For all of the drama at Tottenham this season—the Gareth Bale sale, Tim Sherwood replacing Andre Villas-Boas—the club are currently in sixth place and would draw level with Liverpool on points should they beat Swansea City.
Not a bad position for Spurs to be in, considering how inconsistent the club has been thus far.
For the Swans, the entire season has been pretty disappointing, and as they stand are just three points clear of the relegation zone having failed to win in their past seven league games. Worse, they've managed just 10 of a possible 30 points at Liberty Stadium, hardly the home form supporters expect.
That's not good news against a Tottenham side that has seven wins and one draw in 10 away matches.
So can the Swans reverse their home form against a hot-and-cold Spurs side? Or will Tottenham draw closer to European placement with a win?
When: Sunday, January 19 at 8:30 a.m. ET
Sunday, January 19 at 1:30 p.m. GMT
Where: Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales
Odds: Tottenham (40.6 percent), Swansea City (33.3 percent) and draw (26.1 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
Quite a few players have been rumoured to leave White Hart Lane in January, and with a rather inflated side, Sherwood has acknowledged he is keen to let some go. His comments, via Kevin Palmer of ESPN:
You can only go with a certain amount of players and the pressure is on because it is a World Cup year for a lot of these players. They need to play and we can’t guarantee they are going to get maximum game time.
We are certainly not going to be leaving ourselves short and if no-one left, I wouldn’t be shedding any tears over that either. We understand that there is pressure with the World Cup and they need to play.
Sometimes, supply and demand is an issue. Especially with some of the guys I am still getting to know. I have a certain amount of trust in some players more than others, but the longer I am on the training ground, the more I get attached to the new players as well.
Per Palmer's report, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue, Lewis Holtby could all be on the way out, if simply on loan. It also notes that Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen will miss the match with Swansea to injury, but Andros Townsend and Sandro could both play.
While Tottenham's depth has been tested by injuries, the Swans have absolutely been crushed in that regard. Still, Swansea is no easy task for Tottenham. The biggest issue for Swansea this season—outside of depth—has been that the team simply doesn't do much with the chances they create.
From Max Hicks of ESPN:
Swansea have a side full of playmakers, but short on finishers. Wilfried Bony is more than doing his job, striking at around a world class 0.50 goals-per-game rate, and taking on average 2.8 shots per game in league play. However, the Swans' second-level attackers are painfully gun-shy; Pablo Hernandez, Wayne Routledge, Roland Lamah, Alejandro Pozuelo and Nathan Dyer have combined for six league goals, the same amount Bony has managed on his own. That same group of players seem to hate shooting. Respectively, their shots-per-game are 0.9, 0.7, 1.6, 0.6 and 1.4, respectively.
Unsurprisingly, the two with the highest numbers—Lamah (1.6) and Dyer (1.4)—have scored five of those six goals between them. Coincidence? Hardly.
Not surprisingly, the Swans have scored an underwhelming 26 goals per game, while allowing 30. Coincidentally, Tottenham have had their own issues scoring, with just 26 league goals themselves (though they've allowed just 25).
This game will likely come down to which side gets the bigger contribution from their striker. Will it be Bony, who has played admirably in the absence of Michu? Or will it be Roberto Soldado, who has been less than a revelation in his debut season with Spurs?
Tottenham are the sturdier team in midfield and defense, and they should make the going very difficult for a Swansea side that has trouble scoring goals at times anyway. And the team has generally responded to Sherwood's presence and tactics, so they come into this match the deserving favorite, even on the road.
But Tottenham can look like different teams from week to week, and Swansea will win the possession battle. If they can avoid getting too cute and simply let it rip a bit more, they could keep Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris busy.
Expect a tight affair, and one where the momentum swings wildly. This one will end in a draw, 1-1.
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