The first match in a post-Bale Premier League.
For Spurs it’s another 90-minute distraction from jetting around Europe spending the large piles of money they’ve swapped for Gareth Bale. Swansea, meanwhile, will arrive at White Hart Lane hoping to take advantage of a team still getting to know each other. It won’t be easy though.
Tottenham have a formidable record at home, only losing three times last season. Two of those defeats – against Fulham and Wigan – were by a single goal, where they dominated the match without taking their chances. Andre Villas-Boas will be hoping summer arrivals with an eye for goal Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli and Paulinho can help his side turn territorial dominance into a winning margin.
With defender Jan Vertonghen claiming Spurs need more goals following their 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, it’s clearly something the team are looking to remedy.
Michael Laudrup’s side, meanwhile, travel to London having shipped four goals to Manchester United on the opening day, despite playing well and having 17 attempts at goal. The Dane will be hoping his side are more clinical, and with that in mind, may look to start £12m summer signing Wilfried Bony, who scored a late consolation against the champions.
However, the key to the contest might be how Swansea cope following their Europa League tie against Romanians Petrolul Ploiesti. Thursday night games - even five-goal romps - have a way of taking it out of sides not used to European football. That's not something that should be a problem for perennial Europa League campaigners Spurs and their large, expensively assembled squad.
Vertonghen and midfielders Aaron Lennon and Sandro didn’t travel for Tottenham’s Europa League tie against Dymano Tiblisi, but are expected to return for this game. Lewis Holtby, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Emmanuel Adebayor are still out.
Swansea will be missing Nathan Dyer, who picked up a hamstring injury against Manchester United, while Dutchman Jonathan de Guzman is still recovering from a head injury.
Player to Watch: Roberto Soldado (Tottenham)
The 28-year old Spain international has been bought to put the ball in the back of the net.
And looking at his general positioning in the box, there’s no reason to suggest he won’t continue his scoring rate at Valencia of more than a goal every other game. During Los Che’s thumping win over Rayo Vallecano last season, Soldado bagged a brace from four shots.
This is in stark contrast to Jermain Defoe, whose habit of picking up the ball on the left of goal and shooting across the keeper – as his did against Swansea last year – is a ploy every Premier League defender and goalkeeper are aware of, making him easier to defend against.
In both meetings between the two sides last season it was AVB who came out on top. The home fixture saw the Portuguese manager withdraw Adebayor for Andros Townsend, who would later play a part in Spurs’ winner. The goal, scored by Vertonghen, saw both benches square off as Tottenham failed to put the ball out of play following a clash between Michu and Hugo Lloris in the build-up.
The game at the Liberty Stadium, however, owed less to the Tottenham manager’s tactical nous and more to Gareth Bale’s acrobatic genius, with the Welshman scoring with a 20 yard snap-shot and setting up another. With no Bale, the result may hinge on AVB’s tinkering.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
- Swansea 1-2 Tottenham (PL, Mar 13)
- Tottenham 1-0 Swansea (PL, Dec 12)
- Tottenham 3-1 Swansea (PL, Apr 12)
- Swansea 1-1 Tottenham (PL, Dec 11)
- Tottenham 5-1 Swansea (LC, Oct 91)
Facts and figures
- Tottenham have won nine and lost just one of their last 13 Premier League home games.
- Swansea have won just one of their last nine Premier League away games (L5 D3), failing to score in five of these matches
- Spurs are unbeaten in nine Premier League games (W6 D3) and have lost just three of their last 27 matches in the competition (W17 D7 L3).
- The Swans have won just one point from their four previous Premier League meetings with Tottenham (D1 L3).
- Swansea City have won just two of their 12 Premier League games since winning the Capital One Cup in February 2013 (D3 L7).
- Roberto Soldado opened his goal scoring account for Spurs at Crystal Palace and has now scored 11 goals in his last nine in league competition.
- Wilfried Bony scored with his first shot on target in the Premier League last weekend against Man Utd. He was the top scorer in the Dutch Eredivisie in 2012/13, with 31 goals.
- Jan Vertonghen scored in both of the Premier League games between Spurs and Swansea last season.
- Swansea have lost three Premier League games in a row. They haven't lost four in a row in the competition since April 2012.
- The Swans have lost, and failed to score, in three of their last four Premier League games away in London.
Despite Bale's impending departure we're going 2-1 to Villas-Boas' side.