Swansea City vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Tactical Preview

Since entering the Premier League in 2011, Swansea City have been no pushover. They’ve established themselves as a decent side that on any given day, against any given team, can produce a result. However, they’ve had trouble doing so against Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs have beaten Swansea seven times in a row in Premier League play.

Swansea will look to play possession-based football – the Swans have the sixth highest possession rate and fifth highest passing accuracy rate in the Premier League. The only teams better at possessing the ball are Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Spurs. 

In goal for Swansea is Lukasz Fabianski, who moved to the Club following a spell at Arsenal as back up to Wojciech Szczęsny. But while Szczęsny has been sent to Rome on loan following the acquisition of Petr Cech, Fabianski has established himself as a solid Premier League starting goalkeeper.

Perhaps to the benefit of the Swans, the same back line has played every minute of the season. At center back are Federico Fernández and Ashley Williams, while at right back is a familiar face, Kyle Naughton. At left back is Welshman, Neil Taylor. This defense has conceded eight goals this campaign, fairly average for the Premier League, and concedes an average of 12.4 shots per game. Both Naughton and Taylor will look to get forward and spend the majority of their time in the attacking half.

Another important defensive presence for the Swans is defensive midfielder, Jack Cork. Cork leads the Club in interceptions and tackles, and will often drop deeper to assist the back line. His counterpart in the first band of the midfield, Jonjo Shelvey, will not play so defensive. Shelvey is a significant offensive contributor, leading Swansea in shots per game (2.9) and chances created per game (2.5).

At the core of the attacking midfield is former Spurs-man, Gylfi Sigurdsson. Sigurdsson produced 10 assists in his first year at the Liberty Stadium and has scored once and assisted once this season. To the right of Sigurdsson is Ghanaian international, Andre Ayew. The former Marseilles man has been a key component of the Swans’ attack, having scored three times and assisted once. Jefferson Montero lines up on the left wing and provides a significant number of crosses (6.2 per game) – in contrast, Ayew provides only 0.4 crosses per game. Up top is leading scorer, Bafétimbi Gomis, who has produced four goals this season. Only Riyad Mahrez, Callum Wilson, and Jamie Vardy have scored more.

Coming off a decent Europa League draw in Monaco, Spurs will be looking for a fourth straight Premier League victory. Though the injury situation has not improved: Son, Bentaleb, Mason, Dembélé and Pritchard remain unavailable. It seems likely that Poch will opt for the lineup employed against City, but with Chadli replacing the injured Son. 

While Spurs are in decent form at the moment, the Spurs Projected Goal Difference is projecting a -1.01 goal difference in favor of Swansea. The combination of a Europa League match on Thursday and the fact that the match is away indicates this one should be a challenge for Tottenham, even if Swansea is not a top four Premier League side.