The Swans entertain the Spurs at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with both sides having different motives for wanting the 3 points. The Welsh are repeating how they don’t want their season just to peter out into mid-table mediocrity after their glorious cup victory over high-flying Bradford; our lads from North London are desperate for a place in Europe’s elite next season. Both teams come into game on the back of a defeat. The following player battles will be key to deciding the outcome of the match.
Bale v Flores and Williams
The Flying Welshman against the opposition defence is the one constant in my player battles analysis. Pablo Zabaleta described Bale this week as the best player in the Premier League, and after looking at clips of Tottenham games in the last few months it is hard to disagree. An inch of space cannot be given under any circumstances; the experienced Swansea pair will have to be completely focused for the whole 90 minutes. Against West Ham, Bale was given two unchallenged sights of the goal; and he scored twice. It doesn’t matter how far out he is, he needs to be pressured.
Michu v Vertonghen and Dawson
Swansea fans will argue that they have their own version of Gareth Bale, in the form of the Spaniard Michu. The summer signing has netted goals at an alarming rate this season and will be keen to add to his tally and cement his place among the league’s top scorers. As we very nearly saw in the return fixture at White Hart Lane, this man can also make a goal out of nothing; he even needs to be watched when he is hovering around the half way line! If he drops back into midfield, Dembele and Parker will need to hassle him as much as possible.
Lennon v Davies
The speedy winger was declared fit earlier today by AVB in a press conference and this is an enormous boost to Tottenham’s chances. The side has lacked balance in the last few weeks without a natural right-winger and it has showed in the terrible results we have picked up. Although Lennon is oft-criticised for his final ball, if he can stand his opposite number up and threaten a cross, then we have a number of players who can benefit. Also, he’s no slouch cutting infield; and if he scores, we win. The young Welsh full-back will certainly have his work cut out.
Walker v Hernandez
Pablo Hernandez has been a great signing for Swansea, for just £5.5m. He has demonstrated all the attributes of a technically sound and creative winger, and has pitched in with a few goals. With the kind of attacking quality Swansea have up front and in midfield, Kyle Walker will need to watch him very carefully, and can’t afford him time or space. He also needs to be disciplined; Spurs have conceded on multiple occasions this season from free-kicks given away by the Englishman on opposing left sided midfielders.
It is a tough game to call, as both sides will be invigorated by the international break and determined to get back to winning ways. Ultimately, Spurs should have enough attacking quality; but in my view, with the Welsh at home, the smart money would be on a draw.
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