December 8 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe at White Hart Lane
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Premier League: Tottenham 1 Swansea 0
One-nil to the, er, Spurs. It’s a chant that used to be sung by the fans of their north London neighbours but it’s currently the measure of Tottenham’s Premier League start.
And with a 100 per cent start to the campaign courtesy, for the second week running, of a solitary Roberto Soldado spot-kick, it’s a scoreline that could start to have a pleasant ring to it around White Hart Lane.
But Lilywhites’ 1-0 win over Swansea wasn’t the kind of miserly fare of George Graham’s Gunners or, for that matter, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea during his first spell in charge.
The side of his protégé Andre Villas-Boas, though also a similarly muscular outfit, dominated with a style that suggests there won’t be too many games won by just the odd goal, even if today they lacked a cutting edge at times.
For while, in Etienne Capoue, they have a ferocious midfield general to stop enemy attacks in their infancy, the Frenchman acted as the cornerstone from which fellow new boy Paulinho could produce a promising forward-thinking display, while Andros Townsend looks determined to seal a place in a side that could soon need a replacement all-action attacker, should you-know-who finally seal his mega-money switch to Read Madrid.
It was the Bale-esque directness of the young winger - keeping his place after Aaron Lennon failed to recover from a foot injury - that led to the crucial penalty. In fact, he should have earned two spot-kicks but referee Neil Swarbrick badly misjudged a Jonjo Shelvey foul on him just before the break.
With the memory of that injustice still fresh in his mind Townsend set a speedy course for the Swansea summer signing on the hour and drew similar results in terms of a clumsy foul but this time the correct decision from the official. Soldado did the rest.
Nacer Chadli and Jan Vertonghen returned to the starting XI while Swansea made three changes to their team, with Neil Taylor, Leon Britton and Wilfried Bony making way for Ben Davies, Jose Canas and Jonathan de Guzman.
Paulinho signalled his intentions for the afternoon early on when he aimed the game’s first effort on target from 30 yards following a lively start from the hosts.
But it was Swansea that should have taken the lead when Wayne Routledge and Michu worked some space. A poor defensive clearance only teed up the former Spurs winger for a pile-driver that Hugo Lloris could only beat towards the Spanish striker who, fortunately for the goalkeeper, was offside.
Spurs had forced the Swans to defend deep in their own half for much of the opening 20 minutes and it had left little space but When Kyle Walker managed to get to the byline his cross caused panic in the penalty box. First Ashley Williams crashed a header against his own post and then Paulinho blasted the rebound straight at Michel Vorm who managed to hold on to the stinging shot. It would be a familiar sight for the unlucky Brazilian.
City attacks were few and far between but Lloris had to be alert to turn a deflected Shelvey toe-poke around his post.
Despite this, Tottenham edged closer to a breakthrough and again a Walker cut-back from the byline put the Swans in a flap with Vorm bailing his side out by tipping Mousa Dembele’s shot over the bar.
Paulinho then scuffed a volley into the turf and watched as it bounced agonisingly high and wide of the upright after yet more success from Spurs’ widemen – this time a Chadli centre.
Then came the first penalty claim. Stonewall though it was, the Lilywhites had to settle for a free-kick much to the chagrin of captain Michael Dawson who sprinted half the pitch to protest.
There was little to object about in Tottenham’s play, however, and their complete dominance continued after the break.
Townsend first came close with a rasping long-ranger that just cleared the crossbar before he exacted his revenge on Shelvey.
The winger darted into the box and zipped past the former Liverpool midfielder who dangled a leg, tripping the Spurs ace, and this time Mr Swarbrick made the correct call. Soldado further repaid some of his £26million transfer fee sending Vorm the wrong way from 12 yards for his second in two games.
It seemed to wake Swansea into life fro a brief period as Pablo Hernandez sent a curling effort wide and then set up Chico Flores, whose thunderous volley Lloris did expertly well to paw away.
That was as close as they would come to an equaliser while, at the death, Vorm denied Paulinho the goal that his performance had deserved.
While unquestionably Tottenham should have added to their goal tally, their won’t be too many Spurs fans complaining if they can make it a hat-trick of 1-0 victories next week against arch-rivals Arsenal. How sweet that scoreline would be in rewriting the north London hierachy.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Rose, Vertonghen, Paulinho, Soldado (Defoe, 79), Capoue, Townsend (Sandro 87), Dembele (Sigurdsson, 64), Dawson, Chadli
Unused subs: Friedel, Kaboul, Naughton, Carroll,
Swansea City: Vorm, Flores, Williams, Shelvey (Bony, 69), Michu, Hernandez, Routledge (Pozuelo, 59), De Guzman, Canas, Rangel, Davies
Unused subs: Tremmel, Amat, Britton, Lamah, Richards
Referee: Neil Swarbrick