Mousa Dembele battles for the ball during Swansea vs Spurs in the Premier League.

Swansea vs Spurs: opposition strengths and weaknesses

Ahead of Swansea vs Spurs at the Liberty Stadium we look at the strengths and weaknesses of Paul Clement’s team.

Days after a tricky trip to Turf Moor, we find ourselves with another difficult away day assignment. Paul Clement has lifted the Swans off the foot of the table and now has them hovering one place above the relegation zone. Ahead of Swansea vs Spurs we take a look at their strengths and weaknesses.

Weakness: centre backs

Paul Clement has solved a number of issues during his brief time in charge. The biggest problem that remains is his centre backs, Alfie Mawson and Federico Fernandez.

Opponents have been taking advantage of two factors. Firstly, Mawson and Fernandez’s impetuosity, which sees them both get drawn out of position. Secondly, the space between the lines that often opens up in front of them.

In recent matches, Swansea’s opponents have been brutally exposing the pair and it is hurting the team. Roll back a couple of weeks to Bournemouth 2-0 Swansea in the Premier League. Both of the Cherries goals came from attacking the centre back pairing.

Afobe and King attack the space Fernandez leaves highlighting the Tottenham tactics for Swansea vs Spurs at the Liberty Stadium in the Premier League.

Afobe and King attack the space Fernandez leaves.

Benik Afobe opened the scoring via a wicked deflection off Alfie Mawson. However, in the build up, Bournemouth got between the lines, which rashly drew Federico Fernandez out.

Both Benik Afobe and Joshua King attacked the space that Fernandez vacated. The pair rushed in with Mawson unable to cover for his partner’s error. Watch the video below to see the space in front of Swansea’s defence, Fernandez’s impetuosity and the goal in full.

Bournemouth then netted a second by exposing Fernandez’s partner, Alfie Mawson. Again, the Swans gave up too much space between the lines as Jack Cork and Tom Carroll were drawn in. The centre backs were left vulnerable by this with King having space to take the ball down and run straight at the defence.

Bournemouth get between the lines to attack Mawson highlighting the Tottenham tactics for Swansea vs Spurs at the Liberty Stadium in the Premier League.

Bournemouth get between the lines to attack Mawson.

King then finds Afobe’s run through the centre backs. As he does so, Mawson gets himself in a terrible position with his poor footwork causing him to trip and fall. As a result, Afobe has time and space to pick his spot.

Watch the short video below to again see the space between the lines and how easy it is for Bournemouth to get at the centre backs.

Prior to playing Bournemouth, Swansea were undone 2-1 by Hull attacking their centre backs. Once more, there were huge holes between the lines, more impetuous defending and spacing issues.

Oumar Niasse opened the scoring for Hull. Similarly to Bournemouth’s opener, space in front of the back four draws an impetuous Federico Fernandez in to an unnecessary challenge. As a result, Niasse can run straight off the back of Alfie Mawson who had become separated from his defensive partner.

Fernadez gets drawn out, allowing Niasse to run in, highlighting the Tottenham tactics for Swansea vs Spurs in the Premier League at the Liberty Stadium.

Fernadez gets drawn out, allowing Niasse to run in.

Niasse raced in to score, which you can watch in the brief video below to see the move in full.

Hull added a second goal, which again came from directly attacking the Swansea centre backs.

Once more, Hull are able to get between the lines and on to the back four with ease. Other Swansea players are already closing Ahmed Elmohamaday down, so Alfie Mawson needlessly gets drawn towards them and the ball. Separation is created between the centre backs, which allows both Hernandez and Niasse space, giving Fernandez a problem of whom to mark.

Mawson drawn in allows Abel and Niasse space ahead of Swansea vs Spurs in the Premier League at the Liberty Stadium.

Mawson drawn in allows Abel and Niasse space.

Fernandez then compounds Mawson’s error by letting the ball go between his legs to give Niasse a tap in.

Watch the short video below to see the space between the lines, Mawson getting unnecessarily drawn in, confused pointing between him and Jack Cork and finally the Fernandez error.

Both Hull and Bournemouth worked the space well between the lines to attack and expose the centre backs’ impetuosity, spacing and poor movement. In Swansea’s previous match, Burnley also took advantage, but went route one.

A long pass forward from Matt Lowton sent the ball directly over the Swansea midfield. Sam Vokes came to meet it in the usual space that appears in front of the back four. Vokes’ movement draws Federico Fernandez and the defender loses the aerial contest.

Fernandez drawn out allows Gray in to score highlighting the Tottenham tactics for Swansea vs Spurs in the Premier League at the Liberty Stadum.

Fernandez drawn out allows Gray in.

