Tottenham Hotspur welcomed Swansea City to White Hart Lane looking to keep pace with Leicester City after the Foxes pulled out a 1-0 win yesterday. In what was arguably the most tense match of the season to date, Spurs managed to survive a stiff test from the Swans, getting two second half goals to steal a 2-1 victory.
The first threat in the match came from Swansea in the third minute. Alberto Paloschi beat out Kevin Wimmer to a long ball and took it to the touch line. The ensuing ground cross found a streaking Gylfi Sigurðsson running up the middle who took a shot up high, but Hugo Lloris was up to the challenge and parried the ball over the crossbar.
Spurs first opportunity came just three minutes later. Harry Kane dug a ball out at the top of the box and laid a pass off to Danny Rose. The fullback found Eric Dier with a half-yard of space with the midfielder attempting to one-time it into the net. It was a good chance, but the shot went just over the crossbar.
Spurs settled down and created a fantastic chance in the 12th minute. After good build up play, Kyle Walker received a gorgeous through pass and fired a low cross into Kane for a point-blank chance only for Fabianski to be up to the challenge and deflect the ball out for a corner kick.
The deadlock was broken in the 19th minute by Swansea on an unlucky deflection. Angel Rangel attempted a long shot that bounced off of Jack Cork's leg. Somehow, the ball fell right at the feet of Paloschi. Lloris came out to challenge, but Paloschi buried his chance in the top corner to make it 1-0 Swansea.
Spurs had a penalty shout in the 31st minute as Dele Alli pushed into the box. It appeared that he was taken down and no initial call had been made. The ball rolled to Erik Lamela and gave Coco a chance to put the shot on target. Fabianski saved it and Spurs looked to the referee for a penalty, but none was given.
A fantastic opportunity to equalize right before the half came off a Danny Rose cross. The initial attempt was on target by Lamela, with Fabianski coming up big yet again. The rebound attempt found Kane, who put his shot just wide of the post. The half ended not long after with Swansea enjoying a 1-0 lead, even with Tottenham having the bulk of the possession and outshooting the Swans 11-5 and 5-2 on target.
The second half started out with Spurs pushing almost immediately. Six minute sin, Son drew a foul outside the box to set up Christian Eriksen for a free kick. For the second time in the match, Eriksen's attempt was on target and heading for the corner, but again Fabianski got his hands to the ball. A minute after the free kick, Kane had a long distance attempt that was parried away.
After 70 minutes of knocking on the door, Spurs unlocked the Swansea defense. After a Fabianski punch to clear a cross into the box, Kyle Walker took an attempt that could have been either a pass or a shot. Either way, the ball found the foot of the just subbed on Nacer Chadli, who poked it into the net past the Swansea keeper. Spurs had their equalizer with twenty minutes to play.
The goal changed the complexion of the match as Swansea loosened up. It would prove costly as Spurs found their go-ahead goal in the 77th minute. Spurs threatened with a couple of attempts into the box, with the final cross headed out but not out of danger. Danny Rose gathered the ball, took one dribble into the box, and fired the ball into the far corner to give Tottenham the lead.
Spurs thought they had an insurance goal in the 80th minute on a counter attack. Kane, Eriksen, and Walker broke free after a failed corner by Swansea. Kane looked to have played the perfect ball to Walker as the fullback poked it into the net, but Walker was just offside on the play, keeping the score at 2-1.
The final fifteen minutes weren't exactly fun, but Tottenham denied Swansea any opportunity possible. The only real chance for Swansea to equalize came in the 89th minute on a Sigurðsson free kick attempt that turned into a harmless deflection followed by a corner that amounted to nothing. Spurs held most of the possession to close out the match and take all three points.
With the victory, Tottenham remain just two points off the top at 54 points and maintain the best defense and goal differential in the league at +28.
Thoughts on the match
- I'm sure we're all recovering from this tense two hours, but we can all exhale! Three points are three points.
- I don't know what Pochettino said in the second half, but Spurs came out firing. They had 24 shots total in the second half, with nine of them on target.
- Pochettino continues to push the right buttons on substitutes. Chadli came on with plenty of time to adapt to the match and rewarded the decision with that crucial equalizer.
- Danny Rose had an interesting match. There were a few times he got caught out of position on defense in the first half, but he was bright in attack and delivered the biggest moment of the match.
- While Harry Kane didn't score, I thought he had a solid match. His passing is fantastic and he should have had an assist to make it 3-1 with Walker.
- Fabianski did all he could to keep Swansea from dropping points, but when your opponent hits thirty-four shots with fourteen of them on target, it's hard to blame him for surrendering goals.
- I don't think I have to say anything about Toby Alderweireld other than he's one of the best defenders in the league. He keeps things organized in the back and has paired up well with Wimmer, who also looked very good today.
- Thanks to United beating Arsenal, Tottenham have a little breathing room above Arsenal.
- There's little time to rest as Spurs have a midweek match against West Ham United before a crucial match against Arsenal on Saturday. Come on you Spurs!