Monday, 15 December 2014

Oh no! We lost to Spurs! It's the end of the world!

Following Tottenham's late winner the level of fans' frustrations shows how far we've come as a club

Angel Rangel challenges Mousa Dembele for the ball

When Harry Kane nodded home the opener in the third minute, the heavens opened as if they knew something we didn't. A Bony goal and a late Eriksen winner later, and it was hard to decide whether the numbing cold of the incessant rain or the deflation imbued by conceding in such disappointing fashion was of more discomfort. 

As at West Ham last week, we were made to rue individual errors which, as Monk acknowledged after the game, cost us dear. Their early goal from Kane - who I'd thought could well cause us problems - was scarily similar to Carroll's second goal last week. Rangel marking an aerial threat at a corner, no challenge made, easy header. Very disappointing, and with only three minutes on the clock it was far from the ideal start.

You could perhaps ask why Tremmel didn't have someone on the line, but it was more the lack of a challenge from Rangel which I'd say made it easy for Kane to head home. Rangel didn't even jump - he seemed to misjudge the flight of the ball and we were punished for it. 

The next ten minutes or so was all Spurs. We struggled to get the ball out of defence and Spurs' high pressing was causing all kinds of problems. Bony was by far our shining light, and once we started finding him regularly things started to click. His first effort was around the tenth minute, but Lloris was equal to it, getting down low to his right to stop a drilled effort from the Ivorian. 

More efforts followed - Bony had a number of chances and the Swans were growing more and more confident as the half went on, but when the half-time whistle went we'd been unable to find a breakthrough of our own.

That's not to say there wasn't plenty of drama. As well as the high-tempo nature of the game there were also numerous referee-based talking points. As per usual. Most of them seemed to involve Lamela - he was pulled up twice for what looked like elbows, and replays of the first incident would seem to suggest that the second shouldn't have even occurred, as he should have been shown a red. Factor in a wild lunge on Montero in the second half and it's even more remarkable he wasn't given his marching orders.

For once though, one went our way. Kane seemed to go down softly just inside the box under pressure from Montero, but replays show there was a tiny bit of contact which caused Kane to trip and go down. We always complain when things don't go our way (which, in refereeing terms, seems to be a lot of late) so it's important to acknowledge that some do go our way. Even if the scales of football justice are still weighted heavily in favour of whoever is playing the Swans.

The second half started very well for the Swans. Barely two minutes had elapsed when Rangel knocked a lovely ball over the top for Routledge, who crossed for Bony to tap home at the second attempt. His first volleyed effort was blocked but it fell kindly for him, and he steered home with Lloris wrong footed. It was no more than Swansea deserved, and it signalled our intent to attack, and to try and force our way back into the match.

As time wore on, I became convinced we'd score. We seemed to have chance after chance, and how we didn't get a second goal I don't know. We would go on to rue our profligacy. Late, late in the day Ben Davies seized on a really, really poor clearance from Jazz Richards, fed Christian Eriksen, and the Dane drilled home from the edge of the box. 2-1 to Spurs with minutes to play, and Sigurdsson's frustration was plain to see. Shouting and literally hopping mad he embodied the fans' frustrations, but while he may not draw any consolation from the thought he couldn't have done any more to try to swing the match in Swansea's favour.

We were undone by individual errors for the second week in a row, and while if that continues it would indeed be a worrying trend I don't think it's something we have to concern ourselves massively with. Today we saw Rangel leak a goal from a corner for the second week in a row, while his replacement Richards repeated the trick late on. 

I'd also question Tremmel's goalkeeping - surely it's his job to place a man on the post for corners, while I also think he reacted slowly to both goals. He also pushed out the shot which ultimately led to Richards' gifting the ball to Spurs for their second, but to blame him for that seems harsh with the rain lashing down and the ball difficult to hold. It did make me appreciate Fabinski though.

I've seen many complaints on Twitter about our "poor form" and frankly, I don't buy it. A win against Spurs would have seen us seventh and within a point of fourth - how anyone can say a loss at in-form West Ham and a loss to Spurs is an indication of poor overall form is beyond me. We bossed Spurs for the majority of the match and it really is miraculous we didn't claim all three points. Play like that and, more often than not, we'll emerge victorious. 

That said, the individual errors were poor. We need to be better than that, and Monk wants us to be better than that. A full-back will almost definitely be top of our shopping list, and that could well now be something we look to address in January as opposed to the summer. Until then we just have to work on improving what we have, and with Hull away up next we've got an excellent opportunity. Hull haven't won in nine and our away form is so poor it simply has to improve soon. Probability, and all that. 

That defeat to Spurs has provoked such a reaction from fans shows how far we've come as a club. It's yet another harsh lesson for Garry Monk's Swansea City, but what I love about Monk is that I have no doubt we'll learn from it.