Tottenham tactics: Swansea vs Spurs preview (a)

After our trip to Turkey, the Liberty Stadium is where we return to Premier League action for Swansea vs Spurs on Sunday.

Very much like us, Swansea have been a Jekyll and Hyde team this season. At the Liberty they have been excellent, losing just once and they have the third best record in the Premier League. On the road, only Leicester and QPR have garnered fewer points from their travels.

For us, we’ve been the opposite, our form away is proving to be much better than when we’re at the Lane. With each team playing in their preferred destination, this should be a good one.

So, what should we be on the lookout for in Swansea vs Spurs this time and where do the weaknesses lie?

Where Swansea concede

Swansea have only conceded five goals at home in the Premier League, which sees just Chelsea as having a meaner defence on their own turf.

The Swans can be got at though, especially if you attack through their full back areas once these players have gone forward. Gary Monk likes to get both of these players in to the Swansea attack and teams that hit these spaces in transition have prospered.

In their recent home match with Arsenal, the Gooners took the lead as Danny Welbeck raced in to the space behind left back Neil Taylor. He had been caught forward attacking, as Welbeck squared for Alexis Sanchez to slot home.


Welbeck breaks in to the left back zone.

Unlike the Goon squad, Newcastle were one of the few teams to leave the Liberty with anything, as they took a point. Both of their goals came from getting in-behind left back Neil Taylor once more.


Newcastle chances created against Swansea.

Papiss Cisse was the recipient of both crosses as he twice cancelled out Swansea’s advantage to earn a draw.


Ameobi in the left back zone picks out Cisse.

Southampton are the only team to have tasted victory in the Premier League on the Welsh team’s turf. They were rather fortunate in that Swansea played most of the game with ten men. After creating just one chance whilst it was 11v11, the Saints created opportunities from getting in to the wide areas and this is where Victor Wanyama’s winner came from.


Southampton chances created against Swansea.

The Tottenham tactics for Swansea vs Spurs this time needs to see us attack the areas behind the full backs. This was something we did last season in Swansea 1 Spurs 3 as both Christian Eriksen and Danny Rose created goals for Emmanuel Adebayor. The width provided by Aaron Lennon could well be key up against Neil Taylor this time.


Spurs chances against Swansea.

Defensive nightmares

Going forward, Swansea have an attack that can pull apart the best of defences, especially at the Liberty Stadium.

After experimenting with more of a crossing based system for much of last year, Gary Monk has returned the side to the triangles and through ball passing of seasons prior. The Swans put in the third most crosses of any team in the Premier League last season, mostly under Michael Laudrup, but Monk has them attempting the fewest.

The team now creates chances in a number of ways. It all stems from having two very forward thinking passers in midfield. Either or both of Jonjo Shelvey and Ki Sung-Yueng get the nod in the centre of the park and both can move the ball quickly to the more attacking players.

Pulling the strings ahead of them is Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelander delivers an excellent set piece, but can also pick a pass and arrive late in the box to shoot. On either side of him, they have speed in abundance as Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dier and the explosive Jefferson Montero vie for the two spots.

Up top, Wilfried Bony is excellent at coming short to hold the ball up. Whether this is from passes in to feet or through the air, the Ivorian is extremely strong and mobile. He then plays give and go passes to keep the attack moving and looks to get himself in to shooting positions.

The ball can come back to him from through balls or short crosses and pull backs from the wider forwards. These create opportunities for headers and first-time shots that are delivered closer to their targets, which increase their accuracy.

From Swansea’s last home match we can see this shorter crossing situation develop, as Leon Britton springs the speedy Wayne Routledge in to space behind the QPR full back. Routledge is then in a position to square from inside the penalty area to Bony for a first-time shot.


Swansea look to get the wide players in-behind.

The other method of creating chances is from give and go passes, which we can see here against Newcastle. Bony comes short to receive the ball and he lays it off to Sigurdsson. He then runs in-behind looking for the return. Gylfi supplies it to put him clean through and Bony finishes.


Swansea give-and-go through pass.

The Tottenham tactics for Swansea vs Spurs should centre on denying them these two types of chances. This is easier said than done. If the through balls from Swansea’s neat triangles don’t get you, then the shorter crosses and pull backs from Montero and Routledge definitely will.

