The second week of the Barclays Premier League got started this weekend, and Tottenham Hotspur got back to work. This time back in the comforts of their home ground; White Heart Lane, as they managed to secure a 1-0 win over Wales’ finest, Swansea City AFC.
Andre Villas-Boas made a couple of changes to his Spurs side that beat Crystal Palace on the opening game of the season. Bringing in new signing Etienne Capoue to play in the middle of the park on his first Premier League start. Along with youngster Andros Townsend out on the wing, who shown bundles of talent in midweek against Dinamo Tbilisi in the Europa League. These tactics would see Tottenham control most of the ball in midfield, and have great attacking prowess, despite struggling to find the back of the net.
The first half seemed quite similar to last weekends fixture, lots of ball possession, with promising moves which ended in nothing. However, a number of chances fell to Brazilian midfielder, Paulhino, who’s biggest opportunity saw a cross rebound off the post, as he followed with a shot that was cleared off the line by Swans defender, Ashley Williams. Already a talent in the middle, if Paulinho can perfect his offensive touch, he can be one of the best.
The only real threat to the Lillywhites in the first half fell to Wayne Routledge, who’s shot was comfortably saved by Hugo Lloris, despite Michu’s follow up effort being offside.
An opportunity for Moussa Dembele came with over half an hour gone, as his curling side footed shot was solidly saved by Swansea goalie Michel Vorm. But Dembele didn’t seem to have his usual hold on the game, as he struggled to get on the ball and get forward. This may have well been due to being over shadowed by fellow midfielders Capoue and Paulinho.
Controversy struck North London, as just before half time, Tottenham’s consistent pressure saw Andros Townsend get brought down on the right hand side of the box, a whistle was blown, a foul was given, but somehow referee Neil Swarbrick gave a free-kick on the edge of the penalty box, even though replays reinforced the fact it should have been a penalty.
Despite the disappointment of not being given the penalty, 15 minutes into the second half saw faith restored as Townsend’s trickery caused Shelvey to bring him down inside the box, and this time the penalty was given, despite Townsend going down easy.
Record signing Roberto Soldado stepped up to calmly finish his second straight penalty and his second straight game with a goal. It sure looks handy to have a striker who knows exactly how to put the ball in the back of the net, and Soldado is a perfect example of that.
After the goal, Swansea seemed to grow into the game more, but more so it seemed that Villas-Boas made his team too defensive after going a goal up. With so long still to play, this type of tactic could have cost Spurs, and has become an all too recognizable trait in the Tottenham coach’s style of management. However, despite it being unnecessarily desperate defending at times, Tottenham’s back four we’re solid throughout, and the odd save from Hugo Lloris ensured another clean sheet was kept and that the boys from White Heart Lane won their second straight.
Gareth Bale wasn’t in the team again, as reports suggested he was in Spain, and his transfer to Real Madrid was nearing. However, the latest reports are that a deal has still not been completed.
Despite Soldado sealing the win for Spurs, the home team never gave him much service up front, despite controlling the majority of the play in the middle of the field. In order for the Spanish International to be successful in this league, he needs all the service he can get from the rest of his Tottenham teammates.
Defensive midfielder Etienne Capoue started and impressed again. Looking strong in the middle with Paulinho alongside him. With him in the team, Tottenham should really control most of the ball against most teams in the Premier League.
Goals need to be more of a regularity in Tottenham’s game if they’re looking to secure Champions League football. If they can stop going into a shell whenever they get the lead, and start to pressure teams to kill the game off with another goal, the North London club will be fine. But relying on 1 goal leads are not going to cut it against the more prominent teams in the League.