We’re back in Premier League action with Swansea vs Spurs so lets take a look at how to sink the Swans.
The need for consistency surrounds Swansea this season after an excellent 2014-15 Premier League campaign. The Swans are unbeaten at home this term, but winless on their travels. Sunday sees them once again in familiar surroundings, backed by an extremely vocal crowd. So, what should we be on the lookout for in Swansea vs Spurs this time and just how do you go about beating them?
Swansea weak spots
Gary Monk has done a lot for this Swansea team, but the weak spot remains in the right back zone.
In this position, Monk has replaced Angel Rangel with Kyle Naughton, but the former Spurs man is susceptible to being caught up-field or being dribbled past. This is because he is tasked with providing width as Andre Ayew will drift inside to get in the box and play off Bafeftimbi Gomis.
Take Swansea’s last two home matches in the Premier League. Man Utd went 1-0 up before failing to adapt to Swansea’s switch to a diamond formation. They did this as Luke Shaw caught Kyle Naughton forward and out of position before crossing for Juan Mata to sweep home.
In Swansea’s previous home match with Everton, the game may have ended in a 0-0 draw, but the Toffees created a number of good chances that they failed to capitalise on.
Again, a number of these opportunities came from getting in to Naughton’s right back zone and trying to cut or pull the ball back across the penalty area.
Last weekend, Swansea were on the road, but Southampton also obliterated this zone in order to take the Swans apart 3-1.
The Tottenham tactics for Swansea vs Spurs should focus on getting in to the area behind Kyle Naughton in order to create crossing or cutback opportunities. The selection of player on our left will be key to doing this. Ben Davies has got the majority of Premier League starts, so he will have to be more attacking than he usually is. Danny Rose would be the better option here. Ahead of him Andros Townsend on his natural side would be a nice choice.
Stopping the Swansea attack
Swansea likes to create chances in two main ways.
The first is by getting players in between the lines and looking for through passes that either put a runner in on goal or in position to cut the ball back across the penalty area.
In Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jonjo Shelvey, Gary Monk has two players that are excellent at this. What’s more, they are even harder to stop as they provide the ammunition from different levels within the team. Sigurdsson does it from a number ten position, but Shelvey shows his passing radar from much deeper.
What makes the former Liverpool man a nuisance is that he is always looking to pass the ball forwards and often in to dangerous lanes. This sees him fail to complete a number of passes due to their high risk nature, but also create good chances as they have a high reward.
The second method by which Swansea create chances is from looking to pass early for the runs of Bafetimbi Gomis in-behind. This isn’t purely long ball, highball or over the top football, but often searching passes across the deck in to space. Gomis’ goal against Man Utd where Andre Ayew curled a neat pass around the corner for him to run to was a perfect example of this approach.
The early pass caught Man Utd’s defence out as Gomis was already on the run looking for the ball to be played.
The Tottenham tactics for Swansea vs Spurs needs to see us aware of how Swansea fashion their chances. The answer to slowing them down often comes in recognising where the pressure and recover the ball.
In order to slow Gary Monk’s side down and disrupt them from their game, there are two main areas of ball recovery when playing Swansea.
The first is to press the full backs high up. This first of all forces them back, often having to clear long, but also generates errors and turnovers high up the pitch.
In controlling much of the first half in their game at Swansea, Man Utd did just this. Here they pressure left back Neil Taylor and give him no out ball, but to clear long.
If you cast your mind back to Swansea 1 Spurs 2 at the Liberty Stadium last season, you will remember that our winning goal came from doing the same. We pressed right back Jazz Richards in the corner. His miscued clearance went straight to Christian Eriksen who drove towards the box and fired a shot in to the back of the net to win the game.
The second area of ball recovery is to take away the centre of the pitch, particularly the space between the lines. This stops the nice neat through passing that Swansea like to play, making both Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jonjo Shelvey less of a factor.
Everton did this particularly well in Swansea’s last home match, which finished in a 0-0 draw. The Toffees had Gareth Barry and James McCarthy screening their back four, taking away the space in the centre, especially between the lines.
With only Jefferson Montero providing a true winger option, Swansea, like us, get slowed down by teams that defend the centre of the pitch when he doesn’t play. If fit, Montero will be a game-changing option. The Ecuadorian was a key reason why both Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew started the season firing in the goals as he roasted right backs with his searing speed.
The Tottenham tactics for Swansea vs Spurs need to see us press their full backs and take away the centre of the pitch. If Montero plays then Kyle Walker will need every inch of his speed to defend him. The Ecuadorian did give Walker a serious headache at White Hart Lane last season after he was introduced as a substitute that evening.
Spurs vs Swansea outlook
The Liberty Stadium has long been a tough place to go and Sunday will be not be any different. Taking the crowd out of the game is equally as important as tactics in stopping Swansea from playing their brand of attractive football.
We do have a good record there, having won three and drawn one in our last four trips to South Wales. The surface does lend itself to playing good passing football, something Mauricio Pochettino will appreciate given his love of possession.
The key area and result of the game will depend on how well we get in to and take advantage of the space in Kyle Naughton’s right back zone. If we can expose his positioning from counter attacks or get players running behind him, we will be in for a good day.
Swansea vs Spurs prediction: Swansea 1-1 Spurs.