Swansea City come to White Hart Lane on Sunday in a lunchtime televised game. Last season we faced them during that period at the fag end of the campaign when we were looking like finishing closer to seventh than third. Harry sent out a team with instructions to match the Welsh for hard work and it worked as we won 3-1. Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a fine goal from distance for the Swans that day, the closest he’s come to performing similar for us so far was at Goodison last weekend when his potentially match winning late & dipping shot smacked off the bar. Fingers crossed that means that he’s getting his range at last.
No one will underestimate Swansea I’m sure. The quality of their counter attacking when they beat the Gooners a couple of weeks ago was a warning in itself, any scouts at Everton or watching the game against Panathinaikos cannot fail to have noticed the large space in front of an over exposed Naughton/Vertonghen. If Assou-Ekotto is close to coming back, he might want to wait until Villas-Boas has done something about that before he commits to ready-to-play status.
Benny won’t be available this weekend but Scott Parker is apparently, which is great news. Whether he plays with or in place of Sandro and Dembélé, he’ll provide a level of competency and redundancy in midfield that we don’t currently possess. None of Huddlestone, Livermore, Townsend or Carroll have been putting in performances that one can totally rely on. His leadership will help in trying to make sure we get over this last ten minute hoodoo that everyone’s talking about.
If Parker was arguably the signing of the 2011/12 season, Swansea have their own candidate for 2012/13 in the shape of Michu. I’ve not seen much of him but every time I have he appears to be all on his own. I’m no tactical mastermind but I hope we’ve learnt from that and try and actually mark him.
By all accounts the man at the top has been replaced but everything else about the Swans remains the same thus we can expect high pressing, swift on the counter, good in possession etc etc, a slightly more mature version of what we got from Liverpool and Wigan I guess neither of whom we coped with particularly well.
So hard work and patience (Swansea may well have the majority of possession) will be needed if we’re going to come out on top in this one. A less error prone performance from Adebayor and a less anonymous one from Defoe will probably also be necessary especially if Bale’s not to be seen and Dembélé’s comeback is over as quickly as it began – I think we all know that an op is pending, it’s just a question of how long we can put it off for. Mike Dean is the referee, COYS.
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