Tottenham Hotspur put together one of their most comprehensive wins of the season today at White Hart Lane, putting five goals past Swansea City in a dominating match. Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane each notched a brace, and Son Heung-Min added a fifth as Spurs easily dispatched the Swans, who featured former Tottenham players Gylfi Sigurdsson and Kyle Naughton.
Toby Alderweireld was left out of the match-day 18 despite comments from Mauricio Pochettino suggesting he could be in line to play today. Instead, we got the expected starting 11 with Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen in central defense, the first choice fullbacks of Danny Rose and Kyle Walker, a Victor Wanyama - Mousa Dembele pivot, and Harry Kane in front of Son Heung-Min, Christian Eriksen, and Dele Alli.
The match started out quietly. Swansea manager Bob Bradley opted to set up the Swans in an extremely USA Men’s National Team ultra defensive bunkered style, putting men behind the ball and trying to counter when possible. Spurs were gifted much of the possession but were unable to capitalize on it early in the match.
Eight minutes in, Swansea defender Neil Taylor put his boot into the face of Kyle Walker on the right sideline. Walker went down with what looked like a mildly injured wrist and a cut to his face, but was ultimately okay to continue. It was a clear red card offense, but official Jonathan Moss did not show a card of any color to Taylor. It’s possible that the Premier League may review the incident after the match, however, and Taylor could be set for retroactive punishment.
Midway through the half, Spurs started to tighten the screws, but Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski had a pretty good half. In the 20th minute, a Walker cross found Harry Kane’s head, but Fabianski was able to tip it over the bar. Five minutes later, Walker tried another effort from an acute angle and Fabianski was there again.
The breakthrough came six minutes from time: Dele went down in the box, and after deliberation Jonathon Moss pointed to the spot. Harry Kane fired home from the spot to put Spurs up 1-0.
Three minutes later, Spurs nearly doubled their lead: Eriksen put another great through ball for Dele, but Fabianski was able to get enough on the ball to scramble it away.
Spurs finally broke through again just before halftime in emphatic fashion. Son Heung-Min got on the end of a broken play with a gorgeous half volley that beat the keeper at the near post. It was an amazing reaction goal, well taken and lovely to watch.
Tottenham took a deserved 2-0 lead into halftime.
Bob Bradley made a change at the intermission, bringing in former Tottenham target Fernando Llorente in for Jay Fulton and pushing Sigurdsson in behind him.
It didn’t take long for Spurs to put the match away. Five minutes into the first half, Dele Alli sprung Son Heung-Min with a pass from midfield. Son took a cutback, and Harry Kane was right there to fire the ball past Fabianski to put Spurs up three.
After that, Spurs took their foot off the gas but it didn’t seem to stop their dominance. They kept the pressure on Swansea, but didn’t attack with the same kind of intensity with which they opened the match. Nevertheless, Swansea continued to look completely toothless; Spurs’ defense barely let Llorente or Sigurdsson get a sniff of the ball.
In the 66th minute, Harry Kane got on the end of another through ball and poked the ball home. The fans thought he had completed his hat trick, but he was correctly ruled offside. Kane had another chance two minutes later, but his near post shot was just tipped past the post by Fabianski.
Instead it was Eriksen who got Spurs’ fourth goal: Dele Alli had a shot that was tipped up by Fabianski, but Eriksen was there to bundle the ball into the back of the net. Not your typical Eriksen goal, but it counts!
To put insult to injury, Tottenham subbed off Son for oft-maligned Moussa Sissoko for the last 20 minutes of the match, and Spurs kept getting chances. Jan Vertonghen got a rare shot attempt in the box from the run of play, and Kyle Walker had an attempt blocked away.
Harry Winks came on for Mousa Dembele, who had one of his best matches in recent weeks, and Josh Onomah made a late sub for Harry Kane as Spurs saw out the rest of the half. Spurs finally added a fifth right before full time as Sissoko, who got on the end of a deep pass, ably fed Eriksen for his brace.
The match ended 5-0. It was by far Spurs’ best overall performance since their 2-0 win over Manchester City back in October, and a welcome three points.
- Wow, are Swansea super not good.
- Ironically, despite conceding four goals, Lukasz Fabianski was probably Swansea’s best player: that’s how dominant Spurs were. Sigurdsson, Leroy Fer, and Llorente were non-factors, and that’s due to Spurs’ press and defense.
- LOL, that was a really soft penalty in the first half. Dele was looking for contact and sold the crap out of it. But that’s what good players do, and it was the catalyst for Spurs’ period of dominance at the end of the first half.
- Related: Jonathon Moss is a bad official. He was uniformly bad, but between the penalty and the non-call on the Neil Taylor boot to the face, at least it was evenly bad.
- There are two ways of looking at Kane’s second goal: 1) Sonny had great vision to take the cut-back and set up Kane for the thunderous goal, how charitable and unselfish! 2) LOL, Harry Kane totally stole Son Heung-Min’s goal away from him.
- Eriksen: brilliant. Dele: brilliant. Sonny: brilliant. Kane: brilliant. There wasn’t a single player on Spurs’ side that didn’t play well and it was a heck of a lot of fun to watch.
- Despite being 3-0 up, Kane really wanted his hat trick and nearly got it.
- Did I mention that Swansea are really, really bad?
- This was a win Spurs desperately needed. It keeps them in fifth place but are only three points behind Manchester City and right in the mix for top four contention, which is where they should be. Bring on United!