Tottenham vs. Swansea: 5 Things to Take Away from Spurs' 1-0 Win over the Swans
It wasn't the prettiest of victories, but Tottenham's 1-0 victory over Swansea City at White Hart Lane Sunday was a great result for Spurs' outlook.
Spurs now sit in fourth place, an early benchmark for their ultimate goal for this long Premier League season. In fact, they sit level on points with third-placed Chelsea, though London's blue club still has a better goal differential and a match in hand on Tottenham.
Still, supporters of the Lilywhites would probably have liked a more convincing victory coming off the back of their club's tough loss to Everton.
So how did Tottenham get this big win over Swansea? And what did the match tell us about this Spurs' side going forward?
Here are five things to take away from Spurs' 1-0 victory over Swansea.
Spurs Will Be Glad to See Assou-Ekotto Return
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Throughout the first few months of this season, Tottenham has had some troubles with injuries.
I mean, by most accounts, they have yet to play a match with their first-choice 11 players.
Luckily, these problems look set to abate, as many of Spurs' injured players are on the cusp of returns.
The biggest area that looks set to get a boost is the left wing, where both Gareth Bale and Benoit Assou-Ekotto have been injured and are getting ready for returns.
While much of the talk will rightfully be on the Welshman's imminent return, Assou-Ekotto's return is as important, if not more.
The Cameroonian's absence has meant Spurs have been forced to do one of two things with their lineup: shift Jan Vertonghen from center-back or start Kyle Naughton.
Sunday's match showed just how big these changes can be.
Naughton, while young and possessing some good potential, is not a great fit at left-back. His inability to use his left foot forced the Englishman to constantly cut in, rendering moot potential points of attack on the pitch. Kyle would do better backing up his namesake at right-back.
Meanwhile, Vertonghen's shift to the left leaves a hole in the center of defense that is filled by less talented defenders. While Jan has done great on the left, his play there has led the center of defense to be the weakest point of the squad. For evidence, just look at how much more solid the defense was today than they were over the past few matches.
Spurs supporters should feel very thankful when BAE returns from injury.
Spurs Should Stop Experimenting with a Striking Partnership
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Since Emmanuel Adebayor first joined Tottenham in the summer of 2011, everyone has waited for the development of a formidable striking partnership with Jermain Defoe.
However, while the two strikers have each done some great things at White Hart Lane, they have failed to form a great on-field pair.
That was all too clear today, when Spurs struggled mightily to find a breakthrough before finally finding fluency when Adebayor came off.
Each of these strikers are talented and deserve time on the field.
Maybe that time shouldn't be at the same time, though.
Townsend Is Ready for More Playing Time
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When Andros Townsend came in for Adebayor in the 72nd minute on Sunday, I'm not sure many expected the 21-year-old to have the impact that he did.
In just his fourth Premier League appearance for Spurs, Andros had a few very nice runs, had a shot on target and won three fouls, one of which led to the lone goal.
This young talent, who has been loaned out eight times while at White Hart Lane, should start getting a few more minutes off the bench with the first team.
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It's awesome to see Tottenham scoring on set pieces.
Yes, Spurs were facing an opponent that is highly susceptible to such a method of attack. After all, it was just a week ago that Swansea was falling 4-3 to Norwich due to four set piece goals conceded.
However, it is great to see in any setting.
The ability to score off of a dead ball allows a team avenues into a match in which they are lacking a cutting edge, playing terribly and/or getting outclassed. For clear examples of this, one needs to look no further than Spurs' win on Sunday or even their match at Manchester City earlier in the season, where a set piece goal almost got them a result.
Combine this ability with the threats of Bale, Defoe and company and you get quite a dangerous side.
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By now, you have probably heard all about Tottenham's late-match troubles.
Yes, Spurs would be league leaders if matches were to end after 80 minutes.
Yes, Spurs have conceded 10 goals over the final 10 minutes of their 16 Premier League matches.
No, Spurs did not concede a goal in the final 10 minutes of today's match.
Of course, this was just one match. Tottenham's troubles are no less than they were before the match.
However, it is very nice to see the Spurs hold on through a match, especially given that injuries forced the final 10 minutes to be about 18 minutes long.
On the other hand, the Spurs still looked shaky over that period, as a few moments of danger threatened their victory, including Hugo Lloris' challenge on Michu.
Then again, a clean sheet is a clean sheet.
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As mid-season approaches, Spurs' spot in the top four of the Premier League is great. With how clustered the top half of the league is at the moment, every win is vital.
Still, the story of this match should be how Spurs can improve.
The return of key players due to injury will certainly help, but other tweaks should make this side fire on an even higher level.
What do you think? Anything I missed? Have any thoughts to add?
Let me know in the comments below.
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