Bony, Sigurdsson, Montero

Swansea’s three most dangerous players are the combination of Wilfried Bony, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jefferson Montero.

Gylfi Sigurdsson is very good at getting the ball to the other two whereby they can go to work. He is always looking for a through runner and links well with Bony to create shooting opportunities for him.


Sigurdsson passes to Bony against QPR.

Montero is a speedster and is a threat to beat any full back off the dribble from where he can get in to short crossing or cut back situations.


Montero take-ons against Arsenal.

His tearing up of Callum Chambers in Swansea’s recent 2-1 win over Arsenal, showcased his game perfectly. His neat and nimble dribbling allowed him to get in to positions to deliver crosses from inside or close to the edge of the box (1) and short cut back situations from the by-line (2).


Montero short crosses (1) and by-lline cut backs (2)..

Wilfried Bony is usually the recipient of both Sigurdsson’s and Montero’s hard work. That’s not to say that Bony is lazy, far from it, he gets through a fair amount of graft himself. The Ivorian drops in to receive the first ball, before distributing it to others and then getting himself in the box.


Bony drops in and then gets up in the box to shoot.

Bony is also a capable passer and can create for runners going past him, just as he was trying in Swansea’s last home match against QPR.


Wilfried Bony passes against QPR.

This trio will feature heavily in Swansea vs Spurs on Sunday. Stopping them relies on two things. Firstly taking away space between the lines to nullify Sigurdsson and Bony. Secondly, a fleet-footed right back to match-up with Montero.

Swansea vs Spurs outlook

The Liberty Stadium has been one of the toughest places to go this year. We do have a decent record there, having won on our last two trips. However, with our record after Europa League games, this makes the challenge just that bit more tougher.

Swansea are vulnerable to teams that can get in-behind their full backs, so Mauricio Pochettino’s selections in the wide areas is absolutely key here.

Another vital zone will be taking away space between the lines and our head coach’s choices at the base of our midfield will be instrumental in doing this.

At right back, a fully fit Kyle Walker would be ideal against Jefferson Montero. However, after his appearance against Besiktas, Kyle Naughton may be the best selection here, especially after Vlad Chiriches display against Eden Hazard recently. Eric Dier’s distinct lack of pace should only see him used at right back in an absolute emergency.

A tough assignment and a draw may be the best we can expect.

Swansea vs Spurs prediction: Swansea 1 Spurs 1.

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5 Responses to Tottenham tactics: Swansea vs Spurs preview (a)

  1. Brian Himself 13th December 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    I wish Poch would try Kane up front with Townsend behind him or vice-versa.
    Soldado is obviously not finding form and Ade is done.
    Maybe instead of waiting until January, he could try the chronic underperformer as a striker.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 14th December 2014 at 11:17 am #

      Interesting idea. I’d be prepared to give Kane some time to see if he can play upfront on his own, but i always feel he looks better playing behind another player. His passing and also ability to make forward bursts with the ball seem to work better from starting deeper.

  2. Reinert 15th December 2014 at 3:29 am #

    This game had a feel of grit over it, I knew from before the match even started that our line-up would give it all. It seems Poch is beginning to settle on a starting 11, and I am all for it. Nothing pleases me more than our academy bolstering our ranks in this manner!

    To see Walker back is a joy in of itself. Is Lennon being saved for the tie vs Newcastle? I think he merits a start ahead of Lamela. You mention letting Kane try it alone on the top? Let him do it with Lennon and Chadli. Until we cultivate a real left winger, that winger Morteno was making fantastic football – could he be a target? I do not really like to speculate in buying and selling, since I would rather develop what we have, but Morteno really looks the part.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 15th December 2014 at 3:47 pm #

      I’m not sure what happened with Lennon. I did hear a rumour that he was injured, but he wasn’t in the squad so maybe this was true. If fit, he would have been a better choice than Lamela who could’ve been sent off.

      Montero does look the part and would be a good player, but i can’t see him leaving Swansea having only just joined in the summer.

  3. Reinert 15th December 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    I see. Let us hope Lennon gets through the ordeal:) COYS