With both clubs playing strong sides in the Europa League during the week, neither side will be at a disadvantage when it comes to fatigue. Tottenham have been in the headlines all week due to their transfer dealings, as moves for Willian and Erik Lamela were made but the former now looks more likely to join Chelsea. Meanwhile the Gareth Bale saga looks to be finally ending, which is great news for Spurs as they can finally move on.
Swansea face a tough start to the season as they play four of what Jose Mourinho refers to as the ‘top six’ in their opening six league games. When you add in all of the Europa League fixtures, the Swans will need to rotate their squad if they are to avoid a poor start of the season. They have also faced transfer speculation this week as rumours suggest Arsenal may be considering a £35m swoop for Michu and Ashley Williams.
After contrasting starts to the season, both managers will be confident about their chances this Sunday. Last season saw Andre Villas-Boas’ men win both matches against Swansea by a single goal, with this fixture resulting in a 1-0 win for the North London club as Jan Vertonghen scored the only goal. The Belgian also netted in the match at the Liberty Stadium which ended in a 2-1 win for Spurs.
In their opening match against Crystal Palace, Spurs were far from their best as they ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a penalty from debutant Roberto Soldado. It was far from a comfortable victory as Palace had a few really good chances, Dikgacoi in particular should have equalised late on. This Spurs side is still trying to find its feet without last season’s player of the year Bale.
Their opponents on Sunday didn’t manage to pick up any points on the opening day as the Welsh club faced the Champions. Swansea lost 4-1 against Manchester United, but the scoreline didn’t reflect the overall match. David Moyes’ team were just more clinical than their opponents and two quick goals near the end of the first half killed the contest. Swansea also had a striker score a Premier League debut goal in Wilfried Bony.
Etienne Capoue made the joint most interceptions during the weekend games with six, despite playing only 33 minutes. This could be important this weekend as Swansea play a slick passing game which relies on having more possession than the other side.
Swansea are in the worst form of any Premier League club as they have only picked up 4 points from their last six league games. Their poor form at the back end of last season could be blamed on the Carling Cup triumph as it left them with little to play for in the league.
As Tottenham are facing a team which likes to dominate possession, they will need their midfielders to unsettle their Swansea opponents to prevent them from playing their natural style. Their new signing Paulinho will be crucial if the home side are to get three points this weekend. The Brazilian is a box to box midfielder who will need to get in and amongst the Swansea midfield to retrieve possession and his ability to run with the ball to push his side forward will be important. Against Crystal Palace, his pass completion rate was 90.57% which is impressive; he will need to keep it around that level on Sunday as you can’t gift this Swansea side possession. He also had a good game in the Europa League as he scored his first goal for Tottenham, and he will be keen to add to that tally this weekend.
With Swansea playing an expressive game, they will need to take their chances when they come along as they are always likely to concede chances themselves. Their leading scorer from last season Michu will be critical in this match as he always seems to score against the big clubs. In fact he scored in the corresponding fixture last season in Wales so he has a track record against Villas-Boas’ men. The Spaniard will want to open his league account early to avoid any comments about ‘second season syndrome’ from pundits and fans alike. With the addition of Bony, Michu may drop deeper into midfield, but his desire to score goals is unlikely to disappear. Against Manchester United, he managed a shooting accuracy of 75% but he failed to score. If he keeps it at that level throughout the season, he should be just as successful as last season.
For Spurs, Aaron Lennon is a doubt after picking up a knock against Palace which saw him miss the impressive Europa League victory over Dinamo Tbilisi in midweek. Lewis Holtby remains unavailable for selection with a thigh injury. While it’s unlikely that they will have any signings before the match despite Willian having a medical in the week.
Swansea could still be without Jonathan de Guzman (concussion) and Nathan Dyer (hamstring) who both missed the 5-1 win in the Europa League against Petrolul Ploiesti. It looks more likely that de Guzman will recover in time to face Spurs. It is unknown whether Laudrup will give Bony his first Premier League start after an impressive run out against Manchester United.
The Pinnacle Sports odds reflect that Spurs are expected to win with odds of 1.64. A draw could be more tempting at a generous price of 3.960. While if you are backing a surprise Swansea win, you can get odds of 6.30. As recent games between the two have been low scoring affairs a bet on under 2.5 goals could be tempting which you can get currently at odds of 2.09.
I think it will be a tight match and end in a 1-1 draw.
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