Can Spurs emulate Arsenal by beating Swansea at the Liberty Stadium?
PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 March 2013 | UPDATED: 19:52 29 March 2013
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Arsenal triumphed 2-0 at Swansea before the international break - now Tottenham need to do the same on Saturday to maintain their lead over the Gunners.
It has been a season to savour at Swansea City – indeed Swans fans are probably still pinching themselves after witnessing their rapid rise to the top over the last two years.
In March 2011 the Welsh outfit were in the Championship, still dreaming of life in the top flight. Two months later they were promoted through the play-offs – and they have not looked back.
Swansea instantly looked at home among the big guns last season, finishing 10th under Brendan Rodgers, and they now lie ninth, looking certain to secure a third successive season in the Premier League – which would represent their longest ever stay in England’s top tier.
As if that was not enough, City have just secured their first ever major trophy after thumping Bradford 5-0 to win the Capital One Cup at Wembley in February.
Whatever happens in the next two months, Swansea will be able to look back on the most successful season in their history – and that is probably good news for Tottenham.
The inevitable question is: what are Swansea playing for now? What is keeping them going? There is no obvious answer and, somewhat predictably, the results have started to dip.
Michael Laudrup’s side followed their Capital One Cup triumph with a 1-0 home win over Newcastle, but they then suffered a 2-1 defeat at West Brom and a 2-0 home defeat against Arsenal.
That consigned Swansea to successive losses for the first time since September, and captain Ashley Williams was quick to voice his concerns.
“We’ve got to find that motivation. If that’s what some people are lacking, they’ve got to find it,” he said. “I can’t imagine that they are but it’s as important for us [to win] as anybody else.
“I don’t think we played very well [against Arsenal]. It was the same as against West Brom, maybe even worse. It’s disappointing to lose 2-0 at home.
“It was flat, I’m not too sure why. I’d never question the lack of effort, there was just no intensity, no tempo, no urgency. In the second half we never looked like scoring.
“We’ve had a brilliant season up to now and it would be a shame to ruin it. We’ve lost two on the trot. There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We need points in the next game.”
Tottenham will be anxious to emulate Arsenal’s result at the Liberty Stadium this weekend, and they will hope that Swansea are in a similarly accommodating mood as they were against the Gunners.
If they are not, then Spurs will be in for a tough afternoon. Only three sides have won at the Liberty Stadium this season, and the Lilywhites were arguably fortunate to escape with a 1-1 draw in this fixture last season.
Should Tottenham fail to win in Wales, the comparisons with the Gunners’ recent victory in the same fixture will be hard to avoid and it would only increase the feelings of deja vu after last season, strengthening the view that Spurs are fading again while Arsenal are gaining momentum.
Swansea are not the only side who need to prove a point about their mentality on Saturday.
The verdict: Much will depend on Swansea’s performance, and the freshness of Spurs’ biggest stars – a 1-1 draw.
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