Tottenham will return to Premier League action after having the weekend off with a tricky trip to resurgent Swansea City. Mauricio Pochettino’s men will have two matches in three days as their game against West Ham has been rearranged for Thursday, which means there is likely to be a great deal of rotation from the manager. The improved form of Chelsea and Liverpool mean that Spurs need to go on a run of wins to ensure they do finish in the top four. Meanwhile, the home side will have momentum after winning their first match under Carlos Carvalhal and will go into this fixture with the freedom to express themselves as nobody will be expecting them to get a result.
Swansea City moved off the bottom of the table at the weekend as they came from behind to beat a floundering Watford team. They remain in the bottom three, but it will give them the confidence that they can win matches and it was the perfect start for new manager Carvalhal. It remains a long road ahead for the club and the upcoming fixtures don’t make for great reading. They have to play Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal in their next four matches, which means they have to go into them looking for a result. Otherwise, they risk being cut adrift at the bottom of the division.
The battle for the top four looks to be a fascinating one this season and Tottenham will be at the centre of that. They are currently four points outside of the Champions League places, but they have a game in hand and a run of winnable fixtures ahead of them, before three massive games against fellow top-six clubs. Pochettino will realise the importance of retaining their Champions League position, as the club are growing and need to be playing in Europe’s premier competition to keep all of the current squad in North London. It is matches such as this one that he can’t afford any more slip-ups in.
Wilfried Bony is likely to miss out for the home side, but Oliver McBurnie could be given another Premier League start after impressing as a substitute against Watford. Renato Sanches started Carvalhal’s first match in charge and is likely to be given another opportunity against Tottenham. Ki Sung-Yeung remains on the sidelines.
Harry Kane is a doubt with an illness, but there is optimism that he will be ready to start. Mousa Dembele is likely to miss out after picking up a knock against Southampton. Harry Winks could return to the midfield as a result. Victor Wanyama is closing in on a return, while Toby Alderweireld remains on the treatment table.
Swansea scored two goals in a Premier League game for only the third time this season.
Harry Kane is one goal away from becoming Tottenham’s leading scorer in the Premier League. Teddy Sheringham currently holds that accolade with 96.
The former Aston Villa forward has failed to impress on numerous occasions this season, but he stepped up to deliver an excellent performance during Swansea’s away win at Watford. He scored the equaliser and hit the woodwork earlier in the match to show the threat he poses in the final third. During the match, he attempted three shots and showed good movement in the attacking half to cause problems for the home side. In addition to his goal, he made one key pass and showed his aerial ability as he won three duels in the air. Tottenham are less formidable at the back without Toby Alderweireld and Ayew will be looking to exploit that on Tuesday. Ahead of the January transfer window, his position in the starting eleven isn’t secure, but another strong performance against Tottenham will go a long way in impressing his new manager.
The South Korean forward has been an underrated player for Tottenham in recent seasons and he is beginning to be given an opportunity to nail down a regular starting place. At times, the team can be too reliant on Harry Kane to deliver the goals and as he is a doubt for this match, it could be that Son is asked to lead the line. Although he isn’t as good as the Englishman in front of goal, he showed that he is capable of filling in for the Premier League top scorer and he is currently in great form. In the month of December, he has contributed five goals and three assists in all competitions, which is a great return for any player. His movement in the final third is intelligent and he is a reliable finisher when a chance presents itself. Pochettino will know that he needs greater squad depth and a few more players with the quality that the 25-year-old possesses will lead to that.
This match is a lot more challenging for Tottenham than it was a week ago. Swansea City have a new manager and are coming into the match on the back of a great result that would have hugely boosted morale. That said, they remain in a bad position in the league table and the visotors should have enough to get the job done. If Harry Kane is fit, it is difficult to see Tottenham not taking the three points as the striker is in the form of his life. Given the closeness of the teams behind Manchester City, it is crucial that Spurs avoid any more slip-ups. I wouldn’t expect one in this match.