As soon as Fernandez is sucked in, Andre Gray spins off him and in to space.  Alfie Mawson is slow to recognise the danger and help on the cover. By the time Mawson does notice, Gray is firing the ball in to the corner of the net.

Watch the goal in full in the video below to once more see the space between the lines that opens up for Lowton to send the ball in to, Fernandez being drawn out, which creates space for Gray and Mawson’s slow reaction.

The Tottenham tactics for Swansea vs Spurs should focus on attacking straight through the centre. The Swansea midfield of Leroy Fer, Tom Carroll and Jack Cork is not adept enough at protecting their centre backs. The trio are not defensively-minded with Carroll and Cork undersized and often out-muscled. As a result, centre backs Federico Fernandez and Alfie Mawson are left unprotected and their rash decisions and poor movement can be exposed.

In light of this Spurs should opt for the dangerous channel runs of Son Heung-Min up top over Vincent Janssen’s strength and hold-up play.

Strength: crossing

Swansea are set up to cross and in Fernando Llorente they have a very good target. The Swans attacking issues come when he is not in the team as they struggle to fill the void left by the sizeable Spaniard.

Since Paul Clement took over, Swansea lead the Premier League in crosses attempted per match. The majority come down the left where they have the excellent attacking triangle of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tom Carroll and Martin Olsson.

Sigurdsson will drift in off the line and combine with Carroll to release Olsson on the overlap.

Carroll finds Sigurdsson who releases Olsson on the overlap ahead of Swansea vs Spurs in the Premier League at the Liberty Stadium.

Carroll finds Sigurdsson who releases Olsson.

Swansea likes to attack down this left flank as it gets their two best crossers of a ball, Martin Olsson and Tom Carroll, in to positions whereby they can deliver. It’s no surprise that Olsson and Carroll lead the Swans in crosses attempted and completed since Clement took over.

The Tottenham tactics for Swansea vs Spurs hinges on the news if Fernando Llorente is fit or not. If he is then we have a problem and three at the back may be in order. If he’s not then Mauricio Pochettino could get away with a back four.

Strength: set pieces

Needless to say that any team with Gylfi Sigurdsson delivering from a dead ball is going to cause trouble at set pieces. The Icelander is a threat to curl any free kick in to the top corner or land a cross on a sixpence.

Fernando Llorente is often the target, but Alfie Mawson is equally as dangerous. The centre back has three goals in nine matches since Paul Clemet took over and is a serious aerial threat.

The Swans have 13 goals from set pieces, the third highest in the Premier League this season. Therefore, the Tottenham tactics for Swansea vs Spurs should utilise bigger men in any walls at free kicks and three centre backs to deal with corners.

Weakness: Both teams committing errors

Errors could play a large part in determining the result of Swansea vs Spurs.

Since Paul Clement took over, Swansea has committed seven errors in the Premier League that have led to three goals. In the same timeframe, Spurs have made twelve defensive errors leading to five goals.

In fact, Tottenham lead the Premier League in defensive miscues in that period, Swansea are third.

Swansea vs Spurs outlook

With a vocal and passionate crowd, the Liberty Stadium is never an easy place to go. However, having won three and drawn two of our five Premier League visits, we do have a good record in the stadium.

The match will hinge on our ability to directly attack the Swansea centre backs. We will also need to keep set pieces to a minimum and limit their attack down the left through Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tom Carroll and Martin Olsson.

Each team committing defensive errors could make this a wild and bumpy ride.

Swansea vs Spurs prediction: Swansea 1-2 Spurs.



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16 Responses to Swansea vs Spurs: opposition strengths and weaknesses

  1. Reinert 4th April 2017 at 7:54 pm #

    There is an urgency present in this writing, that we should bring to the pitch, tomorrow. Writing is on point, Mark!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th April 2017 at 11:05 pm #

      Thanks Reinert. Yes plenty of zip to our play needed. We were too slow first half against Burnley. Hopefully that was just re-acclimatising after the international break!

  2. Matt 4th April 2017 at 8:19 pm #

    I’d love to add to that but spot on in my view regards Son over Janssen (who I still think has a future at Spurs) and back 3 if Llorente plays. That said if Victor isn’t fully fit I’d probably rather see our settled back 4 than draft in, sat CVC, as I assume Dier would be the obvious replacement for Vic. I am going 1-3 as I think Ericsson and Dele will play havoc between the lines. COYS!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th April 2017 at 11:08 pm #

      Yes if Wanyama isn’t fit then Poch will go with a back four with Dier in midfield. I don’t think he trusts CCV in the premier league yet and without Rose, Davies can’t slot over in to the back three.

