Swansea — Tottenham (Premier League)
The three points in dispute at Liberty Stadium on Sunday mean a lot to the two contenders. Swansea really need it to distance themselves from the bottom of the table. Tottenham have an eye on the top four now that Liverpool have slipped against Villa. Who will had a notch to their belt?
Swansea only won one of their last six fixtures in all competitions but that stretch included facing United (twice), City, Chelsea and Everton. And bear in mind the victory came against the Premier League defending Champions at Old Trafford. Laudrup’s side play beautiful, flowing, intelligent football. But also has a limited budget which translates to no depth. Michu, Pablo Hernández, José Cañas and Gary Monk will all miss out. Roland Lamah, Michel Vorm, Dwight Tiendalli, De Guzmán and Nathan Dyer are all doubts for the Dane with assorted injuries. An awful lot of casualties in such a short roster. The accumulation of games that playing in the Europa League brings has seriously their League standings. All things consider is not bad they were 13th-place with 21 points, at the beginning of week 22. They’ll have to watch it, though. It’s the second half of the competition and moral victories can get you too close to the relegation struggle.
Wilfred Bony, Swansea’s top scorer, was a late bloomer but he’s been instrumental in giving the Welsh a boost at the front end. Twice he netted in their visit to the Citizens and more significantly even it was his the winner than sent the other Manchester club off the FA Cup.
Probable line-up: Tremmel — Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies — Britton, Shelvey— Lamah, Pozuelo, Routledge — Bony.
Since Tim Sherwood replaced André Villas-Boas the Spurs have a 4-1-2 track record. And since the two losses happened in cup fixtures they are yet unbeaten for the Premier League in these stretch. The new manager will insist in a 4-4-2 formation, with Adebayor and Soldado pairing up front, and he will likely give possession to the Swans and put all his chips on the counter-attack.
Tottenham Hotspur are 6th with 40 points, rapidly closing the gap to the top four. Yesterday Liverpool was held to a 2-2 draw by Aston Villa so in case they win they’ll be level on points with the Reds. An opportunity they simply can’t miss.
Jan Vertonghen, Paulinho, Younes Kaboul are ruled out due to injury. Kyle Walker picked up a knock against Chystal Palace but he’s expected to return now. Sandro is training again but it’s probably still too early for him. Erik Lamela is doubtful.
Probable line-up: Lloris — Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Rose — Lennon, Bentaleb, Dembélé, Eriksen — Adebayor, Soldado.
The reverse tie early in the season resulted in a 1-0 success for the Spurs, Soldado hitting a penalty shot. A lot has changed since then. Laudrup lead the Swans through the Europa League group stage. AVB was sacked and inside man Sherwood took over at White Hart Lane. Renewed Tottenham is not a defensive side so the game will surely be more open this time. The numbers favour the North Londoners — they have won 4 and draw 1 of the clashes they had with the Welsh since their return to the Premier League. But they’ll have to confirm that on the pitch.