We’re back in Premier League action with Spurs vs Swansea at White Hart Lane, so let’s take a look at the tactical setup of Gary Monk’s side.
After a disappointing defeat at Wembley, we’re quickly back in Premier League action with Spurs vs Swansea at White Hart Lane.
The Swans are going well again this season under the impressive tutelage of Gary Monk and have quietly moved themselves up to eighth in the table. So, what can we expect and what should we be on the lookout for in Spurs vs Swansea this time?
1. Where the Swans are vulnerable
Gary Monk is rebuilding his side and remoulding it from last season. He’s switched them back to attacking through the centre and now he’s dealing with the loss of Wilfried Bony. Bafetimbi Gomis hasn’t filled the Ivorian’s boots just yet and so Monk has experimented with a number of formations to get him going. Alongside the base 4-2-3-1, he’s tried 4-3-3 and a 4-4-2 diamond.
Whatever the formation, the weaknesses still remain in the full back areas. Neil Taylor and newly imported Kyle Naughton are vulnerable as their manager asks them to be so offensively minded. With the centre backs splitting wide, Swansea’s full backs eject forward and this can leave them out of position in transition.
Swansea will be away from the Liberty tonight and in their last two road games, Burnley and West Brom have had varying degrees of success attacking through here.
The Baggies profited as Brown Ideye opened the scoring when Saido Berahino got in-behind Kyle Naughton to square for him to fire home.
West Brom added a second as the pair reversed roles and Ideye got in-behind left back Neil Taylor to return the favour.
In Swansea’s last away match in the Premier League, they beat Burnley 1-0, but the Clarets created arguably the better chances. Ashley Barnes, Sam Vokes and Danny Ings all went close. All of these opportunities were created from getting in-behind left back Neil Taylor.
The way Swansea sends their full backs forwards means that they are vulnerable to quick transitions in-behind. The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Swansea need to look at exposing this.
2. Pressing zones
With the Swans sending their full backs forward, there are two zones you need to press against them.
The first is naturally in the wide areas. This pushes the full backs towards their own goal, but if the wide-splitting centre backs are out here, it puts pressure on them.
We did this well in Swansea 1 Spurs 2 earlier this season. We were looking to close them down in wide areas, which we can see Erik Lamela doing here to Ashley Williams who is split out to the left. Ryan Mason is in front of full back Neil Taylor and forces Williams to clear the ball long.
Our winner showed the value of this approach. Harry Kane and Mousa Dembele pressed in on the Swansea left, forcing a miscued clearance from Jazz Richards.
The ball went straight to Ben Davies who sent it inside for Christian Eriksen to swivel, fire and score the winner.
The second place to pressure the Swans is to get bodies between the lines in the middle of the pitch. Swansea likes to play through here with short, neat passes and crowding them out from doing this really slows them down. West Brom did this well in their 2-0 win, as well as a decent job of pressuring them in the high wide areas.
The Tottenham tactics for Spurs vs Swansea should see us do well to pressure them high up in wide areas once more. This time though, we need to do a better job against them between the lines.
3. Stopping Swansea between the lines
After Michael Laudrup got Swansea away from some of their traditional values of short, neat passing football, Gary Monk has brought it back.
A lot of their attacks are based from getting players forward and between the lines. From there, they can play through balls (1) or spring a runner who can provide a pull back or short cross from inside or close to the box (2). They did this well in the Premier League match against us.
Gylfi Sigurdsson was instrumental to doing this. The Icelander is now able to command a role starting in the centre and was looking like the player we thought we’d signed before injury and suspension disrupted his season.
If he plays, Sigurdsson will be looking to show us what we’ve lost. It’ll be up to Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason to stop him from operating in the pockets of space that he likes between the lines.
4. Jonjo Shelvey
Jonjo Shelvey really is the x-factor in this game for me. The former Liverpool man has stepped up since Wilfried Bony left to join Man City with assists and goals in recent matches.
The key is that Shelvey is moving the ball forward much quicker with Bafetimbi Gomis now in the side. The French striker is a different kind of player to Bony. Whilst the Ivorian often came towards the ball to get involved in the build-up before getting in to the box, Gomis likes to run in-behind. This has seen Shelvey’s passing shift to hit many more direct balls forward for Gomis to try and scamper on to.
Last weekend away to Burnley was a perfect example, as Shelvey often looked long for him. Gomis smashing the ball over the bar when released by a pass over the top was a good indicator of how the new partnership is going to operate.
As they have been in many a Spurs game recently, errors could work out again to be the big tipping point in spite of the match tactics employed. Against Liverpool, West Ham and Fiorentina, individual blunders cost us not only chances going forward but more importantly goals going in for the opposition.
Chelsea in the Capital One Cup Final was also another example of how we can play well as a team, but one silly error can cost us. Nacer Chadli’s foul on Branislav Ivanovic could’ve seemed innocuous but had devastating repercussions.
Whether the errors are physical fatigue from the number of games we’re playing this season or mental lapses in matches, they need to be cut out. They are costing us dearly in games that we have put a lot of hard work in to gaining a control of, meaning that we’ve then put ourselves in a hole.
Spurs vs Swansea outlook
Swansea have been a stubborn team to beat recently with a pair of 1-0 wins on the road in their last three Premier League away matches. This game will not be as easy as a few of the big football sites are expecting and will be compounded by how we react to Sunday’s disappointment.
This may mean Mauricio Pochettino looks to freshen up the side as we seek a top four finish with just the Premier League left to focus on.
Getting in to their full back zones will be key and this is a concern if Kyle Walker is not able to go with us playing so narrowly this season.
Spurs vs Swansea prediction: Spurs 1 Swansea 0.
Spurs vs Swansea betting
This is a tough one to call as it’s difficult to tell how much Sunday took out of the players both mentally and physically. I’m hoping to see a positive reaction and maybe some more late game heroics.