      • YouShubes 5th April 2017 at 9:28 am #

        who is the 3rd AM Assuming Janssen can’t start Sonny up top? Sissokho looks well…Shame he does not trust Big Kev enough… maybe without Llorente it is time to start doing so and stick with 3421

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 5th April 2017 at 2:16 pm #

          3-4-2-1 with Son as the striker up top for me, along with Dele and Eriksen in the pair behind.

  3. toby4eva 4th April 2017 at 11:13 pm #

    Super read Mark.

    Agree with Matt that Dele and Sonny could have a day out here if we can put the pressure on and nick one early.

    Gee that 12 defensive error stat is a surprise given that we now have conceded fewest goals!

    Funny old game…

    They will be slings of passion at the Liberty but as Mark points out we do seem to enjoy the day trip.

    Just harking back to the previous thread when we were opining on transfer activity, I would have the Iceman back in a heartbeat.

    The Gaffer rates him – and he would be perfect cover for Eriksen.

    He will be a bench player in a competitive (and CL) team as opposed to a starter in a lesser team, and that may sway him.

    We can do ourselves a favour perhaps by beating Swansea in this regard – as Gylffi won’t be hanging around if they are relegated I’d imagine.

    Enter our Chairman stage left…..

    That is bargain territory.

    A Chelsea/city draw probably our best result!

    COYS!!!!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 5th April 2017 at 2:13 pm #

      Gylfi would be a welcome addition, but part of the reason he left was regular playing time and being a starter. Not assured of that, I would see it difficult to convince him to come back.

  4. Daudi 5th April 2017 at 4:13 am #

    Looks easy on paper, doesn’t mean we should underestimate them. We should look to have this game on lock by half time and try manage it from then on.
    Play ours and see what comes of other games
    COYS!!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 5th April 2017 at 2:15 pm #

      A fast start is key here for me. Taking the crowd out of the game as early as possible will be a major plus.

  5. Toby4eva 5th April 2017 at 10:58 pm #

    Well that was never in doubt….

    And thank you Joshua King!

    A shame Citeh couldn’t get a second though.

    Here’s a stat that will warm your heart.

    Aside from our five opponents at the pointy end of the table, THFC have this season compiled 56 points from 22 games at an average of 2.55 points per game and are unbeaten. (Chelsea are averaging 2.4 across all games).

    A far cry indeed from the old days.

    That was a mighty comeback.

    COYSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 6th April 2017 at 11:19 am #

      An absolutely epic comeback. We are so incredibly resilient now under Poch and fight right until the very end. Results like this just enforce our player’s belief that we can turn any situation around. Fantastic!

  6. Toby4eva 6th April 2017 at 11:55 am #

    Fergie time – Poch time!!!

  7. Toby4eva 6th April 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    Agree with your Iceman comments Mark, but we are a vastly improved THFC to the one that he left.

    If Swansea are relegated he won’t stay.

    Would he rather come back to our welcoming arms and CL football as ostensibly a squad player – or run around with WBA or Watford every week?

    I doubt any of the other top 5 would be in for him so we would get a proven PL and THFC commodity for 15-20 million.

    I reckon we should chase him.

    And good to see KGN get a bit of a run – I thought his cards had been marked. I think he has got a lot more to offer than Clinton (who apparently won’t be back now) and Poch may be just playing a long game with him. He is raw but has a ton of pace and together with Sonny could potentially wreak havoc fresh off the bench against tired teams.

    But he has a bit of work to do.

    Surely that is curtains for Sissoko. What an unmitigated waste of space he is.

    But on the other hand – that was a very classy piece of football by Vinnie setting up Sonny’s goal.

    Confidence rising – goals will come.

    Get in there!

    And hats off to Dele – 15 league goals is an astonishing performance.

    COYS!!!!!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 6th April 2017 at 3:19 pm #

      If Swansea go down, Sigurdsson definitely won’t stay. I can see a number of clubs moving for him and I can see him being a great fit for Spurs. He would offer options with or for Eriksen, especially playing as one of the two behind the striker in our 3-4-2-1 system. In our 4-3-2-1 setup, Eriksen often plays from the left and this was something else Sigurdsson complained about whilst at Spurs, as he hated that AVB used him out on the left, as he wanted to play in the middle. He may have changed his stance, but when he left us, Sigurdsson was quoted as saying that he wanted regular first team football and playing time. That would be a stumbling block with us as he wouldn’t be guaranteed it. I’d have him back and it makes a lot of sense to get him, but it is the players choice and he will have to have changed his stance.

  8. Toby4eva 6th April 2017 at 10:33 pm #

    100% Mark

    Glad you rate him too!

    He seems like a good guy as well as a good professional and would fit seamlessly with the existing group.

    COYS!!!!!!