Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur v Swans at 14:05 on Sunday, 28th February 2016
Referee: Mike Jones
Assistants: A Garratt, M McDonough
Fourth Official: L Mason
With the Swans not having played a competitive game since the Southampton defeat two weeks ago, they should be refreshed and raring to go against a high-flying Spurs side whom have had a busy couple of weeks in the FA Cup and Europa League.
The disappointment and manner of the home defeat against the Saints will hopefully be a distant memory, with the 15 day break (hopefully) giving Signor Guidolin some proper time to work with his players – not to mention practice some set-piece defending.
There is no question that the Swans face an almighty task this weekend, with Tottenham in a rich vein of form – five straight league victories – which has seen them trial leaders Leicester City by just two points. It’s perhaps not suprising then that Sky Sports pundits Charlie Nicholas, Paul Merson, Tony Cottee and Phil Thompson all predicted the Swans to go down when asked earlier this week.
Whilst the next couple of games are hard, talk of the Swans being relegated are premature and there is enough on-field evidence to suggest that Swansea City can avoid the dreaded drop – albeit perhaps by the finest of margins. Listening to Alan Curtis’ pre-match interview, certainly suggests that they haven’t given the towel in just yet and no doubt the words of relegation wisdom from various football “experts” is sure to provide additional motivation to Ashley Williams and his team-mates.
In terms of the team news, the only concern the Swans have is whether or not a chest infection will keep Francesco Guidolin away from the dug-out as his team take on the white half of north London’s finest this weekend.Spurs on the other hand have a few problems on the injury front as Mousa Dembele, Tom Carroll, Jan Vertonghen and Clinto Njie all remain on the sidelines, with Harry Kane also a doubt given his broken nose.
It remains to be seen whether he takes his place in the starting line-up wearing the mask of zorro or not, but it appears as though it is the in-thing to do these days when nursing a facial injury!
If Kane does play, then his match-up with Swans skipper Ashley Williams will be just one of several key clashes across the pitch and one which the Wales captain will need to come out on top of if his side are to get anything this weekend.
Given his record against the Swans however, few would argue against Christian Eriksen being the main threat posed to the Swans defence but who knows what might happen IF our midfield can stop him playing and making the Spurs team tick.
Eriksen is to Spurs, what Gylfi Sigurdsson is to the Swans (and then some) and his record against the Swans, scoring three goals in his last three top-flight matches against us speaks for itself.
Nobody needs reminding of the Swans woeful Premier League record against Spurs, having chalked up just 2 points out of a possible 27 in their nine meetings to date (D2 L7). In fact, it is the Swans poorest return against any of the Premier League teams they have played since reaching the top flight.
It is hard to imagine a Swans win on Sunday, but a point would be a more than welcome return on what is an extremely difficult fixture. That said, what odds would you get on the cockerel crying when the Swans score number three!
Tottenham Hotspur 2 Swans 0
What the Pundits Think
Paul Merson (Sky Sports) – Tottenham Hotspur 2 Swans 0
I worry for Swansea because I don’t think they are defensively very good. Francesco Guidolin has come in and is having to adapt to the Premier League. He started off alright but now they are on a bit of a slippery slope towards the relegation zone. On the other hand, Spurs are flying in the league and they can pick up another three points in front of their home fans with a 2-0 win. I’m backing Harry Kane for the opener.”
Mark Lawrenson (BBC) – Tottenham Hotspur 2 Swans 0
Tottenham played poorly against Crystal Palace and are out of the FA Cup but I am not reading too much into that performance, or the result. People will ask ‘are they tired?’ especially because they play in the Europa League again ahead of this weekend, but they just had one bad game. I don’t expect the same to happen against Swansea, who are still teetering a bit above the drop zone.”
Simon Brotherton (MOTD Commentator)
I think it was reassuring for Tottenham’s players and their supporters that they comfortably dispatched Fiorentina in Europe in midweek without the services of Harry Kane. He’s been immense this season and has scored 15 goals in his last 17 league games, but winning so comfortably without him against a good side must provide a psychological boost in case he misses another game. Swansea have never won a league game at White Hart Lane in 17 previous attempts, but have picked up in recent weeks. Nonetheless, this is a game Tottenham need to win to keep their title challenge fully on course.”
Last meeting at White Heart Lane
4 March 2015: Tottenham Hotspur 3 Swans 2
Current League Form (Last 6)
Tottenham Hotspur: WWWWWL
Predicted Swans Starting XI:
Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams (Capt), Taylor, Britton, Cork, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Ayew, Paloschi.
At the Bookies
Those of you who fancy a flutter might want to check out the odds being offered on the game at the moment and here are a list of our top picks.
Get odds of 10/1 on Alberto Paloschi to score first.
Get odds of 5/1 on the match to end as a 1-1, 2-2 or 3-3 draw.
Get odds of 7/1 on the Swans to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1.
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Let us know your thoughts – whether on the game or the betting odds(!) using the comment box below 🙂