Spurs make their first ever trip to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday as they attempt to hold or even extend their lead over Champions League chasing rivals Chelsea and Arsenal. While the other big London sides entertain Aston Villa and QPR respectively, Spurs travel to meet the enigmatic Welsh side in their first Premier League season.
Swansea played a swashbuckling brand of football as they made their way up the leagues in recent seasons with two promotions in four years. They have stayed true to their principles in the top flight and regularly have more possession and more passing than their opposition; they are likely to reach 10,000 open-play passes during this match. Unfortunately, while they have been one of the more attractive sides in the division, Swansea have failed to regularly threaten the goal. They have completed the same number of dribbles as Spurs but, with only 17 goals, Swansea have scored exactly half the number that Spurs have in one fewer game. They average only three shots on target per game and are one of the few sides with a worse chance conversion rate than Spurs (12% to 14%). They have also had players assist their goals only 58% of the time. For Spurs, that figure is 73% and indicates a tendency towards deliberate, structured goals. In essence, Swansea are more likely to score when their opposition makes a mistake, while Spurs are capable of forcing the issue. Spurs have four players with more goals than Danny Graham; Swansea’s top scorer with 6.
When Swansea have won, they have been playing against poor teams. They beat Bolton, Stoke, Fulham and West Brom; all at home and have won only once in eight games. In contrast, Spurs probed Norwich on Tuesday night and then tore them to pieces. They created 18 goal scoring chances and, on another day, Adebayor could have filled his boots. Swansea created only seven chances in their most recent match, also at home, to QPR.
Spurs loanee Steven Caulker is unavailable, but this won’t upset Swansea too much, they’ve played without him for much of the season after he picked up a knee injury. The Swansea centre back pairing of Monk and Williams complement each other well. Williams is a fine reader of the game; he has made 48 interceptions. Monk has completed 92% of his passes despite being in and out of the team. Journeyman right back, Angel Rangel, has a massive job on his hands to stop Gareth Bale after the Welshman ran riot in Norwich on Tuesday. A free role was suitable against an unambitious Norwich side. He will likely spend more time on his usual left flank on Saturday. Similarly, down Swansea’s left, Scott Sinclair will provide a handful for Kyle Walker. Walker was given huge space against Norwich but he will be pegged back by Swansea’s star man. Sinclair was the driving force in the promotion campaign last term and he has contributed strongly in the Premier League too. Spurs would do well to play a natural wide player on the right to keep him busy.
Both Spurs and Swansea like to play the ball on the ground; they make aerial passes 25% less often than Chelsea and Manchester United. They will both find space for their creative players and will make plenty of chances (they have over 400 between them). The difference between these sides is that Spurs have the skill but also the solidity in midfield. Parker and Sandro have formed an excellent combination. They allow Modric and van der Vaart to create and use the pace and movement of Bale, Adebayor and Walker. Swansea are likely to compete; they’ve only twice lost by more than two goals (4-0 at City and 4-1 at Chelsea), but it is unlikely that they will have the firepower to put Spurs away. The return of Jermain Defoe and the growing fitness of Niko Kranjcar continue to bolster Spurs’ ranks as the festive period progresses. Swansea do not have the depth of talent that Spurs have. All of this being said, Swansea have been strong at home, conceding very few goals (just 3) and losing just once. This should be an attractive, open game but Spurs will be confident of continuing their excellent form.
There are no preview stats from last years game as Swansea were in the Championship. We’ll show you Spurs creativity stats from their last game at Norwich and Swansea’s creativity from their draw at home to QPR. These stats are taken from the Quick Stats area here at EPLIndex.com: Subscribe Now for Access – just £3.95 per month!