attractive possession football. Their good approach play undone by not having a quality forward to cause a threat in the final third. Bar a good effort from Wayne Routledge Brad Friedel was rarely tested in the first half.
Scott Parker back to his best after some sluggish performances set the tempo how Spurs were to play thundering into tackles tigerishly and pressing at every opportunity. The other players followed his lead pressing high up the pitch at every opportunity disrupting Swansea’s attempts to get their passing game going.
Gareth Bale looked very sharp in the opening stages of the match breaking dangerously down the left often. Spurs took the lead against the run of play from this position on 19 minutes. Released down the left wing from an excellent pass by Modric the Welshman flashed a cross across the box which came to Van Der Vaart who nonchantly clipped it into the net with a superb side footed effort.
Repeatedly in the first half Bale made surging runs down the left putting in excellent crosses. The Welshman was unlucky with a shot from outside the box on 33 minutes followed by another good effort coming inside from the left on 38 minutes.
Luka Modric who has found himself in good shooting positions in recent games had the last effort in the first half shooting wide from outside the box where he could have fed Adebayor who was in a better position
Swansea started the 2nd half brightly and the Icelandic international Gylfi Sigurdsson was unlucky not to level the scores on 50 minutes when Friedel pulled off an outstanding save pushing his effort wide. The equaliser came when Sigurdsson finished well when the ball fell to him outside the box.
Tottenham were always a threat when going forward and deservedly went 2-1 ahead from an excellent Van Der Vaart corner, Adebayor rose above the Swansea defenders and headed past Vorm. Remarkably this was Spurs 2nd goal from a corner in successive games and the1st goal from the last 133 corners in the league!
Van Der Vaart was excellent against the Swans always available for a pass and a real danger in the final third. His confidence illustrated by an impudent piece of skill in the 2nd half: on the touchline on the right wing he held off 2 defenders then improbably flicked the ball with his left foot past his right foot to a Spurs team mate taking out 2 Swansea players out with the pass.
Aaron Lennon entered the fray to the delight of the White Hart Lane faithful and Spurs switched to the 4-4-1-1 formation which has served Spurs well this season with Bale on the left and Lennon on the right and Van Der Vaart playing off Adebayor. It didn’t take Lennon long to show us want he can do and what the team has been missing delivering a fantastic cross from the right wing for Adebayor to head home on 86 minutes and wrap up the points.
From back to front Spurs were excellent, when called upon Friedel made some crucial saves, Younnes Kaboul put in a prodigious central defensive display putting in block after block in the 2nd half, Scott Parker back to his best charging into challenges and Gareth Bale a constant threat on the left with his surging runs, accurate crosses and powerful shooting assisted by Van Der Vaart who had his best game of 2012 and Adebayor who took his premiership goals tally to 13 goals.
With Arsenal to face Manchester City on Sunday Spurs have the opportunity to leapfrog them into 3rd when they take on Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland Saturday lunchtime.
Out of the teams chasing the Champion League places Spurs have the more favourably run in not having to face a team in the top 8. With 7 games remaining Spurs look favourites to finish in a top 4 spot!
To use the catch phrase of the Spurs half time guest the actor Lesley Philips, “Ding Dong” Spurs are back!
Kenny ( @KennyPalmer on Twitter )
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